B2: Cognitive Modelling of Information Density for Discourse Relations
The goal of project B2 is to learn about whether there is support for the uniform information density hypothesis at the level of discourse relations. Specifically, the project will test whether the presence of optional discourse relation markers can be explained by information density. A second hypothesis holds that discourse relation surprisal can account for processing difficulty. These hypotheses will be tested on corpora as well as in online experimental studies. The project furthermore proposes to build a broad-coverage model of discourse relation surprisal, where each word in a text is regarded as a potential cue conveying some information about discourse relations in the text. An important aspect for building such a computational model is the cognitive plausibility of the discourse relation inventory, which will also be addressed.
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