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versão On-line ISSN 1870-9044

Polibits  no.44 México Jul./Dez. 2011


Identifying the User's Intentions: Basic Illocutions in Modern Greek


Maria Chondrogianni


Maria Chondrogianni is with the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London, W1W 6UW, UK (e–mail:


Manuscript received June 25, 2011.
Manuscript accepted for publication August 20, 2011.



This paper presents a comprehensive classification of basic illocutions in Modern Greek, extracted following the linguistic choices speakers make when they formulate an utterance, provided such choices form part of a language's grammar. Our approach lies on the interface between Morphosyntax, Pragmatics and Phonology and allows for basic illocutions to be established depending on the particular verb mood, particle, number, person, aspect and segmental marker, as well as the prosodic contour used when an utterance is realized. Our results show that Indicative uses, for example, are mostly associated with propositional illocutions, consisting of declarative uses, including assertions, miratives, and assertions in disguise; interrogative uses, including polar and content interrogatives; and behavioral illocutions i.e. exhortations (expressed in first person plural only). Secondary sentence types, (involving additional segmental marking) include requests for confirmation, wondering, expression of uncertainty and proffer. In this paper we discuss propositional uses only. Such a theoretical approach can have a direct impact on applications involving Human–Computer Interaction, including intention–based dialogue systems' modeling, natural language interfaces to Data Bases and Intelligent Agents as well as Belief, Desire and Intention systems, which require the computer to be able to interpret what a user's objective (intention) is, so that the users' needs can be best served.

Key words: Pragmatics, basic illocutions, Modern Greek.





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