Examples and Specifications that Prove a Point: Identifying Elaborative and Argumentative Discourse Relations

Merel Cleo Johanna Scholman, Vera Demberg


Examples and specifications occur frequently in text, but not much is known about how they function in discourse and how readers interpret them. Looking at how they’re annotated in existing discourse corpora, we find that annotators often disagree on these types of relations; specifically, there is disagreement about whether these relations are elaborative (additive) or argumentative (pragmatic causal). To investigate how readers interpret examples and specifications, we conducted a crowdsourced discourse annotation study. The results show that these relations can indeed have two functions: they can be used to both illustrate / specify a situation and serve as an argument for a claim. These findings suggest that examples and specifications can have multiple simultaneous readings. We discuss the implications of these results for discourse annotation. 

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www.dialogue-and-discourse.orgISSN: 2152-9620   Journal doi: 10.5087/dad