Local Coherence in Stream-of-consciousness Discourse: A Centering Approach
An evaluation metric comprising a battery of five-test criteria other than the standard Centering of “salience” and “cohesion” and Kibble’s version of “cohesion”, “salience”, “cheapness” and “no backward-looking center” is developed in this paper to involve “coherence”, “salience”, “cheapness”, “cohesion” and “no backward-looking center” in measuring the degree of coherence of different transition sequences in stream-of-consciousness (SOC) discourse on the premise of the distinction between coherence and cohesion. The addition of “coherence” and the distinction between lexical cohesion and cognitive and/or pragmatic coherence are crucial to the characterization of coherence in stream-of-consciousness discourse, which the Rule 2 of standard Centering cannot adequately capture. Cohesion mainly dwells upon semantic relatedness between two backward-looking centers, which can be resolved in frame semantics. Coherence cares more about relatedness between two backward-looking centers motivated by cognitive and/or pragmatic factors. In other words, two backward-looking centers may be semantically unrelated, but they strike up a relation with each other either temporarily or permanently due to cognitive and/or pragmatic factors.
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