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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Natural discourse reference generation reduces cognitive load in spoken systems
Author: E. Campana
Institution: Arizona State University
Author: Michael K Tanenhaus
Institution: University of Rochester
Author: James F Allen
Institution: University of Rochester
Author: R. Remington
Institution: The University of Queensland
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics
Abstract: The generation of referring expressions is a central topic in computational linguistics. Natural referring expressions – both definite references like ‘the baseball cap’ and pronouns like ‘it’ – are dependent on discourse context. We examine the practical implications of context-dependent referring expression generation for the design of spoken systems. Currently, not all spoken systems have the goal of generating natural referring expressions. Many researchers believe that the context-dependency of natural referring expressions actually makes systems less usable. Using the dual-task paradigm, we demonstrate that generating natural referring expressions that are dependent on discourse context reduces cognitive load. Somewhat surprisingly, we also demonstrate that practice does not improve cognitive load in systems that generate consistent (context-independent) referring expressions. We discuss practical implications for spoken systems as well as other areas of referring expression generation.


This article appears IN Natural Language Engineering Vol. 17, Issue 3.

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