The Formalisation Of Discourse Production
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This paper describes a computer program which produces English discourse. The program is capable of describing in a sequence of English sentences any game of noughts-&-crosses (tic-tac-toe), whether given or actually played with the program. The object is to understand something of what a speaker is doing when he speaks, and the program therefore demonstrates the operation of rules for selecting information into sentences, for connecting sentences into a discourse, and for constructing clauses, groups, and words to convey the required information with the maximum possible economy. The program uses a systemic functional grammar to co-operate with semantic procedures in producing English. The grammar generates only a limited range of English, but one which is nonetheless sufficient to illustrate the advantages both theoretical and practical of such a grammar for a productive system. Many other computer programs have accepted more or less natural English input, usually in the form of questions requiring an answer, but few have been designed to produce natural English, particularly connected discourse. As a producing system the present model offers a view of language use from a viewpoint slightly different from that of its predecessors. However comprehension and production are dependent on each other, so that study of one may be expected to illuminate the other.