Towards An Automatic Identipeation Of Topic And Focus

Abstract

The purpose of the paper is (i) to substantiate the claim that the output of an automatic analysis should represent among other things also the hierarchy of toplc-focus articulation, and (ii) to present a general procedure for determining the toplc-focus articulation in Czech and English. (i) The following requirements on the output of an automatic analysis are significant: (a) in the output of the analysis it should be marked which elements of the analyzed sentence belong to its topic and which to the focus$ (b) the scale of communicative dynamism (CD) should also be identified for every representation of a meaning of the -n-lyzed sentence, since the degrees of CD correspond to the unmarked distribution of quantifier scopes in the semantic interpretation of the sentences (c) the analysis should also distinguish toplcless sentences from those hav~ng a topic, which is relevant for the scope of negation. (ii) For an automatic recognition of topic, focus and the degrees of CD, two ~ oints are crucial: a) either the input language has (a considerable degree of) the so-called free word order (as in Czech, Russian), or its word order is determined mainly by the grammatical relations (as in English, Prench); (b) either the input is spoken discourse (and the recognition procedure includes an acoustic analysis), or written (printed) texts are analyzed. In accordance with these points, a general procedure for determining topic, focus and the degrees of CD is formulated for Czech and English, with some hints how the preceding context can be taken into account. le We distinguish between the l@vel of l~uistic,meaning (de Saussure s and HJe~mslev s "form of content", Cosieru s "Bedeutung", others "literal meaning") and its interpretation in the sense of truth-conditional, intensional logic (see Materna and Sgall, 1980~

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Hajicov1985TowardsAA, title={Towards An Automatic Identipeation Of Topic And Focus}, author={Eva Hajicov{\'a} and Petr Sgall}, booktitle={EACL}, year={1985} }