LINGUIST List 15.3490

Tue Dec 14 2004

Diss: Cognitive Science: Prasad: 'Constraints...'

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        1.    Rashmi Prasad, Constraints on the Generation of Referring Expressions: with Special Reference to Hindi



Message 1: Constraints on the Generation of Referring Expressions: with Special Reference to Hindi

Date: 13-Dec-2004
From: Rashmi Prasad <rjprasadlinc.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: Constraints on the Generation of Referring Expressions: with Special Reference to Hindi


Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Penn Language Center
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Rashmi Prasad

Dissertation Title: Constraints on the Generation of Referring Expressions: with Special Reference to Hindi

Dissertation URL: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~rjprasad

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Computational Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis
                            General Linguistics
                            Pragmatics
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)
                            Hindi (HND)

Dissertation Director:
Aravind K. Joshi
Ellen F. Prince
Robin Clark

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation makes a progress towards the generation of referring
expressions in Hindi. We first make a proposal to exploit a combination of
Gricean implicatures (Grice 75) and Centering theory constraints (Grosz et
al. 95) to formulate a generation algorithm for referring expressions whose
domain of application is defined in terms of the Centering Transitions. The
formulated algorithm is an abstraction over the cross-linguistic
variability observed across languages. To set the language-specific
parameters of the algorithm, in particular the parameter that decides the
relative salience of the discourse entities in an utterance, we propose a
corpus-based methodology to identify the ways in which discourse salience
is realized linguistically in any language. We apply this method to a Hindi
corpus to investigate three possible linguistic reflexes of discourse
salience: 'grammatical role', 'word order', and 'information status',
and show that Hindi does not display exhibit any correlation between
discourse salience and either word order or information status, and that
grammatical function emerges as the primary determinant of salience. Using
the results of the proposed methodology for Hindi, we provide an analysis
of Hindi zero pronouns. We argue that the constraints on the use of zeros
in Hindi are neither syntactic (Kameyama85) nor explicable purely in terms
of the singular notion of the topic (Butt97). Our analysis, provided in
terms of Centering transition preferences, shows that pronouns can be
dropped in Hindi only when they occur in an utterance following a CONTINUE
or a SMOOTH-SHIFT transition, thus demonstrating the importance of the
Preferred Center for zero pronoun realization. Finally, with respect to the
problem of defining the utterance unit for discourse, we provide an
analysis of complex sentences containing relative clauses. We argue that
different kinds of relative clauses have different utterance statuses as
well as different effects on the hierarchical organization of discourse
segments. Non-restrictive relative clauses form a distinct but embedded
utterance unit, while restrictives are part of the main clause unit. Our
data also provide support for partitioning the class of restrictive
relatives into indefinite head and definite head restrictives (Prince 90),
with indefinite head restrictives patterning like non-restrictives.



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