How compatible are our discourse annotations? Insights from mapping RST-DT and PDTB annotations

28 Apr 2017  ·  Vera Demberg, Fatemeh Torabi Asr, Merel Scholman ·

Discourse-annotated corpora are an important resource for the community, but they are often annotated according to different frameworks. This makes comparison of the annotations difficult, thereby also preventing researchers from searching the corpora in a unified way, or using all annotated data jointly to train computational systems. Several theoretical proposals have recently been made for mapping the relational labels of different frameworks to each other, but these proposals have so far not been validated against existing annotations. The two largest discourse relation annotated resources, the Penn Discourse Treebank and the Rhetorical Structure Theory Discourse Treebank, have however been annotated on the same text, allowing for a direct comparison of the annotation layers. We propose a method for automatically aligning the discourse segments, and then evaluate existing mapping proposals by comparing the empirically observed against the proposed mappings. Our analysis highlights the influence of segmentation on subsequent discourse relation labeling, and shows that while agreement between frameworks is reasonable for explicit relations, agreement on implicit relations is low. We identify several sources of systematic discrepancies between the two annotation schemes and discuss consequences of these discrepancies for future annotation and for the training of automatic discourse relation labellers.

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