Sanders, Ted J. M.; Demberg, Vera; Hoek, Jet; Torabi Asr, Fatemeh; Zufferey, Sandrine; Evers-Vermeul, Jacqueline

Unifying dimensions in coherence relations: How various annotation frameworks are related

Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 2018.

In this paper, we show how three often used and seemingly different discourse annotation frameworks – Penn Discourse Treebank (PDTB), Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST), and Segmented Discourse Representation Theory – can be related by using a set of unifying dimensions. These dimensions are taken from the Cognitive approach to Coherence Relations and combined with more fine-grained additional features from the frameworks themselves to yield a posited set of dimensions that can successfully map three frameworks. The resulting interface will allow researchers to find identical or at least closely related relations within sets of annotated corpora, even if they are annotated within different frameworks. Furthermore, we tested our unified dimension (UniDim) approach by comparing PDTB and RST annotations of identical newspaper texts and converting their original end label annotations of relations into the accompanying values per dimension. Subsequently, rates of overlap in the attributed values per dimension were analyzed. Results indicate that the proposed dimensions indeed create an interface that makes existing annotation systems “talk to each other.”