Reference tracking mechanisms and automatic annotation based on Ob-Ugric information structure
The following paper is concerned with information structure in the Ob-Ugric languages and its manifestation in reference tracking and its mechanisms. We will show how both knowledge on information structure and on reference tracking mechanisms can be used to develop a system for a (semi-)automatic annotation of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic functions. We assume that the principles of information structure, i.e., the balancing of the content of an utterance, are indicated by the use of anaphoric devices to mark participants in an on-going discourse. This process in which participants are encoded by the speaker and decoded by the hearer is called reference tracking. Our model distinguishes four important factors that play a role in reference tracking: inherent (linguistic) features of a referent, information structure, referential devices and referential strategies. The interaction between these factors we call reference tracking mechanisms. Here, the passive voice and the dative shift are used to exemplify this complex interaction system. Drawing conclusions from this, rules are developed to annotate both syntactic, semantic and pragmatic roles of discourse participants (semi-)automatically.