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Two Sources o f Cont ro l over the Generat ion o f So f tware Ins t ruct ions*

By Anthony Hart Ley


1 I n t roduct ion Our work addresses the generation of software manu-als in French and English, starting from a semantic model of the task to be documented (Paris et al., 1995). Our prime concern is to be able to exercise control over the mapping from the task model to the generated text. We set out to establish whether the task model Mone is sufficient o control the linguis-tic output of a text generation system, or whether additional control is required. In this event, an ob-vious source to explore is the communicative pur-pose of the author, which is not necessarily constant throughout a manuM. Indeed, in a typical software manual, it is possible to distinguish at least three sections, each with a different purpose: a tutorial containing exercises for new users, a series of step-by-step instructions for the major tasks to be ac-complished, and a ready-reference summary of the commands. We need, therefore, to characterise the linguis-tic expressions of the different elements of the task model, and to establish whether these expressions are sensitive or not to their context, that is, the functional section in which they appear. This pa-per presents the results of an analysis we conducted to this end on a corpus of software instructions in French. 2 Methodo logy The methodology we employed is similar to that en-dorsed by (Biber, 1995). It is summarised as follows: 1. Collect the texts and note their situational char-acteristics. We consider two such character

Year: 2016
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