In this article, we investigate aspects of sentential meaning that are not expressed in local predicate–argument structures. In particular, we examine instances of semantic arguments that are only inferable from discourse context. The goal of this work is to automatically acquire and process such instances, which we also refer to as implicit arguments, to improve computational models of language. As contributions towards this goal, we establish an effective framework for the difficult task of inducing implicit arguments and their antecedents in discourse and empirically demonstrate the importance of modeling this phenomenon in discourse-level tasks.
Our framework builds upon a novel projection approach that allows for the accurate detection of implicit arguments by aligning and comparing predicate–argument structures across pairs of comparable texts. As part of this framework, we develop a graph-based model for predicate alignment that significantly outperforms previous approaches. Based on such alignments, we show that implicit argument instances can be automatically induced and applied to improve a current model of linking implicit arguments in discourse. We further validate that decisions on argument realization, although being a subtle phenomenon most of the time, can considerably affect the perceived coherence of a text. Our experiments reveal that previous models of coherence are not able to predict this impact. Consequently, we develop a novel coherence model, which learns to accurately predict argument realization based on automatically aligned pairs of implicit and explicit arguments.