Reference to Discourse Topics: Introducing “Global” Shell Nouns

Fabian Simonjetz


Abstract
Shell nouns (SNs) are abstract nouns like “fact”, “issue”, and “decision”, which are capable of refer- ring to non-nominal antecedents, much like anaphoric pronouns. As an extension of classical anaphora resolution, the automatic detection of SNs alongside their respective antecedents has received a growing research interest in recent years but proved to be a challenging task. This paper critically examines the assumption prevalent in previous research that SNs are typically accompanied by a specific antecedent, arguing that SNs like “issue” and “decision” are frequently used to refer, not to specific antecedents, but to global discourse topics, in which case they are out of reach of previously proposed resolution strategies that are tailored to SNs with explicit antecedents. The contribution of this work is three-fold. First, the notion of global SNs is defined; second, their qualitative and quantitative impact on previous SN research is investigated; and third, implications for previous and future approaches to SN resolution are discussed.
Anthology ID:
2020.crac-1.8
Volume:
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Computational Models of Reference, Anaphora and Coreference
Month:
December
Year:
2020
Address:
Barcelona, Spain (online)
Venues:
COLING | CRAC
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
68–78
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2020.crac-1.8
DOI:
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Fabian Simonjetz. 2020. Reference to Discourse Topics: Introducing “Global” Shell Nouns. In Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Computational Models of Reference, Anaphora and Coreference, pages 68–78, Barcelona, Spain (online). Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Reference to Discourse Topics: Introducing “Global” Shell Nouns (Simonjetz, CRAC 2020)
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PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2020.crac-1.8.pdf