, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 205–237 | Cite as

Argumentative Ordering of Utterances for Language Generation in Multi-party Human–Computer Dialogue

  • Vladimir Popescu
  • Jean Caelen


In trying to control various aspects concerning utterance production in multi-party human–computer dialogue, argumentative considerations play an important part, particularly in choosing appropriate lexical units so that we fine-tune the degree of persuasion that each utterance has. A preliminary step in this endeavor is the ability to place an ordering relation between semantic forms (that are due to be realized as utterances, by the machine), concerning their persuasion strength, with respect to certain (explicit or implicit) conclusions. Thus, in this article, we propose a mechanism for assessing utterances, in terms of their argumentative force. The framework designed conflates insights from Asher and Lascarides’ SDRT (“Segmented Discourse Representation Theory”), and from Anscombre and Ducrot’s AT (“Argumentation Theory”). These mechanisms are included in a language generation component of a multi-party dialogue system for book reservation applications (i.e., a “virtual librarian”), and thus evaluated via typical human–machine conversations.


Human–computer interaction Multi-party dialogue Argumentation in language Argumentative topoï Argumentative force Discourse structure Language generation Discourse connectors 



The authors wish to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their fruitful suggestions and thorough comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grenoble Institute of TechnologyGrenobleFrance

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