Approches formelles de l'analyse du discours : Relations discursives et verbes d'attitude propositionnelle

Timothée Bernard 1, 2
1 SEMAGRAMME - Semantic Analysis of Natural Language
Inria Nancy - Grand Est, LORIA - NLPKD - Department of Natural Language Processing & Knowledge Discovery
Abstract : This thesis focuses on the formalisms that make it possible to mathematically represent not only the meaning of independent sentences, but also whole texts, including the meaning relations that link sentences together. These links — the discourse relations — include temporal, causal and contrastive relations. Not only are we interested in meaning and its representation, but also on the algorithmic process of how this representation is computed using the sequence of words that constitute the text. We thus find ourselves at a point where three disciplines intersect: discourse analysis, formal semantics and computational linguistics. Most formal work on discourse pays little attention to reporting verbs (say, tell, etc.) and attitude verbs (think, believe, etc.). These verbs, henceforth ‘AVs’, all express the attitude or stance of one person on a given proposition. They are used frequently and introduce many subtleties that are not addressed in current theories. The main objective of this thesis is to shed light on the principles of a formal grammar that is compatible with discourse analysis that takes AVs into account. We therefore start by presenting a set of linguistic data illustrating the interactions between AVs and discourse relations. Adverbial connectives (then, for example, etc.) are usually considered anaphoric. One might wonder, however, whether, in practice, a computational linguistic system cannot deal with this particular category of anaphora as a kind of structural dependency, meaning that syntax is somehow extended above the sentence level. This is what we try to achieve using the D-STAG formalism. While it has properties that are relevant for automatic discourse analysis, such an approach imposes quite the burden on syntax. We therefore discuss the difficulties that this approach poses. Consequently, we develop an anaphor based approach, in which the arguments of discourse relations are not determined solely by the grammatical structures of the utterances. We use the same conceptual tools to account for the anaphoricity of adverbial connectives, the shape of non-tree discourse structures (observed for all type of connectives) but also the evidential use of AVs. If, however, we look at the notion of anaphora, our aim is to explicitly integrate it into our grammatical formalism. In particular, we set out to specify when anaphora resolution is performed and on which input. This is made possible by continuation semantics, which we use in conjunction with event semantics. Events have often been appealed to in order to describe the semantics of causal and temporal relations. Nevertheless, events raise a number of questions related to the possibility of some inference patterns that are observed, in addition to the presence of negation in the arguments of discourse relations. We suggest a number of potential answers and study the case of negation in more detail. We therefore review the issues facing event semantics when dealing with negation. Such issues concern both the syntax-semantics interface and the purely semantics level. We argue that these difficulties originate from the standard analysis of negation, which interprets positive and negative sentences is an essentially different fashion. Rejecting this view, we propose a novel formalisation of negative events that is relevant to the analysis of various linguistic phenomena.
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Timothée Bernard. Approches formelles de l'analyse du discours : Relations discursives et verbes d'attitude propositionnelle. Informatique et langage [cs.CL]. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2019. Français. ⟨tel-02150106⟩

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