Incremental turn processing in dialogue

In ordinary conversation, a Clarification Request (CR) can be posed before a turn is complete demonstrating (a) that sentence processing is incremental and (b) that this incremental processing must somehow make prior material available for later reference. We present an experiment to investigate whether the syntactic point of interruption affects ease of processing of an interruptive CR. The results indicate that the within-sub-tree CRs are more likely to cause a restart from the beginning of the interrupted clause and less likely to be interpreted as a CR. They are therefore more disruptive and ‘harder’ to integrate. This suggests that increments in dialogue processing are organised in terms of structured syntactic/semantic constituents, rather than simple strings/words or unstructured semantic referents. Moreover, the results demonstrate the need for a sub-sentential, highly structured and incremental concept of context.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
Book title:
Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing
York, UK
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