Hoek, Jet; Scholman, Merel; Sanders, Ted J. M.

Is there less agreement when the discourse is underspecified?

Proceedings of the Integrating Perspectives on Discourse Annotation (DiscAnn) Workshop, University of Tübingen, Germany, 2021.

When annotating coherence relations, interannotator agreement tends to be lower on implicit relations than on relations that are explicitly marked by means of a connective or a cue phrase. This paper explores one possible explanation for this: the additional inferencing involved in interpreting implicit relations compared to explicit relations. If this is the main source of disagreements, agreement should be highly related to the specificity of the connective. Using the CCR framework, we annotated relations from TED talks that were marked by a very specific marker, marked by a highly ambiguous connective, or not marked by means of a connective at all. We indeed reached higher inter-annotator agreement on explicit than on implicit relations. However, agreement on underspecified relations was not necessarily in between, which is what would be expected if agreement on implicit relations mainly suffers because annotators have less specific instructions for inferring the relation.