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General and specific paraphrases of semantic relations between nouns

Nulty, Paul and Costello, Fintan J. (2013) General and specific paraphrases of semantic relations between nouns. Natural Language Engineering, 19 (03). pp. 357-384. ISSN 1351-3249

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S1351324913000089

Abstract

Many English noun pairs suggest an almost limitless array of semantic interpretation. A fruit bowl might be described as a bowl for fruit, a bowl that contains fruit, a bowl for holding fruit, or even (perhaps in a modern sculpture class), a bowl made out of fruit. These interpretations vary in syntax, semantic denotation, plausibility, and level of semantic detail. For example, a headache pill is usually a pill for preventing headaches, but might, perhaps in the context of a list of side effects, be a pill that can cause headaches (Levi, J. N. 1978. The Syntax and Semantics of Complex Nominals. New York: Academic Press.). In addition to lexical ambiguity, both relational ambiguity and relational vagueness make automatic semantic interpretation of these combinations difficult. While humans parse these possibilities with ease, computational systems are only recently gaining the ability to deal with the complexity of lexical expressions of semantic relations. In this paper, we describe techniques for paraphrasing the semantic relations that can hold between nouns in a noun compound, using a semi-supervised probabilistic method to rank candidate paraphrases of semantic relations, and describing a new method for selecting plausible relational paraphrases at arbitrary levels of semantic specification. These methods are motivated by the observation that existing semantic relation classification schemes often exhibit a highly skewed class distribution, and that lexical paraphrases of semantic relations vary widely in semantic precision.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJourna...
Additional Information: © 2013 Cambridge University Press
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2013 14:59
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2014 13:56
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/51325

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