Signaling of Discourse Relations: Anchoring Discourse Signals across Genres
Discourse Relations, also known as coherence or rhetorical relations, characterize the semantic or pragmatic relationships between clauses or sentences in discourse. Such relations are established in order to facilitate effective communication. In addition to the inventory of relations, previous research has also investigated how discourse relations are established or signaled. Discourse markers (DMs) are considered to be the most typical signals in discourse; however, focusing merely on DMs is inadequate as they can only account for a small number of relations in discourse. Thus, researchers have been exploring textual signals beyond DMs such as the Penn Discourse Treebank 2.0 (PDTB, Prasad et al. 2008) and the Rhetorical Structure Theory Signalling Corpus (RST-SC, Das and Taboada 2018). Despite their different theoretical groundings and approaches to relation signaling, both corpora annotated the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) section of the Penn Treebank (PTB, Marcus et al. 1993), i.e. the news articles. Nevertheless, previous work has suggested that signaling information is indicative of genres (e.g. Taboada and Lavid 2003; Zeldes 2018). Therefore, this project aims to anchor signaling devices on a more diverse corpus to demonstrate the inadequacy of signaling by DMs only, the abundance of open-class signals, and more importantly, the distribution of signaling devices across genres.
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