Invited talks

There are three invited speakers for the DiaBruck Workshop:

Andreas Herzig

IRIT - Université Paul Sabatier, France

Beliefs, intentions, actions and speech acts

We present a logical framework integrating the notions of belief, intention and action that is build on epistemic logic and dynamic logic. Based on that framework we discuss the representation of speech acts as actions that can be characterized by pre- and postconditions, focussing on the evolution of beliefs and intentions when speech acts are performed.

Martin Pickering

The University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Investigating the interactive-alignment model of dialogue

The interactive alignment account of language comprehension in dialogue (Pickering & Garrod, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in press) assumes that the linguistic representations employed by the interlocutors become aligned at many levels, as a result of a largely automatic process. The process greatly simplifies production and comprehension in dialogue. It makes use of a simple interactive inference mechanism, enables the development of local dialogue routines that greatly simplify language processing, and explains the origins of self-monitoring in production. In the course of describing the account, I outline a number of recent experimental studies that provide support for the account.

Nicholas Asher

University of Texas at Austin, USA

Bias, Tone and Questions in Dialogue.

Ever since the work of Borkin and Linebarger (in the 70s) and Ladusaw (beginning of the 80s), the semantics of questions and their licensing of negative polarity items (NPIs) ({\em ever, any}) have been the subject of considerable scrutiny in formal semantics. Early on linguists also noticed that questions with NPIs like (1) had a biasing effect:

(1) Does Fred do a damn thing around the house?

Borkin argued that such questions were only acceptable when the speaker evidences a feeling of incredulity or an expectation of a 'no' answer. The observation by and large holds up, and the work on the semantics of questions and NPIs gives us a pretty good explanation of the bias effect. But missing in all of this is the role of intonation which gives intonational prominence to the NPI. Also missing is an account of positive polarity items in questions. And finally what accounts for the bias in framing a polar question negatively rather than positively as in (2a,b)

(2) a. Are you tired?
b. Aren't you tired?

Further questions that are important for the analysis of dialogue also need to be addressed.
How do questions affect the content of a dialogue? Is the bias of the question part of the semantic content or a pragmatic "side effect"? Should an account of dialogue really pay attention to the fine grained differences between

Are you tired?
Are you at all tired?
Are you somewhat/ a little bit tired?
Aren't you tired?

I'll sketch a particular approach to questions in dialogue that comes largely from joint work with Alex Lascarides and attempt to address some of these questions in my talk.