Strategies for Natural Language Processing

By Wendy G. Lehnert; Martin H. Ringle | Go to book overview

16
Context Recognition in Language Cornprehension

Eugene Charniak Brown University


INTRODUCTION

People can read a line or two of a story and immediately know "what is going on." So in reading

As the boy walked down the aisle he took a can of tuna fish from the shelf and put it in his basket.

we have no trouble deciding that we are witnessing a person shopping at a supermarket. When I talk of "context recognition" this is what I mean. The question I wish to raise is: How do we do this?

As we see in the course of this chapter, there are many aspects to this problem, but we concentrate on the most obvious ones, coming up with a "supermarket" hypothesis in a story that never mentions any such thing. Superficially, this ability requires that we combine "low-level" clues (tuna fish, shelf, basket, aisle) to form a "high-level" hypothesis (supermarket). We might then ask if there are any limits to this ability, or are we able to take any set of clues, and find a consistent hypothesis that integrates them, assuming such a hypothesis exists. At a glance this seems plausible, because if the reader tries, he or she could probably make up dozens, if not hundreds, of examples, all of which imply supermarket shopping, yet use new combinations of different clues.

But are people really capable of all this? In this chapter I argue that such an assumption will have very far-reaching consequences, many of which make me uncomfortable. Instead I propose an alternate model of this ability, which makes much more modest processing assumptions, and which, in particular, assumes

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Strategies for Natural Language Processing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Abstracts xvii
  • I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - The State of the Art In Natural-Language Understanding 3
  • Acknowledgments 30
  • References 30
  • II - Implementation Issues 33
  • 2 - Realistic Language Comprehension 37
  • References 53
  • 3 - Natural Communication Between Person and Computer 55
  • Acknowledgments 86
  • References 86
  • 4 - Parsing and Comprehending With Word Experts (a Theory And Its Realization) 89
  • Acknowledgments 147
  • References 147
  • 5 - An Overview of the Frump System 149
  • Acknowledgments 175
  • References 175
  • 6 - A Framework for Conceptual Analyzers 177
  • References 196
  • III - Conversation And Discourse 199
  • 7 - Conversation Failure 203
  • References 220
  • 8 - Towards an Understanding Of Coherence in Discourse 223
  • Acknowledgments 242
  • References 242
  • 9 - Beyond Question Answering 245
  • Acknowledgments 271
  • References 271
  • 10 - Adversary Arguments and The Logic of Personal Attacks 275
  • Acknowledgments 293
  • References 294
  • IV - Knowledge Representation 295
  • 11 - Inference and Learning In Computer Model of The Development of Language Comprehension in a Young Child 299
  • Acknowledgments 325
  • References 325
  • 12 - Inferring Building Blocks For Knowledge Representation 327
  • Acknowledgments 343
  • References 343
  • 13 - Points: A Theory of the Structure Of Stories in Memory 345
  • References 373
  • 14 - Plot Units: a Narrative Summarization Strategy 375
  • Acknowledgments 411
  • References 411
  • V - Theoretical Issues 413
  • 15 - Metaphor: an Inescapable Phenomenon In Natural-Language Comprehension 415
  • Acknowledgments 432
  • References 433
  • 16 - Context Recognition In Language Cornprehension 435
  • Acknowledgments 453
  • References 453
  • 17 - Reminding and Memory Organization: an Introduction To Mops 455
  • Acknowledgments 493
  • References 493
  • 18 - Some Thoughts on Procedural Semantics 495
  • Acknowledgments 515
  • Notes on Contributors 517
  • Subject Index 523
  • Index 529
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