Discourse segmentation, the first step of discourse analysis, has been shown to improve results for text summarization, translation and other NLP tasks. While segmentation models for written text tend to perform well, they are not directly applicable to spontaneous, oral conversation, which has linguistic features foreign to written text. Segmentation is less studied for this type of language, where annotated data is scarce, and existing corpora more heterogeneous. We develop a weak supervision approach to adapt, using minimal annotation, a state of the art discourse segmenter trained on written text to French conversation transcripts. Supervision is given by a latent model bootstrapped by manually defined heuristic rules that use linguistic and acoustic information. The resulting model improves the original segmenter, especially in contexts where information on speaker turns is lacking or noisy, gaining up to 13% in F-score. Evaluation is performed on data like those used to define our heuristic rules, but also on transcripts from two other corpora.
This paper describes the STAC resource, a corpus of multi-party chats annotated for discourse structure in the style of SDRT (Asher and Lascarides, 2003; Lascarides and Asher, 2009). The main goal of the STAC project is to study the discourse structure of multi-party dialogues in order to understand the linguistic strategies adopted by interlocutors to achieve their conversational goals, especially when these goals are opposed. The STAC corpus is not only a rich source of data on strategic conversation, but also the first corpus that we are aware of that provides full discourse structures for multi-party dialogues. It has other remarkable features that make it an interesting resource for other topics: interleaved threads, creative language, and interactions between linguistic and extra-linguistic contexts.