A system and method of the present invention for determining and maintaining dialog focus in a conversational speech system includes presenting a command associated with an application to a dialog manager. The application associated with the command is unknown to the dialog manager at the time it is made. The dialog manager determines a current context of the command by reviewing a multi-modal history of events. At least one method is determined responsive to the command based on the current context. The at least one method is executed responsive to the command associated with the application.