AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fifth International FLAIRS Conference

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Automatic Coherence Profile in Public Speeches of Three Latin American Heads-of-State
René Venegas

Last modified: 2012-05-16


Different studies provide evidence that the computational psycholinguistic algorithm called Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) allows measuring local and global coherence in texts similarly to human evaluation (Foltz, Kintsch, Landauer 1998; McNamara, Cai & Louwerse 2007; McCarthy, Briner, Rus, & McNamara, 2007; McNamara, Louwerse & Jeuniaux 2009; Louwerse, McCarthy & Graesser 2010). The texts used in all these studies are written in English and correspond to scientific and literary texts. In Spanish, there are some studies using LSA that measure the semantic similarity between texts in automatic summary assessment (Pérez, Alfonseca, Rodríguez, Gliozzo, Strapparava & Magnini 2005; León, Olmos, Escudero, Cañas & Salmerón 2006; Venegas 2007, 2009, 2011); however, automatic measurement of coherence in Spanish has not yet been sufficiently investigated. The present study aimed at identifying a global and local coherence profile in a corpus of speeches in Spanish of three Latin American Heads-of-States (Perón, Castro and Pinochet), using Latent Semantic Analysis. Local coherence is calculated through the measurement of implicit semantic similarity between adjacent sentences and global coherence through the measurement of the similarity among the semantic content of the paragraphs. The corpus under analysis corresponds to a sample of 107 speeches. The semantic space was built using a multi-register corpus and it is available through the “Interface for the measurement of lexical-semantic similarity” in the El Grial interface ( Results showed a systematic difference between the speeches of the Heads-of-State in terms of both local and global coherence. The Bonferroni analysis established an effect that distinguishes Perón’s speeches from Pinochet’s and Castro’s speeches. This results show that Perón’s speeches are more topically related than the other leaders’, probably due to a discourse strategy to persuade voters. The identification of a profile of coherence might be relevant to predict cues of government discourse styles.


LSA; coherence; cohesion; authoritarism

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