[developers] ICONS and generation

Emily M. Bender ebender at uw.edu
Sat Feb 6 00:11:44 CET 2016

On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 1:43 PM, Ann Copestake <aac10 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> Thanks!
> On 05/02/2016 21:30, Emily M. Bender wrote:
> Not sure if this answers the question, but a couple of comments:
> (a) I do think that written English is largely underspecified for
> information structure.
> It's part of what makes good writing good that the information structure
> is made apparent
> somehow.
> OK.  should I understand you as saying that composition (as in, what we do
> in the grammars) leaves it mostly underspecified, but that discourse level
> factors make it apparent?  or that it really is underspecified?
The former --- that is, in running text, there is a fact of the matter
about topic,
focus, contrast, etc. but that English syntax does very little about it.
There are
also tendencies (e.g., for subjects to be topics and vice versa) but there
hard constraints.  English has a few constructions for syntactically marking
information structure relations (clefts, English focus movement [fronting],
but those underdetermine the actual information structure.  Other languages
more in the morphosyntax.

> (b) I think the "I want only the unmarked form back" case might be handled
> by either
> a setting which says "no ICONS beyond what as in the input" (i.e. your
> ICONS { }) or
> a pre-processing/generation fix-up rule that takes ICONS { ... } and
> outputs something
> that would be incompatible with anything but the unmarked form.  Or maybe
> the
> subsumption check goes the wrong way for this one?
> Yes, I think the ICONS {} might be a possible way of thinking about it.  I
> should make it clear - I don't think there's a problem with constructing an
> implementation that produces the `right' behaviour but I would much prefer
> that the behaviour is specifiable cleanly in the formalism rather than as
> another parameter to the generator or whatever.
> I hope Sanghoun has something to add here!
> Emily
> On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 1:01 PM, Stephan Oepen <oe at ifi.uio.no> wrote:
>> colleagues,
>> my ideal would be a set-up where the provider of generator inputs has
>> three options: (a) request topicalization (or similar), (b) disallow it, or
>> (c) underspecify and get both variants.
>> we used to have that level of control (and flexibility) in the LOGON days
>> where there were still messages: in the message EPs, there were two
>> optional ‘pseudo’ roles (TPC and PSV) to control topicalization or
>> passivization of a specific instance variable.  effectively, when
>> present, these established a binary relation between the clause and one of
>> its nominal constituents.  if i recall correctly, blocking topicalization
>> was accomplished by putting an otherwise unbound ‘anti’-variable into the
>> TPC or PSV roles.
>> could one imagine something similar in the ICONS realm, and if so, which
>> form would it have to take?
>> best wishes, oe
>> On Friday, February 5, 2016, Woodley Packard <sweaglesw at sweaglesw.org>
>> wrote:
>>> I can confirm that under ACE, behavior is what you indicate, i.e.
>>> generating from parsing the topicalized feline-canine-playtime I get just
>>> the topicalized variant out, but when generating from parsing the ordinary
>>> word order I get all 5 variants out.
>>> I believe this was designed to imitate the long-standing condition that
>>> the MRS of generation results must be subsumed by the input MRS.  The
>>> observed behavior seems to me to be the correct interpretation of the
>>> subsumption relation with ICONS involved.  Note that an MRS with an extra
>>> intersective modifier would also be subsumed, for example, but such MRS are
>>> never actually generated since those modifier lexical entries never make it
>>> into the chart.
>>> It’s certainly reasonable to ask whether (this notion of) subsumption is
>>> really the right test.  I’ve met lots of folks who prefer to turn that
>>> subsumption test off entirely.  I guess it’s also possible that the
>>> subsumption test is right for the RELS portion of the MRS but not for the
>>> ICONS, though that seems a bit odd to consider.  However, given that we
>>> don’t have many ideas about truth-conditional implications of ICONS, maybe
>>> not so odd.
>>> I don’t really have much to offer in terms of opinions about what the
>>> right behavior should be.  I (believe I) just implemented what others asked
>>> for a couple years ago :-)
>>> -Woodley
>>> > On Feb 5, 2016, at 8:03 AM, Ann Copestake <aac10 at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> >
>>> > I'm part way through getting ICONS support working in Lisp, testing on
>>> the version of the ERG available as trunk. I have a question about
>>> generation.  If I implemented the behaviour described in
>>> http://moin.delph-in.net/IconsSpecs there doesn't seem to be a way of
>>> specifying that I want a `normal' ordering for English.
>>> >
>>> > e.g., if I take the MRS resulting from
>>> >
>>> > that dog, the cat chased.
>>> >
>>> > without ICONS check, there are 5 realizations, including the `null
>>> ICONS' case `The cat chased that dog.'  With an exact ICONS check, I can
>>> select realizations with the same ICONS (modulo order of ICONS elements, of
>>> course, in the case where there's more than one element).  But with the
>>> http://moin.delph-in.net/IconsSpecs behaviour, there's no way of
>>> specifying I want a `normal' order - if I don't give an ICONS, I will
>>> always get the 5 realisations. In fact, as I understand it, I can always
>>> end up with more icons in the realisation than in the input, as long as I
>>> can match the ones in the input.
>>> >
>>> > So:
>>> > - is the IConsSpec behaviour what is desired for the ERG (e.g.,
>>> because one can rely on the realisation ranking to prefer the most `normal'
>>> order)?
>>> > - or does the ERG behave differently from Emily and Sanghoun's
>>> grammars, such that different generator behaviour is desirable? and if so,
>>> could we change things so we don't need different behaviours
>>> >
>>> > Ann
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
> --
> Emily M. Bender
> Professor, Department of Linguistics
> Check out CLMS on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/uwclma

Emily M. Bender
Professor, Department of Linguistics
Check out CLMS on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/uwclma
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