A discourse relation (or rhetorical relation) is a description of how two segments of discourse are logically and/or structurally connected to one another. It is widely accepted that Coherence (linguistics), coherence in text is established through text relations that constitute paratactic (coordinate) or hypotactic (subordinate) relations that hold across two or more text spans. Selected theories and annotation frameworks of discourse relations include: * Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) that uses rhetorical relations as a systematic way for an analyst to analyse the text. An analysis is usually built by reading the text and constructing a tree using the relations. * Segmented discourse representation theory" (SDRT)


Asher and Lascarides categorize the discourse relations formalized in SDRT into five classes.

Content-level relations

Text structuring relations

Divergent relations

Metatalk relations

* Consequence*(α,β)Asher and Lascarides (2003): 333 * Explanation*(α,β) * Explanation*q(α,β) * Result*(α,β)

See also

* Speech act * Contrast (linguistics)

Notes and references


* Nicholas Asher, Asher, Nicholas and Alex Lascarides (2003).
Logics of Conversation
'. Studies in Natural Language Processing. Cambridge University Press.
Pitler, Emily
and others (2008).
Easily Identifiable Discourse Relations
. University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science Technical Report No. MS-CIS-08-24.
Grosz, Barbara J
and Candice L. Sidner (1986). "Attention, Intentions, and the Structure of Discourse". ''Computational Linguistics (journal), Computational Linguistics'' 12: 175–204. [aka DSM] * Alistair Knott
'An Algorithmic Framework for Specifying the Semantics of Discourse Relations'
''Computational Intelligence (journal), Computational Intelligence'' 16 (2000). * William C. Mann, Mann, William C. and Sandra A .Thompson (1988).
Rhetorical Structure Theory
A theory of text organization". ''Text (journal), Text'' 8: 243–281. [aka RST]

External links

Rhetorical Structure Theory
— RST website, created by William C. Mann, maintained by Maite Taboada
Discourse analysis Natural language processing Semantics Formal semantics (natural language) {{semantics-stub