Quantifying the role of discourse topicality in speakers' choices of referring expressions

Naho Orita, Naomi Feldman, Jordan Boyd-Graber, Eliana Vornov
2014 Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics  
The salience of an entity in the discourse is correlated with the type of referring expression that speakers use to refer to that entity. Speakers tend to use pronouns to refer to salient entities, whereas they use lexical noun phrases to refer to less salient entities. We propose a novel approach to formalize the interaction between salience and choices of referring expressions using topic modeling, focusing specifically on the notion of topicality. We show that topic models can capture the
more » ... can capture the observation that topical referents are more likely to be pronominalized. This lends support to theories of discourse salience that appeal to latent topic representations and suggests that topic models can capture aspects of speakers' cognitive representations of entities in the discourse.
doi:10.3115/v1/w14-2008 dblp:conf/acl-cmcl/OritaFBV14 fatcat:lt7y6dsyazbgnki64xeb7ugv7m