Information Structure, Discourse Structure and Discourse Semantics
ESSLLI 2001 Workshop

August 20-24, 2001
during ESSLLI 2001 in Helsinki, Finland
endorsed by SIGSEM and by SIGdial

JoLLI Special Issue as a follow-up of the workshop:

Discourse and Information Structure. Special Issue of the Journal of Logic, Language and Information, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2003. Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová (Saarland University) and Mark Steedman (University of Edinburgh) (eds.)

More details here

6 November 2001: The final version of the Workshop Proceedings

Download gzipped postscript file
Download PDF file

There were between 60 and 80 ESSLLI participants attending the workshop every day!

Contents of this page:
Mission Statement
Rough Schedule  Invited Speakers   List of accepted papers   Workshop Programme
Information for Speakers   Important Dates Programme Committee  
Links of related interest

Mission Statement:

This workshop aims to provide a forum for recent research on interactions between information structure (as a component of sentence-level semantics), discourse structure and discourse-level semantics.

Information structure (IS) is construed broadly here as comprising structural and semantic properties of utterances relating to the discourse status of their content, the actual and attributed attentional states of the discourse participants, and the participants' prior and changing attitudes (knowledge, beliefs, intentions, expectations, etc.). This broad view of IS is meant to subsume notions like focus,  presupposition, given vs. new, theme vs. rheme and the various dichotomies such as topic vs. comment or focus,  ground or background vs. focus etc.

While discourse structure (DS) is more difficult to define, there is at least agreement that coherent discourse (multi-sentence dialogue or monologic text) is more than a sequence of propositions, just as sentences are more than sequences of words. In discourse, both explicit and implicit devices signify links between sentences, between groups of sentences, and between elements within sentences, and in turn, carry additional elements of discourse semantics. We are thus taking DS broadly, to cover all aspects of the internal organisational structure of a discourse. DS thus subsumes notions such as segmentation, relations between segments (informational and intentional), anaphoric relations, modal subordination, discourse topic, thematic progression, etc.

Understanding IS in light of DS and vice versa is not only justified on theoretical grounds: Experience with applications such as translating telephony and interactive query-answering makes it painfully clear that a theory relating IS and DS is essential for accurate Natural Language Processing. Fortunately, formal accounts addressing these issues have started to emerge and some, to be embodied in computational models of discourse processing. Further development and adaptation into practical systems will require expertise from linguistics, logic and computation. ESSLLI provides an appropriate forum for fostering collaboration between interested researchers across the relevant areas.

The workshop aims to attract researchers in computational and theoretical linguistics and logic who are investigating IS-sensitive discourse processing and to  facilitate contact, exchange of ideas and cooperation between them.

We hope that the participants of the workshop will transcend the difficulties caused by proliferating terminologies, and concentrate instead on investigating the interactions between IS and DS, with the goal of understanding how sentence-level semantic devices that make up IS symbiotically serve the needs of discourse cohesion and coherence. We seek contributions advancing beyond descriptive frameworks towards an explanatory account of  how IS and DS, in whatever framework, interact to refer to and update a dynamically evolving representation of discourse context.

To achieve these goals, the workshop will consist of five sessions, each containing two to three contributed paper presentations, and discussion. In the introductory session, we will attempt to lay out the evolution of IS in various approaches and in the closing session, to summarize the implications of  the contributions presented at the workshop. There will also be a key note speaker.

We aim to assemble a coherent set of papers, addressing closely related issues from various perspectives, such that the exchange of ideas among the workshop participants can be maximized. The submitted papers will be refereed by the PC.

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Rough Schedule:

The workshop will take place every day in the second week of ESSLLI, 17:00--18:45.

    Mon Aug 20:    Intro + 2 contributed talks
    Tue Aug 21:    Invited talk + 1 contributed talk
    Wed Aug 22:    3 contributed talks
    Thu Aug 23:    Invited talk + 1 contributed talk
    Fri Aug 24:    2 contributed talks + Closing

Each contributed talk will have 25 min for presentation plus 10 min for discussion, the Introduction and Closing will have 30-35 min, and the invited talks will have 1 hour for presentation plus 10 minutes for discussion.


 Please note the 15 minutes extension in comparison to the normal ESSLLI schedule. This is in order to give enough time to all the talks.

Note also that all workshop participants must register as particpants of ESSLLI, including the speakers/authors. The early registration fees apply to speakers/authors of accepted papers.

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Invited speakers:

Enric Vallduví (Dept de Traduccio, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Fragments in Information Packaging

Livia Polanyi (Fuji-Xerox Palo Alto Laboratory)
The Relationship of Information Strcuture to Discourse Structure

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Accepted papers:

List of the accepted papers
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Workshop Programme a glance
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Information for Speakers

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Important Dates:

 March 30        Submission deadline
 April 30           Notifications of acceptance/rejection to authors
 May 25           Final version of papers in LaTeX for the proceedings due
 August 20-24  Workshop dates
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Programme Committee:

Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová (organizer, co-chair; CKL / UFAL, Charles University, Prague & Computational Linguistics, The University of the Saarland)
Mark Steedman              (organizer, co-chair; Division of Informatics, The University of Edinburgh)

John Bateman                 (Universität Bremen)
Daniel Büring                  (Linguistics Department, UCLA)
Elisabet Engdahl             (Department of Swedish Language, Göteborg University)
Bart Geurts                    (University of Nijmegen & Humboldt University Berlin)
Eva Hajièová                 (CKL / UFAL, Charles University, Prague)
David Traum                  (Institute for Creative Technology, University of Southern California)
Maria Vilkuna                (Research Institute for the Languages of Finland)
Bonnie Webber              (Division of Informatics, The University of Edinburgh)
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Links of related interest:

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Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová
Last modified: Wed Nov 21 15:16:22 MET 2001