LINGUIST List 8.410

Sat Mar 22 1997

Calls: Francophone lit, Communicative Action

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <>

Please do not use abbreviations or acronyms for your conference unless you explain them in your text. Many people outside your area of specialization will not recognize them. Thank you for your cooperation.


  1. Bvdeecken, Modern Belgian Francophone literature
  2. David Traum, AAAI Fall Symposium: Communicative Action in Humans and Machines

Message 1: Modern Belgian Francophone literature

Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 04:23:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Bvdeecken <>
Subject: Modern Belgian Francophone literature

Dear Linguist readers,

This is the second call for papers about modern Belgian Francophone
literature which will take place in September 1997 at the University of


Modern Belgian Francophone literature:

 The "Centre de Recherches Francophones Belges" of the University of
Edinburgh provides the opportunity to exchange ideas and to address issues
dealing with Belgian culture, literature and the arts.

The object of our two-day conference (26-27 September 1997) will be to
continue promoting Francophone Belgian literature through the analysis and
discussion of the oeuvre of Jean MUNO.

Jean Muno (1924-1988) wrote novels, folktales, short stories, theatre
and radio plays and is a excellent representative of his time and
country. He is both innovative and imaginative in his use of language
and original in his choice of themes. We could describe him as an
equally talented Belgian version of Queneau or Vian.

The conference is open to anyone interested in La Francophonie and
will include papers given by speakers from Belgium and the UK.

The debate need not be restricted to Muno but can also encompass a
wide variety of topics which are of interest to the reader of Muno and
to Muno himself, such as linguistics, stylistics, semiology, magic
realism, humour etc. as well as theoretical and practical studies of
modern Francophone literature.

Those wishing to present a paper are requested to send a 1-page
abstract (along with a brief personal data sheet giving the
presenter's name, position and affiliation), as soon as possible and
in any case no later than the absolute closing date of Monday 31 March
1997. The abstract can helpfully give a description of the theoretical
framework, the method, hypotheses and findings to be presented in the

To receive information about the conference, contact Ms Joanne
Naysmith, Administrative Secretary, Department of French, University
of Edinburgh, 60 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JU, or E-mail to

Barbara Van der Eecken
Ph.D. Candidate/ Belgian literature: Jean Muno
The Department of French
The University of Edinburgh
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Message 2: AAAI Fall Symposium: Communicative Action in Humans and Machines

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 18:45:07 -0500 (EST)
From: David Traum <>
Subject: AAAI Fall Symposium: Communicative Action in Humans and Machines

 Final Call for Submissions:

 AAAI Fall 1997 Symposium on
 Communicative Action in Humans and Machines

 November 8-10, 1997, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA

Important Dates:

 April 15	Deadline for submission of papers
 May 15		Notification of acceptance
 August 22nd	Papers due for the working notes
 November 8-10	Symposium

Since at least the 50s when Austin told us how we do things with
words, it has been recognized that language performance can be
fruitfully viewed as action. There has subsequently been a range of
work reasoning about the action involved in the spoken language
communication process (speech acts), using both formal and empirical
methods. Views of communication as action have also been influential
in reasoning about machine communication in multiprocessor or
distributed systems. Moreover, many human-computer interactions have
also been described as actions similar to Austin and Searle's speech
acts. In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on theories
of action covering other aspects of the communication process,
including other modalities than speech and other aspects of dialogue
than the illocutionary acts associated with the utterance of
sentences. There has also been much subsequent work in philosophy,
logic, linguistics, and AI on the nature of actions, which can help
shed light on communicative action. We seek to bring together
researchers from a variety of perspectives on action in communication,
to discuss these issues, including the current state of the art and
assess prospects for synergy and future applications.

The symposium will focus on the following themes:

 Theories of action and agency to support representing and
		reasoning about communicative action.
 Theories of communicative action including other modalities than
		speech, and non-traditional levels of action.
 Empirical investigation of communicative action.
 Use of communicative action in applications.
 Relations between the communicative action of differing types of
		communicators (humans, machines, and mixtures of the two).
 Relations between communicative action and other kinds of
		physical and mental action (e.g., reasoning and learning).

Submission Information

Potential participants should submit each of the following:

 1. Name, physical and electronic addresses, also fax number and WWW
	URL if available. If several people working together
	(e.g. collaborating authors) wish to attend, each should
	submit separately, but should also name the others in the group.

 2. Bibliography entries to related papers (preferably in html
	and/or bibtex format), and links to URLs related to the theme
	of the symposium. These will be made publicly accessible via the
 symposium WWW page:

 3. Either an extended abstract of a research paper to be presented
	at the symposium, or a brief statement describing why you wish
	to attend and how you believe that you can contribute to
 the symposium (describe your own related work and/or specific
	questions and issues that you feel should be addressed in the
	symposium). Abstracts should be no more than 10 pages
 (exclusive of references) in plain text or postscript files (12pt).

Please send your submission via e-mail to

Contributions should address one or more of the following questions:

 1. Are existing AI theories of (physical) action adequate for
	representing and reasoning about communicative action?
 If not, how can they be adapted to serve this function, or
	are different approaches required?

 2. What kind of representation of the communicating agents
	(including "mental states" such as belief and intention) is
	necessary to model the conditions and effects of communicative

 3. How can a particular theory of action be empirically tested for
	validity, utility, etc.? What methods (e.g., corpus-based,
	system building, empirical investigations) can help elicit
 deeper and broader models of communicative action?

 4. What are the compelling applications in which reasoning about
	communicative actions are a requirement (e.g., interfaces,
	communication analysis, network/agent management)?

 5. Is the "speech act" a useful intermediary concept (e.g., for
	representing intentions), or is a direct "context-change"
	model more appropriate to the tasks?

 6. Are speech act theories developed for human-human interaction
	adequate or appropriate for machine-machine or human-machine
	communication? If not, can they be felicitously adapted
 to serve as such?

 7. Can machine communication "simulations", communicating using
	explicit speech acts in their communication protocols, provide
	useful insights into the human communication process, in
 which speech act interpretation is also a necessary component?

 8. Are theories of speech acts well suited for analyzing other
	communication modalities, such as gestural communication in
	humans or graphical presentation in machine interfaces?

 9. What kinds of dialogue actions, other than sentence-level speech
	acts, occur in dialogue?
 How do these kinds of actions relate to traditional speech acts?

 10. What is the relationship between communicative actions and
	rhetorical relations, for example, in the context of
	generating multisentential and multimedia presentations (e.g., is
	there a "hierarchical" element of communication?).

 11. What is the relationship between dialogue acts and other kinds
	of actions affecting mental states, such as reasoning and learning?

 12. When language is only part of an interaction also involving
	non-linguistic domain action, what is the relationship between
	speech and other action, both for communication and task

Organizing Committee

 Phil Cohen (Oregon Graduate Institute)
 Mark Maybury (Mitre Corporation)
 Johanna Moore (University of Pittsburgh)
 David Sadek (France Telecom)
 Candace Sidner (Lotus Development Corp.)
 David Traum (chair)
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