LINGUIST List 7.905

Mon Jun 17 1996

Qs: Certification Exams, "Addressee", Dialogue Systems

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  1., Certification exams
  2. Yuji Nakazato, "Addressee"
  3. Nicholas Ostler, Working Dialogue Systems, Anyone?

Message 1: Certification exams

Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 12:14:27 EDT
From: <>
Subject: Certification exams
About a year ago, someone at the Soros Foundation told me that my
Czech state certification in general Czech proficiency was "about a
5", on some scale used in the United States. I never got any further
clarification, but yesterday I met another person who was familiar
with some scale of this type for Russian, but was also very vague
about what the scale is, who administers such exams, etc.

Does anyone know any specifics about this?

Also, in language self-teaching books I've seen references to
something called "EC threshold level". What is that all about?

James Kirchner
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Message 2: "Addressee"

Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 22:19:35 EDT
From: Yuji Nakazato <>
Subject: "Addressee"

Inquiry: Is a reader of a book really an "addressee," or is it not?

Concerning the notion of the "addressee", Lyons in his _Semantics_
remarks that the addressee (the receiver of a signal) is expected by
the speaker (the sender of a signal) to "pay attention to, or respond
to, the signal" (Lyons 1977:34).

Although responding to a signal without paying attention to it is not
completely impossible (e.g. a kid saying "no" to anything he/she is
asked), it is very rare under normal circumstances. So, I assume that
an addressee is someone who is expected to do the following by the
speaker: 1) paying attention to the signal from the speaker, or 2)
paying attention and responding to the signal from the speaker.

When the notion of an "addressee" is discussed, a typical example is
face-to-face conversation where the speaker sends a signal to the
addressee who is normally expected to pay attention as well as respond
to the signal. Also, it is normal in a situation like this that turn-
taking (exchanging the roles of the speaker and the addressee) occurs.

According to Lyon's remark, however, a reader of a book or a person
listening to a speech on a radio may also be referred to as an
"addressee" even though there is no expectation for responding to the
signal. Although turn-taking is not completely impossible in this kind
of examples, generally there is no expectation for it -- that is, a
reader of a book COULD respond to its author, but it is generally not

I am interested in the distinction between these two kinds of
"addressees" and wondering if there is some research conducted on this
or related topics. Please send responses to this inquiry to:

Thank you.

Yuji Nakazato
East Asian Languages
Georgetown University
Washington DC
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Message 3: Working Dialogue Systems, Anyone?

Date: Mon, 17 Jun 1996 11:16:29 BST
From: Nicholas Ostler <>
Subject: Working Dialogue Systems, Anyone?

Dear All,

As part of my research for a lecture on the Commercial Reality of
Dialogue Systems, I would like to ask for pointers to any systems on
sale to-day which incorporate a speech or text dialogue front-end.

Ironically, in the past (mid 1980s) these were the applications of
language technology par excellence, usually giving access to SQL
databases, and names such as Intellect, Q&A, Themis and Parlance are
well known, though surprisingly difficult to find running these days.
It is much harder to find modern instances of the species, despite the
flourishing state of the underlying theoretical field of dialogue
simulation, attested e.g. by this year's University of Twente
Conference on this theme
or the Budapest summer school

Partly perhaps, the ground has been taken over by multimodal interfaces.
("This may be dialog, Captain, but not as we know it.") But even there,
there does not seem to be a lot available in the stores as yet.

If people would be kind enough to send me references (and indeed
opinions or anecdotes) on new systems that are beyond the research
stage (preferably on sale), or old systems that are still available, I
should be happy to publish a summary.


Nicholas Ostler

 Batheaston Villa, 172 Bailbrook Lane
 Bath BA1 7AA England
 +44-1225-85-2865 fax +44-1225-85-9258
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