Optimal interpretation for rhetorical relations

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This paper explores the use of a simple and computational optimality theoretic pragmatics (OT pragmatics, OTP) to the analysis of the rhetorical structure of texts. It introduces this variant of OTP briefly and then shows that it can be applied to explain coherence, rhetorical relations, discourse trees and context dependence using the occasional extra premiss. It thereby improves on existing accounts by reducing rhetorical structure to general pragmatics. It also contributes to the computational problem of inferring rhetorical structure by giving more structure to the inference processes involved, though it is as dependent on better ways of estimating semantic plausibility as any other system.


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