The prevalence of descriptive referring expressions in news and narrative Conference

cited authors

  • Hervás, R; Finlayson, MA

fiu authors


  • Generating referring expressions is a key step in Natural Language Generation. Researchers have focused almost exclusively on generating distinctive referring expressions, that is, referring expressions that uniquely identify their intended referent. While undoubtedly one of their most important functions, referring expressions can be more than distinctive. In particular, descriptive referring expressions - those that provide additional information not required for distinction - are critical to fluent, efficient, well-written text. We present a corpus analysis in which approximately one-fifth of 7,207 referring expressions in 24,422 words of news and narrative are descriptive. These data show that if we are ever to fully master natural language generation, especially for the genres of news and narrative, researchers will need to devote more attention to understanding how to generate descriptive, and not just distinctive, referring expressions. © 2010 Association for Computational Linguistics.

publication date

  • December 1, 2010

start page

  • 49

end page

  • 54