Week 4 Lecture 1: Speech Act Analysis.

Models of
Discourse Analysis
Carolyn Penstein Rosé
Language Technologies Institute/
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Can you explain speech acts
from Gee’s perspective
(using his terms)?
 i.e.,
what is a speech act?
Can you explain speech acts
from Martin and Rose’s
perspective (using their
Note that we can use work like
Levenson’s Differently
We talked about Gee’s 42 questions as
being like feature extractors
 Martin & Rose’s systems give us a map,
showing us where to look for evidence
(almost the same?)
 Levinson’s work raises questions – shows
us distinctions that need to be accounted
for, potential holes in our approach
Levinson helps us think in detail
on a technical level about how
particular words are
•According to the performative hypothesis, “frankly” should be functioning the
same way in all of these utterances, but it’s not. In 50 and 52 it modifies the way
the message is told, in 51 it’s a warning that something negative is coming.
•What does this tell us about using words as evidence in Pragmatic oriented
Which accomplishes a bet and
how do you know?
* What does that tell you about how to model speech acts computationally?
Plan for Upcoming Unit
For next time we will pass out examples from AMI and coding manual
By Wed I will link in the readings for Unit 2
Next Monday I will hand out the annotated corpus and documentation
for SIDE plugins
Student Comment
I'm not sure we can analyze a text using
our current knowledge of speech acts. We
can only determine if there are any speech
acts and where specifically they occur.
Speech act theory as we've discussed it so
far doesn't include any analytical feature
beyond sentence deconstruction, unlike
Gee's and SFL methodologies.
Can you pass the salt?
It’s hot in here.
Digging in to the roots…
Gee: Anthropology
 Martin & Rose:
Rhetoric and
Literary Theory
 Levinson:
Philosophy and
What’s the connection?
Gee: Anthropology
 Speech
acts are kinds of discourse practices,
there are conventional ways of doing things
with words as indicated through form-function
 Figured worlds set up conditionally relevant
speech acts (adjacency pairs)
Martin & Rose: Rhetoric and Literary
 The
Negotiation framework is a very simplified
system of speech acts
Student Questions
I think that the main difference between
speech act analysis and the other types of
analyses that we have covered thus far is
that it explicitly asks the analyst to consider
a certain text’s many voices—its
 why would someone want to talk if they are
not trying to achieve something
(consciously, or unconsciously)?
Please clarify…
Throughout the conversation, Jim uses
illocutionary force to direct the flow of
conversation. From "go ahead" (2) to the series
of probing questions (12, 15, 23, 33, 39, 57, 64,
82), his statements range from clearly pushing
the conversation ahead to something that is
closer to bordering on factual yes/no questions.
Even as he gets more into informational
questions, near the end of the dialogue, these are
still compelling Bonnie to continue her
What can we do with speech
Recognize what actions users are doing in a natural
language based interface
Sometimes mixed with domain level frames to detect
what someone wanted in a task based dialogue
system (scheduling a meeting, registering for a
conference, making an airplane reservation)
If clusters of speech acts are associated with roles, you
can use them to identify roles within an interaction
Current work on meeting summarization
Some work on “social positioning” in the mixedinitiative dialogue community in the 90s
What questions can we answer with
You could think of them as moves in a game (like chess)
Each move is part of a strategy
Moves work together to accomplish intentions
But each speaker has their own set of intentions – in some sense
they are competing
You can explain what strategies were effective or not for
accomplishing any of these intentions
From this analysis, you can conclude things about power,
positioning, influence, etc.
Why might someone be insulted when you politely explain
something to them?
You can talk about different social languages used to enact
speech acts (e.g., direct versus indirect)
What do we gain from this diversity?
Gee: Anthropology
 Martin & Rose:
Rhetoric and
Literary Theory
 Levinson:
Philosophy and
* In some ways our goals are different from all of these. But all of them have
insights into how language works. Anthropologists know how it functions in
societies. Rhetoriticians know how it functions in interpersonal relationships. And
logicians have thought about how humans are able to interpret language from the
available evidence.
Why all the focus on truth
Formal semantics is based on logic
 Evaluating meaning of a sentence is:
translating the sentence into logic,
evaluating it within a model
 Models define what is given and what
inferences can be made
 Evaluating meaning in a model means
evaluating whether the model makes that
sentence true or not
What is Pragmatics?
Pragmatics is what is beyond truth conditional
 Part of the chapter focuses on whether there
is anything beyond truth conditional meaning
 If you accept that there is something beyond
that, one thing there is is what language
does, apart from what it means
 Formal pragmatics is about building models
that allow us to compute what language does
Speech act inventories
Early Computational Approaches
AMI Annotation Scheme
Later Dialogue Act Tagging
Text classification based approaches
 Things you should know:
 Using
Naïve Bayes, SVM, HMMs, CRFs
Note that HMMs and CRFs are statistical
techniques that pick up on sequencing
 Conditional probability P(X|Y): If you know Y is true
already, what is the probability that X is true?
 If probabilities are independent, you can combine
them by multiplying
 Features:
Unigrams, bigrams, POS bigrams
What to think about as you
What distinguishes the set of speech acts
that are being focused on?
 What evidence would you as a human use
to make your choice?
 What evidence is this computational
approach taking into account?
 What is it missing?
 Can you think of examples that you think it
would miss?
Corpora for experimentation
Unit 2: Maptask data (Negotiation coding)
 Possibly
other chat corpora with same coding
as well
Unit 3: Product Reviews (Sentiment)
 Unit 4: Blog corpus (Age and Gender)
 Unit 5: AMI meeting corpus (Dialogue Acts)
 Other corpora
 Email
discussion list (Social Support coding)
Assignment 1 (not due til Feb2)
Transcribe a scene from a favorite move, play, or TV show
Select one of the methodologies we are discussing in Unit 1
(e.g., from Gee, Martin & Rose, or Levinson)
Do a qualitative analysis of the data and write it up
As a shortcut, you can find a script online
Excerpt should be no more than one page of text
Use readings from Unit 1 as a collection of models to chose from
Due on Week 4 lecture 2
Turn in data, raw analysis (can be annotations added to the data),
and write up (your interpretation of the analysis)
Not required now!! Prepare a powerpoint presentation for class (no more than 5 minutes of
Other Ideas: Twitter data, Google Groups, transcribe a real
conversation (if your conversational partners agree…)

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