Second European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Genova, Italy
September 24-26, 1991


The Description of Minor Clauses in Information-Seeking Telephone Dialogues

S. Eggins, Julie P. Vonwiller, C. M. I. Matthiessen, P. Sefton

Speech And Language Technology Group, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Department of Linguistics, The University of Sydney, Australia

This paper reports on work which is part of a project on the development of a dialogue manager for a speech recognition system. The analysis incorporates systemic-functional discourse and lexico-grammatical analysis, Hallidayian intonational analysis, and human factors design. This paper reports primarily on the linguistic analysis. Within linguistic models which seek to relate discourse function to lexico-grammatical realisations, research has concentrated on grammatically well formed sentence-type moves, realised as major clauses. However, because of the high frequency of minor clauses in our dialogue corpus, we found it necessary to extend the description to this aspect of the MOOD system of English grammar. The analysis involved isolating all minor clauses, which we examined for pitch contour, speech function and position in generic and exchange structure. Our paper reports on how we have integrated the description of minor clauses within a functional semantic model of dialogue, associating intonational patterns with the speech functions of these clauses through the systems of MOOD and KEY. Keywords: minor clause, systemic grammar, intonation, discourse analysis

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Bibliographic reference.  Eggins, S. / Vonwiller, Julie P. / Matthiessen, C. M. I. / Sefton, P. (1991): "The description of minor clauses in information-seeking telephone dialogues", In EUROSPEECH-1991, 1059-1062.