Formal ontology for discourse analysis of a corpus of court interpreting Adam Pease, Jennifer Cheung Pease and

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


We develop a new method of discourse analysis using speech act theory and formal ontology. The method constitutes an attempt to make discourse analysis more formal and repeatable. We apply the method to a corpus of bilingual, interpreted legal dialogue, focusing on the speech act of clarification and its component acts. While discourse analysis is primarily a qualitative tool, it can be applied quantitatively by counting certain types of discourse, such as clarification speech acts. Dialogues are still analysed, utterances are classified as speech acts and their semantic relationships are qualitatively assessed. Subjectivity of human analysis is minimised using a new method of discourse analysis that employs a formal ontology. The ontology is stated in higher-order logic making the annotation of the corpus more objective, formal and repeatable than prior research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-618
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • corpus
  • court interpreting
  • Hong Kong
  • ontology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this