On the Means for Clarification in Dialogue

  • Matthew Purver
  • Jonathan Ginzburg
  • Patrick Healey
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 22)


The ability to request clarification of utterances is a vital part of the communicative process. In this paper we discuss the range of possible forms for clarification requests, together with the range of readings they can convey. We present the results of corpus analysis which show a correlation between certain forms and possible readings, together with some indication of maximum likely distance between request and the utterance being clarified. We then explain the implications of these results for a possible HPSG analysis of clarification requests and for an ongoing implementation of a clarification-capable dialogue system.


Clarification dialogue HPSG 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Purver
    • 1
  • Jonathan Ginzburg
    • 1
  • Patrick Healey
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUK

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