Automatic identification of discourse markers in dialogues: An in-depth study of like and well

Zufferey, Sandrine; Popescu-Belis, Andrei (2011). Automatic identification of discourse markers in dialogues: An in-depth study of like and well. Computer Speech & Language, 25(3), pp. 499-518. Elsevier 10.1016/j.csl.2010.12.001

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The lexical items like and well can serve as discourse markers (DMs), but can also play numerous other roles, such as verb or adverb. Identifying the occurrences that function as DMs is an important step for language understanding by computers. In this study, automatic classifiers using lexical, prosodic/positional and sociolinguistic features are trained over transcribed dialogues, manually annotated with DM information. The resulting classifiers improve state-of-the-art performance of DM identification, at about 90% recall and 79% precision for like (84.5% accuracy, κ = 0.69), and 99% recall and 98% precision for well (97.5% accuracy, κ = 0.88). Automatic feature analysis shows that lexical collocations are the most reliable indicators, followed by prosodic/positional features, while sociolinguistic features are marginally useful for the identification of DM like and not useful for well. The differentiated processing of each type of DM improves classification accuracy, suggesting that these types should be treated individually.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Zufferey, Sandrine


800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 840 French & related literatures
400 Language > 440 French & related languages








Sandrine Zufferey

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2016 10:02

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:53

Publisher DOI:





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