Paper: What Humour Tells Us About Discourse Theories

ACL ID E06-3002
Title What Humour Tells Us About Discourse Theories
Venue Annual Meeting of The European Chapter of The Association of Computational Linguistics
Session Main Conference
Year 2006

Many verbal jokes, like garden path sen- tences, pose difficulties to models of dis- course since the initially primed interpre- tation needs to be discarded and a new one created based on subsequent statements. The effect of the joke depends on the fact that the second (correct) interpretation was not visible earlier. Existing models of discourse semantics in principle gen- erate all interpretations of discourse frag- ments and carry these until contradicted, and thus the dissonance criteria in humour cannot be met. Computationally, main- taining all possible worlds in a discourse is very inefficient, thus computing only the maximum-likelihood interpretation seems to be a more efficient choice on average. In this work we outline a probabilistic lexicon based lexical semantics approach whi...