A Two-Level Interpretation of Modality in Human-Robot Dialogue

We analyze the use and interpretation of modal expressions in a corpus of situated human-robot dialogue and ask how to effectively represent these expressions for automatic learning. We present a two-level annotation scheme for modality that captures both content and intent, integrating a logic-based, semantic representation and a task-oriented, pragmatic representation that maps to our robot{'}s capabilities. Data from our annotation task reveals that the interpretation of modal expressions in human-robot dialogue is quite diverse, yet highly constrained by the physical environment and asymmetrical speaker/addressee relationship. We sketch a formal model of human-robot common ground in which modality can be grounded and dynamically interpreted.

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