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Local alignment of frame of reference assignment in English and Swedish dialogue

Conference paper
Authors Simon Dobnik
John D. Kelleher
Christine Howes
Published in Spatial Cognition XII: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference, Spatial Cognition 2020, Riga, Latvia
ISSN 0302-9743
Publisher Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Place of publication Cham, Switzerland
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords spatial descriptions, frame of reference, dialogue, alignment, computational models
Subject categories Computational linguistics, Cognitive science, Linguistics


In this paper we examine how people assign, interpret, negotiate and repair the frame of reference (FoR) in online text-based dialogues discussing spatial scenes in English and Swedish. We describe our corpus and data collection which involves a coordination experiment in which dyadic dialogue participants have to identify differences in their picture of a visual scene. As their perspectives of the scene are different, they must coordinate their FoRs in order to complete the task. Results show that participants do not align on a global FoR, but tend to align locally, for sub-portions (or particular conversational games) in the dialogue. This has implications for how dialogue systems should approach problems of FoR assignment - and what strategies for clarification they should implement.

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