Unravelling Indirect Answers to Wh-Questions: Corpus Construction, Analysis, and Generation

Zulipiye Yusupujiang, Jonathan Ginzburg


In Sessions:

Sigdial Poster Session 2: (Thursday, 14:00 CEST, Foyer , Chat on Discord )

Abstract: Indirect answers, crucial in human communication, serve to maintain politeness, avoid conflicts, and align with social customs. Although there has been a substantial number of studies on recognizing and understanding indirect answers to polar questions (often known as yes/no questions), there is a dearth of such work regarding wh-questions. This study takes up the challenge by constructing what is, to our knowledge, the first corpus of indirect answers to wh-questions. We analyze and interpret indirect answers to different wh-questions based on our carefully compiled corpus. In addition, we conducted a pilot study on generating indirect answers to wh-questions by fine-tuning the pre-trained generative language model DialoGPT (Zhang et al., 2020). Our results suggest this is a task that GPT finds difficult.