Parsing meta-communicational statements in dialogues :a computational model
Bouzid, Ahmed T.
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Prevalent in dialogues are communications about the activity of talking itself. Examination of dyadic conversations readily shows the ubiquity of statements such as "Okay," "Well," "You know," indicating that in natural, spontaneous talk people are often concerned with the process of talking as well as with the content of their talk. In an analysis of a corpus of twenty seven transcribed telephone conversations (80 minutes of continuous talk). we found that such statements occur with an average frequency of 1.49 per conversational turn, and that a turn free of such statements is rare. A verbal expression focusing on the activity of talking we term a meta-statement. In this thesis, we present a model of meta-statements. We propose that metastatements are pragmatic units of talk used to regulate and maintain the conversational contexts shared by interactants. More specifically, we hypothesize that to determine the "meaning" of meta-statements, six aspects of a conversation's context must be modeled: the rhetorical, conversational, interpersonal. emotional, cognitive, and communicational aspects. We specify these models in what follows and outline the components of a conversational system that is able to parse the meaning of meta-statements.
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