Veins Theory: A Model of Global Discourse Cohesion and Coherence

Abstract : In this paper, we propose a generalization of Centering Theory (CT) (Grosz, Joshi, Weinstein 1995) called Veins Theory (VT), which extends the applicability of centering rules from local to global discourse. A key facet of the theory involves the identification of “veins” over discourse structure trees such as those defined in RST, which delimit domains of referential accessibility for each unit in a discourse. Once identified, reference chains can be extended across segment boundaries, thus enabling the application of CT over the entire discourse. We describe the processes by which veins are defined over discourse structure trees and how CT can be applied to global discourse by using these chains. We also define a discourse “smoothness” index which can be used to compare different discourse structures and interpretations, and show how VT can be used to abstract a span of text in the context of the whole discourse. Finally, we validate our theory by analyzing examples from corpora of English, French, and Romanian.
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Dan Cristea, Nancy Ide, Laurent Romary. Veins Theory: A Model of Global Discourse Cohesion and Coherence. Coling-ACL Conference, 1998, Montréal, Canada. pp.281-285. ⟨hal-00521889⟩

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