Transfer of Corpus-Specific Dialogue Act Annotation to ISO Standard: Is it worth it?

Spoken conversation corpora often adapt existing Dialogue Act (DA) annotation specifications, such as DAMSL, DIT++, etc., to task specific needs, yielding incompatible annotations; thus, limiting corpora re-usability. Recently accepted ISO standard for DA annotation {--} Dialogue Act Markup Language (DiAML) {--} is designed as domain and application independent. Moreover, the clear separation of dialogue dimensions and communicative functions, coupled with the hierarchical organization of the latter, allows for classification at different levels of granularity. However, re-annotating existing corpora with the new scheme might require significant effort. In this paper we test the utility of the ISO standard through comparative evaluation of the corpus-specific legacy and the semi-automatically transferred DiAML DA annotations on supervised dialogue act classification task. To test the domain independence of the resulting annotations, we perform cross-domain and data aggregation evaluation. Compared to the legacy annotation scheme, on the Italian LUNA Human-Human corpus, the DiAML annotation scheme exhibits better cross-domain and data aggregation classification performance, while maintaining comparable in-domain performance.

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