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Academic Paper


Title: General and specific paraphrases of semantic relations between nouns
Author: Paul Nulty
Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science
Author: Fintan Costello
Institution: University College Dublin
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics
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.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Natural Language Engineering Vol. 19, Issue 3.

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