By Michael Fortescue

This essay is an try to building up a believable version of the cognitive tactics at the back of the habit exhibited by means of speaker-hearers in a particular discourse scenario.

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Additional resources for A Discourse Production Model For Twenty Questions

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This can be accounted for if we accept that such higher functions can find realization through a variety of lower-level ones (more directly tied to the lin­ guistic system), much as in flexible computer programs a routine can 'summon' another as a sub-routine and in turn be summoned as a sub­ routine in some other procedure (the principle of 'heterarchical' structure). We are forced nevertheless to identify them as distinct acts like the others if we are to account for the ability of the hear­ er to trace back the intention behind the utterance in question to the speaker's ultimate reason for uttering it - in order to respond appro­ priately .

The labels of the acts in the left-hand column can be regarded as describing the commu­ nicative needs served by the acts (as intended by the speaker). It is the combination of minimally adequate response set and propositional content (the central columns) that forms the basis of this classifica­ tion into distinct acts, parallelling the intuitive classification sup­ plied by column one. The last column gives only a very sketchy indica­ tion of some of the more common realizations of these acts (interroga­ tive forms only).

The similar rule at the end of this chapter for a general act 'Request Action' from which it can be derived by the addition of propositional content constraints, etc. 3 1 ): 'TWENTY QUESTIONS' 54 Request Rephrase ASKIF 'you' + 'could'/'would'/'can' 'like to') + p, + Int ASKWh 'What' + 'mean' + NP 'What about'■+ NP + Int 32 Request Confirmation p2 (where 'p,' refers to the action requested ; 'pp' is the content of the preceding utterance, or some relevant inference from the latter ; 'Int' is the intonation pattern(s) associated with requesting).

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