Paper: I Thou Thee Thou Traitor: Predicting Formal vs. Informal Address in English Literature

ACL ID P11-2082
Title I Thou Thee Thou Traitor: Predicting Formal vs. Informal Address in English Literature
Venue Annual Meeting of the Association of Computational Linguistics
Session Main Conference
Year 2011
Authors

In contrast to many languages (like Russian or French), modern English does not distinguish formal and informal (“T/V”) address overtly, for example by pronoun choice. We describe an ongoing study which investigates to what degree the T/V distinction is recoverable in English text, and with what textual features it correlates. Our findings are: (a) human raters can label English utterances as T or V fairly well, given sufficient context; (b), lexical cues can predict T/V almost at human level.