Language resource management -- Semantic annotation framework (SemAF)

This document provides a set of empirically and theoretically well-motivated concepts for dialogue annotation, a formal language for expressing dialogue annotations (the Dialogue Act Markup Language, DiAML), and a method for segmenting a dialogue into semantic units. This allows the manual or automatic annotation of dialogue segments with information about the communicative actions which the participants perform by their contributions to the dialogue. The annotation scheme specified in this document supports multidimensional annotation of spoken, written, and multimodal dialogues involving two or more participants. Dialogue units are viewed as having multiple communicative functions in different dimensions. The markup language DiAML has an XML-based representation format and a formal semantics which makes it possible to perform inferences with DiAML representations. This document also specifies data categories for dimensions of dialogue analysis, for communicative functions, for dialogue act qualifiers, and for relations between dialogue acts. Additionally, it provides mechanisms for customizing these sets of concepts, extending them with application-specific or domain-specific concepts and descriptions of semantic content, or selecting relevant coherent subsets of them. These mechanisms make the dialogue act concepts specified in this document useful not only for annotation but also for the recognition and generation of dialogue acts in interactive systems.

Gestion des ressources langagières -- Cadre d'annotation sémantique (SemAF)

Upravljanje jezikovnih virov - Ogrodje za semantično označevanje (SemAF) - 2. del: Dialogi

General Information

Status
Published
Publication Date
01-Dec-2020
Current Stage
5060 - Close of voting Proof returned by Secretariat
Start Date
21-Nov-2020
Completion Date
20-Nov-2020

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SLOVENSKI STANDARD
SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
01-junij-2021
Nadomešča:
SIST ISO 24617-2:2013
Upravljanje jezikovnih virov - Ogrodje za semantično označevanje (SemAF) - 2.
del: Dialogi
Language resource management -- Semantic annotation framework (SemAF) - Part 2:
Dialogue acts

Gestion des ressources langagières -- Cadre d'annotation sémantique (SemAF) - Partie

2: Actes de dialogue
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: ISO 24617-2:2020
ICS:
01.020 Terminologija (načela in Terminology (principles and
koordinacija) coordination)
01.140.20 Informacijske vede Information sciences
35.240.30 Uporabniške rešitve IT v IT applications in information,
informatiki, dokumentiranju in documentation and
založništvu publishing
SIST ISO 24617-2:2021 en

2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 24617-2
Second edition
2020-12
Language resource management —
Semantic annotation framework
(SemAF) —
Part 2:
Dialogue acts
Gestion des ressources langagières — Cadre d'annotation sémantique
(SemAF) —
Partie 2: Actes de dialogue
Reference number
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2020

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Use cases ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

5 Basic concepts and metamodel ............................................................................................................................................................. 6

5.1 Dialogue acts ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 6

5.2 Dependence relations ....................................................................................................................................................................... 8

5.3 Rhetorical relations............................................................................................................................................................................. 9

5.4 Qualifiers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................11

5.5 Metamodel ...............................................................................................................................................................................................11

6 Multifunctionality, multidimensionality and segmentation ................................................................................11

6.1 Multifunctionality ..............................................................................................................................................................................11

6.2 Multidimensionality and dimensions ...............................................................................................................................13

6.3 Segmentation .........................................................................................................................................................................................14

7 Specification of the annotation scheme ....................................................................................................................................15

7.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2 Dimensions ..............................................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2.1 Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2.2 Task and Task Management ................................................................................................................................16

7.2.3 Auto-Feedback and Allo-Feedback ................................................................................................................16

7.2.4 Turn Management .......................................................................................................................................................16

7.2.5 Time Management .......................................................................................................................................................16

7.2.6 Discourse Structuring ...............................................................................................................................................17

7.2.7 Social Obligations Management .......................................................................................................................17

7.2.8 Own- and Partner Communication Management .............................................................................17

7.2.9 Contact Management ................................................................................................................................................17

7.3 Communicative functions ...........................................................................................................................................................17

7.3.1 Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................17

7.3.2 General-purpose functions ..................................................................................................................................19

7.3.3 Dimension-specific functions ............................................................................................................................20

7.3.4 Responsive communicative functions ........................................................................................................21

7.4 Functional and feedback dependences ...........................................................................................................................22

7.5 Qualifiers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................22

8 The Dialogue Act Markup Language (DiAML) .....................................................................................................................23

8.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................23

8.2 Abstract syntax ....................................................................................................................................................................................24

8.3 Concrete syntax ...................................................................................................................................................................................24

8.4 Semantics ..................................................................................................................................................................................................26

9 Extension and customization ...............................................................................................................................................................27

9.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................27

9.2 Simplifying the annotation scheme: options and selections ........................................................................27

9.3 Extending the annotation scheme: triple-layered plug-ins and interfaces ......................................28

Annex A (normative) Formal specification of DiAML .......................................................................................................................30

Annex B (normative) DiAML-XML technical schema.........................................................................................................................36

Annex C (normative) Data categories for DiAML concepts ........................................................................................................40

Annex D (informative) Plug-ins for semantic content and other enrichments .....................................................62

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved iii
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)

Annex E (informative) Annotation guidelines and examples ..................................................................................................73

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................92

iv © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 37, Language and terminology,

Subcommittee SC 4, Language resource management.

This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition (ISO 24617-2:2012), which has been technically

revised.
The main changes compared to the previous edition are as follows:

— in 6.2, ‘reference segments’ are introduced to allow more accurate annotations of feedback

dependence relations;

— in 6.3, a more detailed way of annotating rhetorical relations between dialogue acts is made possible

by importing concepts from ISO 24617-8:2016 (DR-core);

— in 7.2, the Contact Management dimension, known from the DIT++ annotation scheme, and the Task

Management dimension, known from the DAMSL annotation scheme, have been added, along with a

few communicative functions specific for contact management;

— in 7.5 and Annex D, a possibility is introduced for importing elements from the W3C recommendation

EmotionML in order to add affective information to dialogue acts;

— in Clause 9 and Annex D, the mechanism of ‘triple-layered annotation scheme plug-in’ with ‘plug-in

interface’ is introduced; this mechanism allows the dialogue act annotation to be customized, using

application-specific concepts, and to be enriched with semantic content information.

A list of all parts in the ISO 24617 series can be found on the ISO website.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved v
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Introduction

Since its publication in 2012, ISO 24617-2 has been used in a number of annotation efforts as well as in

the development of language-based interactive systems. These experiences have brought to light

— that the standard allowed dialogue act annotations that are slightly inaccurate in some respects,

— that some applications would benefit from the availability of mechanisms for customizing the set of

concepts defined in the standard, and

— that certain use cases require the representation of functional dialogue act information to be

extended with semantic content information.

This second edition seeks to remedy the noted inaccuracies, and to provide mechanisms

a) for customizing the set of defined concepts, and
b) for extending the information types in dialogue act annotations.

The improved accuracy of this second edition concerns the annotation of semantic dependence relations

of dialogue acts and their scopes, and of rhetorical relations between dialogue acts. The mechanisms for

extending and customizing the standard for a specific application concern most notably the annotation

of information about the (domain-specific) semantic content of dialogue acts, the introduction of

application-specific dialogue act types, the addition of communicative functions for fine-grained

specification of feedback, and the annotation of speaker emotions.

This second edition is downward compatible with the original ISO 24617-2:2012 in the sense that

every annotation made with the original version is a valid annotation according to the second edition.

Existing annotations do not need to be revised in order to be compliant with this second edition.

vi © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Language resource management — Semantic annotation
framework (SemAF) —
Part 2:
Dialogue acts
1 Scope

This document provides a set of empirically and theoretically well-motivated concepts for dialogue

annotation, a formal language for expressing dialogue annotations (the Dialogue Act Markup Language,

DiAML), and a method for segmenting a dialogue into semantic units. This allows the manual or

automatic annotation of dialogue segments with information about the communicative actions which

the participants perform by their contributions to the dialogue. The annotation scheme specified in

this document supports multidimensional annotation of spoken, written, and multimodal dialogues

involving two or more participants. Dialogue units are viewed as having multiple communicative

functions in different dimensions. The markup language DiAML has an XML-based representation format

and a formal semantics which makes it possible to perform inferences with DiAML representations.

This document also specifies data categories for dimensions of dialogue analysis, for communicative

functions, for dialogue act qualifiers, and for relations between dialogue acts. Additionally, it provides

mechanisms for customizing these sets of concepts, extending them with application-specific or

domain-specific concepts and descriptions of semantic content, or selecting relevant coherent subsets

of them. These mechanisms make the dialogue act concepts specified in this document useful not only

for annotation but also for the recognition and generation of dialogue acts in interactive systems.

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
addressee

dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) oriented to by the sender (3.20) in a manner to suggest that his/her

utterances (3.25) are particularly intended for this participant, and that some response is therefore

anticipated from this participant, more so than from the other participants

Note 1 to entry: This definition is a de facto standard in the linguistics literature.

[SOURCE: Reference [34], modified - ‘speaker' replaced by ‘sender', and use of ambiguous pronouns

avoided.]
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 1
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.2
allo-feedback act

feedback act (3.8) where the sender (3.20) elicits information about the addressee's (3.1) processing

of an utterance (3.25) that the sender contributed to the dialogue (3.5), or where the sender provides

information about his perceived processing by the addressee of an utterance that the sender contributed

to the dialogue
EXAMPLE 1. A: Now move up.
2. B: Slightly northeast you mean?
3. A: Slightly yeah

With utterance 3, A performs an allo-feedback act signalling that he/she thinks B understood utterance 1

correctly.
3.3
auto-feedback act

feedback act (3.8) where the sender (3.20) provides information about his/her own processing of an

utterance (3.25) contributed to the dialogue (3.5) by another participant (3.13)

EXAMPLE B's utterance in the example dialogue fragment in 3.2 signals that he/she is uncertain whether

he/she understood the previous utterance correctly.
3.4
communicative function

property of certain stretches of communicative behaviour, describing how the behaviour changes the

information state (3.12) of an understander of the behaviour
3.5
dialogue
exchange of utterances (3.25) between two or more persons or artificial agents
3.6
dialogue act

communicative activity of a dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13), interpreted as having a certain

communicative function (3.4) and semantic content (3.18)

Note 1 to entry: A dialogue act can additionally also have certain functional dependence relations (3.10), rhetorical

relations (3.17) and feedback dependence relations (3.9) with other units in a dialogue.

3.7
dimension

class of dialogue acts (3.6) that are concerned with a particular aspect of communication, corresponding

to a particular category of semantic content (3.18)

EXAMPLE (1) Dialogue acts advancing the task or activity that motivates the dialogue (the ‘Task' dimension);

(2) dialogue acts providing and eliciting feedback (the Auto- and Allo-Feedback dimensions); (3) dialogue acts for

allocating the speaker role (the Turn Management dimension).
3.8
feedback act

dialogue act (3.6) that provides or elicits information about the sender's (3.20) or the addressee's (3.1)

processing of something that was uttered in the dialogue (3.5)

Note 1 to entry: Two classes of feedback are distinguished: allo-feedback acts (3.2) and auto-feedback acts (3.3).

2 © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.9
feedback dependence relation

relation between a feedback act (3.8) and the stretch of communicative behaviour the processing of

which the act provides or elicits information about

EXAMPLE In the example in 3.2, both the allo-feedback act expressed by utterance 3 and the auto-feedback

act expressed by utterance 2 have a feedback dependence relation to utterance 1.

Note 1 to entry: Feedback dependence relations are also used to relate self-corrections, partner corrections, and

other speech editing acts, which strictly speaking are not feedback acts, to the segments that they apply to.

3.10
functional dependence relation

relation between a dialogue act (3.6) with a responsive communicative function (3.16) and one or more

previous dialogue acts that it responds to

EXAMPLE The relation between an answer and the corresponding question, such as between utterance 3 and

utterance 2 in the example in 3.2; or the relation between the acceptance of an offer and the corresponding offer.

3.11
functional segment

minimal stretch of communicative behaviour that has one or more communicative functions (3.4)

Note 1 to entry: The condition of being ‘minimal' ensures that functional segments do not include material that

does not contribute to the expression of a communicative function that identifies the segment.

EXAMPLE The functional segment corresponding to the answer given by S in the following dialogue

fragment does not include the parts "Just a moment please" and “.... let me see..." but only the parts “the first train to

the airport on Sunday morning is" and “at 5:45”.
1. U: What time is the first train to the airport on Sunday morning please?

2. S: Just a moment please... the first train to the airport on Sunday morning is .... let me see... at 5:45.

Note 2 to entry: A consequence of this definition is that functional segments can be discontinuous, can overlap or

be embedded, and can contain parts from more than one turn.
3.12
information state
context

totality of a dialogue (3.5) participant's (3.13) beliefs, assumptions, expectations, goals, preferences,

hopes, and other attitudes that may influence the participant's interpretation and generation of

communicative behaviour
3.13
participant
person or artificial agent involved in the exchange of utterances (3.25)
3.14
qualifier
predicate that can be associated with a communicative function (3.4)
EXAMPLE A: Would you like to have some coffee?
B: Only if you have it ready.

B's utterance accepts A's offer under a certain condition; this can be described by qualifying the communicative

function Accept Offer with the predicate ‘conditional'.
3.15
reference segment

stretch of communicative behaviour that a feedback dependence relation (3.9) refers to and that is not a

functional segment (3.11)
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 3
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.16
responsive communicative function

communicative function (3.4) of a dialogue act (3.6) that depends for its semantic content (3.18) on one or

more dialogue acts that it responds to
Note 1 to entry: See 5.2.

Note 2 to entry: In 7.3.4, the set of responsive communicative functions is listed of the annotation scheme defined

in this document.
3.17
rhetorical relation
discourse relation

semantic or pragmatic relation between two dialogue acts (3.6) or their semantic contents (3.18)

Note 1 to entry: Relations such as elaboration, explanation, justification, cause, and concession have been studied

extensively in the analysis of (monologue) text, where they are often called ‘rhetorical relations' or ‘discourse

relations', and are mostly viewed either as relations between text segments or as relations between events or

propositions, described in text segments. Many of these relations also occur in dialogue (3.5).

EXAMPLE 1 In the following example, the statement in the second utterance provides a motivation for the

question in the first utterance:

A: Can you tell me what flights there are to Sydney on Saturday? I’d like to attend my mother's 80th birthday.

EXAMPLE 2 A rhetorical relation between the semantic contents of two dialogue act occurs in the following,

where the content of B's statement mentions a cause for the content of A's statement:

A: I can never find these stupid remote controls.
B: That's because they don’t have a fixed location.
3.18
semantic content

information, situation, action, event, or objects that a stretch of communicative behaviour refers to

3.19
semantic content category
semantic content type
type of the semantic content (3.18) of a dialogue act (3.6)

EXAMPLE The various dimensions (3.7) defined in this document correspond to categories of semantic

content. In particular, the Task dimension corresponds to the category of task-specific actions and information;

the Allo- and Auto-Feedback dimensions correspond to the categories of information about the processing by

the current speaker or by the addressee, respectively, of something that was said before; the Turn Management

dimension corresponds to the category of information about the allocation of the speaker role, and so forth.

3.20
sender
dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) who performs a dialogue act (3.6)
3.21
speaker

sender (3.20) of a dialogue act (3.6) in spoken form, possibly combining speech with nonverbal

communicative behaviour

Note 1 to entry: A dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) can contribute to a dialogue without having the speaker role

(3.22), for example by nodding in agreement to what the other participant says. Therefore, the term ‘speaker' is

not synonymous with ‘participant who occupies speaker role'.
4 © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
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SIST ISO 24617-2:2021
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.22
speaker role

role occupied by a participant (3.13) who has temporary control of a dialogue (3.5) and speaks for some

period of time
[SOURCE: DAMSL annotation scheme (see Reference [3]).]
3.23
speech act
act that a speaker (3.21) performs when producing an utterance (3.25)

Note 1 to entry: The notion ‘utterance’ in this definition is commonly interpreted as mentioned in Note 1 to entry

of 3.25.

[SOURCE: SIL Glossary of linguistic terms (https:// glossary .sil .org/ term/ speech -act), modified - Added

Note 1 to entry.]
3.24
turn unit

stretch of communicative activity produced by one participant (3.13) who occupies the speaker role

(3.22), bounded by periods of inactivity of that sender (3.20) or by periods where another participant

occupies the speaker role

Note 1 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ corresponds to one of the meanings of the often used term ‘turn’, which is

ambiguous between ‘turn unit’ and ‘right to speak”, as in “to have the turn” and “turn-taking”. The term ‘turn’ is

only used in this document when the context makes it clear in what sense the term is meant.

Note 2 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ is also closely related to the term ‘turn construction unit’ (TCU), introduced

by Reference [51]. The TCU seems a rather intuitive and holistic notion, of which the usefulness has been the

subject of debate (see e.g. Reference [52]). The term is therefore avoided in this document.

Note 3 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ is useful in the description of dialogue (3.5) behaviour, but is not of central

importance in this document, since dialogue acts (3.6) are not assumed to correspond to turn units.

3.25
utterance

anything said, written, keyed, signed, or otherwise expressed, possibly in multimodal form

Note 1 to entry: An utterance is part of a turn unit (3.24). In the literature, t

...

INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 24617-2
Second edition
2020-12
Language resource management —
Semantic annotation framework
(SemAF) —
Part 2:
Dialogue acts
Gestion des ressources langagières — Cadre d'annotation sémantique
(SemAF) —
Partie 2: Actes de dialogue
Reference number
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2020

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Use cases ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

5 Basic concepts and metamodel ............................................................................................................................................................. 6

5.1 Dialogue acts ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 6

5.2 Dependence relations ....................................................................................................................................................................... 8

5.3 Rhetorical relations............................................................................................................................................................................. 9

5.4 Qualifiers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................11

5.5 Metamodel ...............................................................................................................................................................................................11

6 Multifunctionality, multidimensionality and segmentation ................................................................................11

6.1 Multifunctionality ..............................................................................................................................................................................11

6.2 Multidimensionality and dimensions ...............................................................................................................................13

6.3 Segmentation .........................................................................................................................................................................................14

7 Specification of the annotation scheme ....................................................................................................................................15

7.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2 Dimensions ..............................................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2.1 Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2.2 Task and Task Management ................................................................................................................................16

7.2.3 Auto-Feedback and Allo-Feedback ................................................................................................................16

7.2.4 Turn Management .......................................................................................................................................................16

7.2.5 Time Management .......................................................................................................................................................16

7.2.6 Discourse Structuring ...............................................................................................................................................17

7.2.7 Social Obligations Management .......................................................................................................................17

7.2.8 Own- and Partner Communication Management .............................................................................17

7.2.9 Contact Management ................................................................................................................................................17

7.3 Communicative functions ...........................................................................................................................................................17

7.3.1 Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................17

7.3.2 General-purpose functions ..................................................................................................................................19

7.3.3 Dimension-specific functions ............................................................................................................................20

7.3.4 Responsive communicative functions ........................................................................................................21

7.4 Functional and feedback dependences ...........................................................................................................................22

7.5 Qualifiers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................22

8 The Dialogue Act Markup Language (DiAML) .....................................................................................................................23

8.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................23

8.2 Abstract syntax ....................................................................................................................................................................................24

8.3 Concrete syntax ...................................................................................................................................................................................24

8.4 Semantics ..................................................................................................................................................................................................26

9 Extension and customization ...............................................................................................................................................................27

9.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................27

9.2 Simplifying the annotation scheme: options and selections ........................................................................27

9.3 Extending the annotation scheme: triple-layered plug-ins and interfaces ......................................28

Annex A (normative) Formal specification of DiAML .......................................................................................................................30

Annex B (normative) DiAML-XML technical schema.........................................................................................................................36

Annex C (normative) Data categories for DiAML concepts ........................................................................................................40

Annex D (informative) Plug-ins for semantic content and other enrichments .....................................................62

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved iii
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ISO 24617-2:2020(E)

Annex E (informative) Annotation guidelines and examples ..................................................................................................73

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................92

iv © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 37, Language and terminology,

Subcommittee SC 4, Language resource management.

This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition (ISO 24617-2:2012), which has been technically

revised.
The main changes compared to the previous edition are as follows:

— in 6.2, ‘reference segments’ are introduced to allow more accurate annotations of feedback

dependence relations;

— in 6.3, a more detailed way of annotating rhetorical relations between dialogue acts is made possible

by importing concepts from ISO 24617-8:2016 (DR-core);

— in 7.2, the Contact Management dimension, known from the DIT++ annotation scheme, and the Task

Management dimension, known from the DAMSL annotation scheme, have been added, along with a

few communicative functions specific for contact management;

— in 7.5 and Annex D, a possibility is introduced for importing elements from the W3C recommendation

EmotionML in order to add affective information to dialogue acts;

— in Clause 9 and Annex D, the mechanism of ‘triple-layered annotation scheme plug-in’ with ‘plug-in

interface’ is introduced; this mechanism allows the dialogue act annotation to be customized, using

application-specific concepts, and to be enriched with semantic content information.

A list of all parts in the ISO 24617 series can be found on the ISO website.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Introduction

Since its publication in 2012, ISO 24617-2 has been used in a number of annotation efforts as well as in

the development of language-based interactive systems. These experiences have brought to light

— that the standard allowed dialogue act annotations that are slightly inaccurate in some respects,

— that some applications would benefit from the availability of mechanisms for customizing the set of

concepts defined in the standard, and

— that certain use cases require the representation of functional dialogue act information to be

extended with semantic content information.

This second edition seeks to remedy the noted inaccuracies, and to provide mechanisms

a) for customizing the set of defined concepts, and
b) for extending the information types in dialogue act annotations.

The improved accuracy of this second edition concerns the annotation of semantic dependence relations

of dialogue acts and their scopes, and of rhetorical relations between dialogue acts. The mechanisms for

extending and customizing the standard for a specific application concern most notably the annotation

of information about the (domain-specific) semantic content of dialogue acts, the introduction of

application-specific dialogue act types, the addition of communicative functions for fine-grained

specification of feedback, and the annotation of speaker emotions.

This second edition is downward compatible with the original ISO 24617-2:2012 in the sense that

every annotation made with the original version is a valid annotation according to the second edition.

Existing annotations do not need to be revised in order to be compliant with this second edition.

vi © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
Language resource management — Semantic annotation
framework (SemAF) —
Part 2:
Dialogue acts
1 Scope

This document provides a set of empirically and theoretically well-motivated concepts for dialogue

annotation, a formal language for expressing dialogue annotations (the Dialogue Act Markup Language,

DiAML), and a method for segmenting a dialogue into semantic units. This allows the manual or

automatic annotation of dialogue segments with information about the communicative actions which

the participants perform by their contributions to the dialogue. The annotation scheme specified in

this document supports multidimensional annotation of spoken, written, and multimodal dialogues

involving two or more participants. Dialogue units are viewed as having multiple communicative

functions in different dimensions. The markup language DiAML has an XML-based representation format

and a formal semantics which makes it possible to perform inferences with DiAML representations.

This document also specifies data categories for dimensions of dialogue analysis, for communicative

functions, for dialogue act qualifiers, and for relations between dialogue acts. Additionally, it provides

mechanisms for customizing these sets of concepts, extending them with application-specific or

domain-specific concepts and descriptions of semantic content, or selecting relevant coherent subsets

of them. These mechanisms make the dialogue act concepts specified in this document useful not only

for annotation but also for the recognition and generation of dialogue acts in interactive systems.

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
addressee

dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) oriented to by the sender (3.20) in a manner to suggest that his/her

utterances (3.25) are particularly intended for this participant, and that some response is therefore

anticipated from this participant, more so than from the other participants

Note 1 to entry: This definition is a de facto standard in the linguistics literature.

[SOURCE: Reference [34], modified - ‘speaker' replaced by ‘sender', and use of ambiguous pronouns

avoided.]
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 1
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.2
allo-feedback act

feedback act (3.8) where the sender (3.20) elicits information about the addressee's (3.1) processing

of an utterance (3.25) that the sender contributed to the dialogue (3.5), or where the sender provides

information about his perceived processing by the addressee of an utterance that the sender contributed

to the dialogue
EXAMPLE 1. A: Now move up.
2. B: Slightly northeast you mean?
3. A: Slightly yeah

With utterance 3, A performs an allo-feedback act signalling that he/she thinks B understood utterance 1

correctly.
3.3
auto-feedback act

feedback act (3.8) where the sender (3.20) provides information about his/her own processing of an

utterance (3.25) contributed to the dialogue (3.5) by another participant (3.13)

EXAMPLE B's utterance in the example dialogue fragment in 3.2 signals that he/she is uncertain whether

he/she understood the previous utterance correctly.
3.4
communicative function

property of certain stretches of communicative behaviour, describing how the behaviour changes the

information state (3.12) of an understander of the behaviour
3.5
dialogue
exchange of utterances (3.25) between two or more persons or artificial agents
3.6
dialogue act

communicative activity of a dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13), interpreted as having a certain

communicative function (3.4) and semantic content (3.18)

Note 1 to entry: A dialogue act can additionally also have certain functional dependence relations (3.10), rhetorical

relations (3.17) and feedback dependence relations (3.9) with other units in a dialogue.

3.7
dimension

class of dialogue acts (3.6) that are concerned with a particular aspect of communication, corresponding

to a particular category of semantic content (3.18)

EXAMPLE (1) Dialogue acts advancing the task or activity that motivates the dialogue (the ‘Task' dimension);

(2) dialogue acts providing and eliciting feedback (the Auto- and Allo-Feedback dimensions); (3) dialogue acts for

allocating the speaker role (the Turn Management dimension).
3.8
feedback act

dialogue act (3.6) that provides or elicits information about the sender's (3.20) or the addressee's (3.1)

processing of something that was uttered in the dialogue (3.5)

Note 1 to entry: Two classes of feedback are distinguished: allo-feedback acts (3.2) and auto-feedback acts (3.3).

2 © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 8 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.9
feedback dependence relation

relation between a feedback act (3.8) and the stretch of communicative behaviour the processing of

which the act provides or elicits information about

EXAMPLE In the example in 3.2, both the allo-feedback act expressed by utterance 3 and the auto-feedback

act expressed by utterance 2 have a feedback dependence relation to utterance 1.

Note 1 to entry: Feedback dependence relations are also used to relate self-corrections, partner corrections, and

other speech editing acts, which strictly speaking are not feedback acts, to the segments that they apply to.

3.10
functional dependence relation

relation between a dialogue act (3.6) with a responsive communicative function (3.16) and one or more

previous dialogue acts that it responds to

EXAMPLE The relation between an answer and the corresponding question, such as between utterance 3 and

utterance 2 in the example in 3.2; or the relation between the acceptance of an offer and the corresponding offer.

3.11
functional segment

minimal stretch of communicative behaviour that has one or more communicative functions (3.4)

Note 1 to entry: The condition of being ‘minimal' ensures that functional segments do not include material that

does not contribute to the expression of a communicative function that identifies the segment.

EXAMPLE The functional segment corresponding to the answer given by S in the following dialogue

fragment does not include the parts "Just a moment please" and “.... let me see..." but only the parts “the first train to

the airport on Sunday morning is" and “at 5:45”.
1. U: What time is the first train to the airport on Sunday morning please?

2. S: Just a moment please... the first train to the airport on Sunday morning is .... let me see... at 5:45.

Note 2 to entry: A consequence of this definition is that functional segments can be discontinuous, can overlap or

be embedded, and can contain parts from more than one turn.
3.12
information state
context

totality of a dialogue (3.5) participant's (3.13) beliefs, assumptions, expectations, goals, preferences,

hopes, and other attitudes that may influence the participant's interpretation and generation of

communicative behaviour
3.13
participant
person or artificial agent involved in the exchange of utterances (3.25)
3.14
qualifier
predicate that can be associated with a communicative function (3.4)
EXAMPLE A: Would you like to have some coffee?
B: Only if you have it ready.

B's utterance accepts A's offer under a certain condition; this can be described by qualifying the communicative

function Accept Offer with the predicate ‘conditional'.
3.15
reference segment

stretch of communicative behaviour that a feedback dependence relation (3.9) refers to and that is not a

functional segment (3.11)
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 3
---------------------- Page: 9 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.16
responsive communicative function

communicative function (3.4) of a dialogue act (3.6) that depends for its semantic content (3.18) on one or

more dialogue acts that it responds to
Note 1 to entry: See 5.2.

Note 2 to entry: In 7.3.4, the set of responsive communicative functions is listed of the annotation scheme defined

in this document.
3.17
rhetorical relation
discourse relation

semantic or pragmatic relation between two dialogue acts (3.6) or their semantic contents (3.18)

Note 1 to entry: Relations such as elaboration, explanation, justification, cause, and concession have been studied

extensively in the analysis of (monologue) text, where they are often called ‘rhetorical relations' or ‘discourse

relations', and are mostly viewed either as relations between text segments or as relations between events or

propositions, described in text segments. Many of these relations also occur in dialogue (3.5).

EXAMPLE 1 In the following example, the statement in the second utterance provides a motivation for the

question in the first utterance:

A: Can you tell me what flights there are to Sydney on Saturday? I’d like to attend my mother's 80th birthday.

EXAMPLE 2 A rhetorical relation between the semantic contents of two dialogue act occurs in the following,

where the content of B's statement mentions a cause for the content of A's statement:

A: I can never find these stupid remote controls.
B: That's because they don’t have a fixed location.
3.18
semantic content

information, situation, action, event, or objects that a stretch of communicative behaviour refers to

3.19
semantic content category
semantic content type
type of the semantic content (3.18) of a dialogue act (3.6)

EXAMPLE The various dimensions (3.7) defined in this document correspond to categories of semantic

content. In particular, the Task dimension corresponds to the category of task-specific actions and information;

the Allo- and Auto-Feedback dimensions correspond to the categories of information about the processing by

the current speaker or by the addressee, respectively, of something that was said before; the Turn Management

dimension corresponds to the category of information about the allocation of the speaker role, and so forth.

3.20
sender
dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) who performs a dialogue act (3.6)
3.21
speaker

sender (3.20) of a dialogue act (3.6) in spoken form, possibly combining speech with nonverbal

communicative behaviour

Note 1 to entry: A dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) can contribute to a dialogue without having the speaker role

(3.22), for example by nodding in agreement to what the other participant says. Therefore, the term ‘speaker' is

not synonymous with ‘participant who occupies speaker role'.
4 © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 10 ----------------------
ISO 24617-2:2020(E)
3.22
speaker role

role occupied by a participant (3.13) who has temporary control of a dialogue (3.5) and speaks for some

period of time
[SOURCE: DAMSL annotation scheme (see Reference [3]).]
3.23
speech act
act that a speaker (3.21) performs when producing an utterance (3.25)

Note 1 to entry: The notion ‘utterance’ in this definition is commonly interpreted as mentioned in Note 1 to entry

of 3.25.

[SOURCE: SIL Glossary of linguistic terms (https:// glossary .sil .org/ term/ speech -act), modified - Added

Note 1 to entry.]
3.24
turn unit

stretch of communicative activity produced by one participant (3.13) who occupies the speaker role

(3.22), bounded by periods of inactivity of that sender (3.20) or by periods where another participant

occupies the speaker role

Note 1 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ corresponds to one of the meanings of the often used term ‘turn’, which is

ambiguous between ‘turn unit’ and ‘right to speak”, as in “to have the turn” and “turn-taking”. The term ‘turn’ is

only used in this document when the context makes it clear in what sense the term is meant.

Note 2 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ is also closely related to the term ‘turn construction unit’ (TCU), introduced

by Reference [51]. The TCU seems a rather intuitive and holistic notion, of which the usefulness has been the

subject of debate (see e.g. Reference [52]). The term is therefore avoided in this document.

Note 3 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ is useful in the description of dialogue (3.5) behaviour, but is not of central

importance in this document, since dialogue acts (3.6) are not assumed to correspond to turn units.

3.25
utterance

anything said, written, keyed, signed, or otherwise expressed, possibly in multimodal form

Note 1 to entry: An utterance is part of a turn unit (3.24). In the literature, the term is commonly used in the sense

of ‘everything contributed by a sender (3.20) within a turn unit’.

Note 2 to entry: The term ‘utterance’ is useful in the description of dialogue (3.5) behaviour, but is not of central

importance in this standard, since dialogue acts (3.6) are not assumed to correspond to utterances, but rather to

the communicative behaviour in functional segments (3.11).
4 Use cases

The notion of a dialogue act plays a key role in the analysis of spoken and multimodal dialogue, as well

as in the design of spoken dialogue systems and embodied conversational agents. These applications

all depend on the availability of dialogue corpora, annotated with dialogue act information. The main

purpose of this document is to define a reference set of domain-independent basic concepts for dialogue

act annotation, and their use for representing such annotations, in the Dialogue Act Markup Language

(DiAML). The set of concepts defined in ISO 24617-2:2012 was based on the DIT++ taxonomy, which was

originally developed to serve a double purpose: the articulate functional description of communicative

activity in natural human dialogue, and a basis for the design of modules in dialogue systems. As part of

...

FINAL
INTERNATIONAL ISO/FDIS
DRAFT
STANDARD 24617-2
ISO/TC 37/SC 4
Language resource management —
Secretariat: KATS
Semantic annotation framework
Voting begins on:
2020-09-25 (SemAF) —
Voting terminates on:
Part 2:
2020-11-20
Dialogue acts
Gestion des ressources langagières — Cadre d'annotation sémantique
(SemAF) —
Partie 2: Actes de dialogue
RECIPIENTS OF THIS DRAFT ARE INVITED TO
SUBMIT, WITH THEIR COMMENTS, NOTIFICATION
OF ANY RELEVANT PATENT RIGHTS OF WHICH
THEY ARE AWARE AND TO PROVIDE SUPPOR TING
DOCUMENTATION.
IN ADDITION TO THEIR EVALUATION AS
Reference number
BEING ACCEPTABLE FOR INDUSTRIAL, TECHNO-
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
LOGICAL, COMMERCIAL AND USER PURPOSES,
DRAFT INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS MAY ON
OCCASION HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE
LIGHT OF THEIR POTENTIAL TO BECOME STAN-
DARDS TO WHICH REFERENCE MAY BE MADE IN
NATIONAL REGULATIONS. ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2020

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Use cases ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

5 Basic concepts and metamodel ............................................................................................................................................................. 6

5.1 Dialogue acts ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 6

5.2 Dependence relations ....................................................................................................................................................................... 8

5.3 Rhetorical relations............................................................................................................................................................................. 9

5.4 Qualifiers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................11

5.5 Metamodel ...............................................................................................................................................................................................11

6 Multifunctionality, segmentation and multidimensionality ................................................................................11

6.1 Multifunctionality ..............................................................................................................................................................................11

6.2 Multidimensionality and dimensions ...............................................................................................................................13

6.3 Segmentation .........................................................................................................................................................................................14

7 Specification of the annotation scheme ....................................................................................................................................15

7.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2 Dimensions ..............................................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2.1 Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................15

7.2.2 Task and Task Management ................................................................................................................................16

7.2.3 Auto-Feedback and Allo-Feedback ................................................................................................................16

7.2.4 Turn Management .......................................................................................................................................................16

7.2.5 Time Management .......................................................................................................................................................16

7.2.6 Discourse Structuring ...............................................................................................................................................17

7.2.7 Social Obligations Management .......................................................................................................................17

7.2.8 Own- and Partner Communication Management .............................................................................17

7.2.9 Contact Management ................................................................................................................................................17

7.3 Communicative functions ...........................................................................................................................................................17

7.3.1 Overview ..............................................................................................................................................................................17

7.3.2 General-purpose functions ..................................................................................................................................19

7.3.3 Dimension-specific functions ............................................................................................................................20

7.3.4 Responsive communicative functions ........................................................................................................21

7.4 Functional and feedback dependences ...........................................................................................................................22

7.5 Qualifiers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................22

8 The Dialogue Act Markup Language (DiAML) .....................................................................................................................23

8.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................23

8.2 Abstract syntax ....................................................................................................................................................................................24

8.3 Concrete syntax ...................................................................................................................................................................................24

8.4 Semantics ..................................................................................................................................................................................................26

9 Extension and customization ...............................................................................................................................................................27

9.1 Overview ...................................................................................................................................................................................................27

9.2 Simplifying the annotation scheme: options and selections ........................................................................27

9.3 Extending the annotation scheme: triple-layered plug-ins and interfaces ......................................28

Annex A (normative) Formal specification of DiAML .......................................................................................................................30

Annex B (normative) DiAML-XML technical schema.........................................................................................................................36

Annex C (normative) Data categories for DiAML concepts ........................................................................................................40

Annex D (informative) Plug-ins for semantic content and other enrichments .....................................................62

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)

Annex E (informative) Annotation guidelines and examples ..................................................................................................73

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................92

iv © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 37, Language and terminology,

Subcommittee SC 4, Language resource management.

This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition (ISO 24617-2:2012), which has been technically

revised.
The main changes compared to the previous edition are as follows:

— in 6.2, ‘reference segments’ are introduced to allow more accurate annotations of feedback

dependence relations;

— in 6.3, a more detailed way of annotating rhetorical relations between dialogue acts is made possible

by importing concepts from ISO 24617-8:2016 (DR-core);

— in 7.2, the Contact Management dimension, known from the DIT++ annotation scheme, and the Task

Management dimension, known from the DAMSL annotation scheme, have been added, along with a

few communicative functions specific for contact management;

— in 7.5 and Annex D, a possibility is introduced for importing elements from the W3C recommendation

EmotionML in order to add affective information to dialogue acts;

— in Clause 9 and Annex D, the mechanism of ‘triple-layered annotation scheme plug-in’ with ‘plug-in

interface’ is introduced; this mechanism allows the dialogue act annotation to be customized, using

application-specific concepts, and to be enriched with semantic content information.

A list of all parts in the ISO 24617 series can be found on the ISO website.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
Introduction

Since its publication in 2012, ISO 24617-2 has been used in a number of annotation efforts as well as in

the development of language-based interactive systems. These experiences have brought to light

— that the standard allowed dialogue act annotations that are slightly inaccurate in some respects,

— that some applications would benefit from the availability of mechanisms for customizing the set of

concepts defined in the standard, and

— that certain use cases require the representation of functional dialogue act information to be

extended with semantic content information.

This second edition seeks to remedy the noted inaccuracies, and to provide mechanisms

a) for customizing the set of defined concepts, and
b) for extending the information types in dialogue act annotations.

The improved accuracy of this second edition concerns the annotation of semantic dependence relations

of dialogue acts and their scopes, and of rhetorical relations between dialogue acts. The mechanisms for

extending and customizing the standard for a specific application concern most notably the annotation

of information about the (domain-specific) semantic content of dialogue acts, the introduction of

application-specific dialogue act types, the addition of communicative functions for fine-grained

specification of feedback, and the annotation of speaker emotions.

This second edition is downward compatible with the original ISO 24617-2:2012 in the sense that

every annotation made with the original version is a valid annotation according to the second edition.

Existing annotations do not need to be revised in order to be compliant with this second edition.

vi © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
FINAL DRAFT INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
Language resource management — Semantic annotation
framework (SemAF) —
Part 2:
Dialogue acts
1 Scope

This document provides a set of empirically and theoretically well-motivated concepts for dialogue

annotation, a formal language for expressing dialogue annotations (the Dialogue Act Markup Language,

DiAML), and a method for segmenting a dialogue into semantic units. This allows the manual or

automatic annotation of dialogue segments with information about the communicative actions which

the participants perform by their contributions to the dialogue. The annotation scheme specified in

this document supports multidimensional annotation of spoken, written, and multimodal dialogues

involving two or more participants. Dialogue units are viewed as having multiple communicative

functions in different dimensions. The markup language DiAML has an XML-based representation format

and a formal semantics which makes it possible to perform inferences with DiAML representations.

This document also specifies data categories for dimensions of dialogue analysis, for communicative

functions, for dialogue act qualifiers, and for relations between dialogue acts. Additionally, it provides

mechanisms for customizing these sets of concepts, extending them with application-specific or

domain-specific concepts and descriptions of semantic content, or selecting relevant coherent subsets

of them. These mechanisms make the dialogue act concepts specified in this document useful not only

for annotation but also for the recognition and generation of dialogue acts in interactive systems.

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
addressee

dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) oriented to by the sender (3.20) in a manner to suggest that his/her

utterances (3.25) are particularly intended for this participant, and that some response is therefore

anticipated from this participant, more so than from the other participants

Note 1 to entry: This definition is a de facto standard in the linguistics literature.

[SOURCE: Reference [34], modified - ‘speaker' replaced by ‘sender', and use of ambiguous pronouns

avoided.]
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 1
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 24617-2:2020(E)
3.2
allo-feedback act

feedback act (3.8) where the sender (3.20) elicits information about the addressee's (3.1) processing

of an utterance (3.25) that the sender contributed to the dialogue (3.5), or where the sender provides

information about his perceived processing by the addressee of an utterance that the sender contributed

to the dialogue
EXAMPLE 1. A: Now move up.
2. B: Slightly northeast you mean?
3. A: Slightly yeah

With utterance 3, A performs an allo-feedback act signalling that he/she thinks B understood utterance 1

correctly.
3.3
auto-feedback act

feedback act (3.8) where the sender (3.20) provides information about his/her own processing of an

utterance (3.25) contributed to the dialogue (3.5) by another participant (3.13)

EXAMPLE B's utterance in the example dialogue fragment in (3.2) signals that he/she is uncertain whether

he/she understood the previous utterance correctly.
3.4
communicative function

property of certain stretches of communicative behaviour, describing how the behaviour changes the

information state (3.12) of an understander of the behaviour
3.5
dialogue
exchange of utterances (3.25) between two or more persons or artificial agents
3.6
dialogue act

communicative activity of a dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13), interpreted as having a certain

communicative function (3.4) and semantic content (3.18)

Note 1 to entry: A dialogue act can additionally also have certain functional dependence relations (3.10), rhetorical

relations (3.17) and feedback dependence relations (3.9) with other units in a dialogue (3.5).

3.7
dimension

class of dialogue acts (3.6) that are concerned with a particular aspect of communication, corresponding

to a particular category of semantic content (3.18)

EXAMPLE (1) Dialogue acts advancing the task or activity that motivates the dialogue (the ‘Task' dimension);

(2) dialogue acts providing and eliciting feedback (the Auto- and Allo-Feedback dimensions); (3) dialogue acts for

allocating the speaker role (the Turn Management dimension).
3.8
feedback act

dialogue act (3.6) that provides or elicits information about the sender's (3.20) or the addressee's (3.1)

processing of something that was uttered in the dialogue (3.5)

Note 1 to entry: Two classes of feedback are distinguished: allo-feedback acts (3.2) and auto-feedback acts (3.3).

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3.9
feedback dependence relation

relation between a feedback act (3.8) and the stretch of communicative behaviour the processing of

which the act provides or elicits information about

EXAMPLE In the example in 3.2, both the allo-feedback act expressed by utterance 3 and the auto-feedback

act expressed by utterance 2 have a feedback dependence relation to utterance 1.

Note 1 to entry: Feedback dependence relations are also used to relate self-corrections, partner corrections, and

other speech editing acts, which strictly speaking are not feedback acts, to the segments that they apply to.

3.10
functional dependence relation

relation between a dialogue act (3.6) with a responsive communicative function (3.16) and one or more

previous dialogue acts that it responds to

EXAMPLE The relation between an answer and the corresponding question, such as between utterance 3 and

utterance 2 in the example in 3.2; or the relation between the acceptance of an offer and the corresponding offer.

3.11
functional segment

minimal stretch of communicative behaviour that has one or more communicative functions (3.4)

Note 1 to entry: The condition of being ‘minimal' ensures that functional segments do not include material that

does not contribute to the expression of a communicative function that identifies the segment.

EXAMPLE The functional segment corresponding to the answer given by S in the following dialogue

fragment does not include the parts "Just a moment please" and “.... let me see..." but only the parts “the first train to

the airport on Sunday morning is" and “at 5:45”.
1. U: What time is the first train to the airport on Sunday morning please?

2. S: Just a moment please... the first train to the airport on Sunday morning is .... let me see... at 5:45.

Note 2 to entry: A consequence of this definition is that functional segments can be discontinuous, can overlap or

be embedded, and can contain parts from more than one turn.
3.12
information state
context

totality of a dialogue (3.5) participant's (3.13) beliefs, assumptions, expectations, goals, preferences,

hopes, and other attitudes that may influence the participant's interpretation and generation of

communicative behaviour
3.13
participant
person or artificial agent involved in the exchange of utterances (3.25)
3.14
qualifier
predicate that can be associated with a communicative function (3.4)
EXAMPLE A: Would you like to have some coffee?
B: Only if you have it ready.

B's utterance accepts A's offer under a certain condition; this can be described by qualifying the communicative

function Accept Offer with the predicate ‘conditional'.
3.15
reference segment

stretch of communicative behaviour that a feedback dependence relation (3.9) refers to and that is not a

functional segment (3.11)
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3.16
responsive communicative function

communicative function (3.4) of a dialogue act (3.6) that depends for its semantic content (3.18) on one or

more dialogue acts (3.6) that it responds to
Note 1 to entry: See 5.2.

Note 2 to entry: In 7.3.4, the set of responsive communicative functions is listed of the annotation scheme defined

in this document.
3.17
rhetorical relation
discourse relation

semantic or pragmatic relation between two dialogue acts (3.6) or their semantic contents (3.18)

Note 1 to entry: Relations such as elaboration, explanation, justification, cause, and concession have been studied

extensively in the analysis of (monologue) text, where they are often called ‘rhetorical relations' or ‘discourse

relations', and are mostly viewed either as relations between text segments or as relations between events or

propositions, described in text segments. Many of these relations also occur in dialogue.

EXAMPLE 1 In the following example, the statement in the second utterance provides a motivation for the

question in the first utterance:

A: Can you tell me what flights there are to Sydney on Saturday? I’d like to attend my mother's 80th birthday.

EXAMPLE 2 A rhetorical relation between the semantic contents of two dialogue act occurs in the following,

where the content of B's statement mentions a cause for the content of A's statement:

A: I can never find these stupid remote controls.
B: That's because they don’t have a fixed location.
3.18
semantic content

information, situation, action, event, or objects that a stretch of communicative behaviour refers to

3.19
semantic content category
semantic content type
type of the semantic content (3.18) of a dialogue act (3.6)

EXAMPLE The various dimensions (3.7) defined in this document correspond to categories of semantic

content. In particular, the Task dimension corresponds to the category of task-specific actions and information;

the Allo- and Auto-Feedback dimensions correspond to the categories of information about the processing by

the current speaker or by the addressee, respectively, of something that was said before; the Turn Management

dimension corresponds to the category of information about the allocation of the speaker role, and so forth.

3.20
sender
dialogue (3.5) participant (3.13) who performs a dialogue act (3.6)
3.21
speaker

sender (3.20) of a dialogue act (3.6) in spoken form, possibly combining speech with nonverbal

communicative behaviour

Note 1 to entry: A dialogue participant can contribute to a dialogue without having the speaker role, for example

by nodding in agreement to what the other participant says. Therefore, the term ‘speaker' is not synonymous

with ‘participant who occupies speaker role'.
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3.22
speaker role

role occupied by a participant (3.13) who has temporary control of a dialogue (3.5) and speaks for some

period of time
[SOURCE: DAMSL annotation scheme (see Reference [3]).]
3.23
speech act
act that a speaker (3.21) performs when producing an utterance (3.25)

Note 1 to entry: The notion ‘utterance’ in this definition is commonly interpreted as mentioned in Note 1 to entry

of 3.25.

[SOURCE: SIL Glossary of linguistic terms (https:// glossary .sil .org/ term/ speech -act), modified - Added

Note 1 to entry.]
3.24
turn unit

stretch of communicative activity produced by one participant (3.13) who occupies the speaker role

(3.22), bounded by periods of inactivity of that sender or by periods where another participant occupies

the speaker role

Note 1 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ corresponds to one of the meanings of the often used term ‘turn’, which is

ambiguous between ‘turn unit’ and ‘right to speak”, as in “to have the turn” and “turn-taking”. The term ‘turn’ is

only used in this document when the context makes it clear it clear in what sense the term is meant.

Note 2 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ is also closely related to the term ‘turn construction unit’ (TCU), introduced

by Reference [51]. The TCU seems a rather intuitive and holistic notion, of which the usefulness has been the

subject of debate (see e.g. Reference [52]). The term is therefore avoided in this document.

Note 3 to entry: The term ‘turn unit’ is useful in the description of dialogue behaviour, but is not of central

importance in this document, since dialogue acts are not assumed to correspond to turn units.

3.25
utterance

anything said, written, keyed, signed, or otherwise expressed, possibly in multimodal form

Note 1 to entry: An utterance is part of a turn unit. In the literature, the term is commonly used in the sense of

‘everything contributed by a sender within a turn unit’.

Note 2 to entry: The term ‘utterance’ is useful in the description of dialogue behaviour, but is not of central

importance in this standard, since dialogue acts are not assumed to correspond to utterances, but rather to the

communicative behaviour in functional segments.
4 Use cases

The notion of a dialogue act plays a key role in the analysis of spoken and multimodal dialogue, as well

as in the design of spoken dialogue systems and embodied conversational agents. These applications

all depend on the availability of dialog
...

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