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Title: The acquisition and modelling of lexical knowledge : a corpus-based investigation of systematic polysemy
Author: Lapata, Maria
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis deals with the acquisition and probabilistic modelling of lexical knowledge. A considerable body of work in lexical semantics concentrates on describing and representing systematic polysemy, i.e., the regular and predictable meaning alternations certain classes of words are subject to. Although the prevalence of the phenomenon has been long recognized, systematic empirical studies of regular polysemy are largely absent, both with respect to the acquisition of systematic polysemous lexical units and the disambiguation of their meaning. The present thesis addresses both tasks. First, we use insights from linguistic theory to guide and structure the acquisition of systematically polysemous units from domain independent wide-coverage text. Second, we constrain ambiguity by developing a probabilistic framework which provides a ranking on the range of meanings for systematically polysemous words in the absence of discourse context. We focus on meaning alternations with syntactic effects and exploit the correspondence between meaning and syntax to inform the acquisition process. The acquired information is useful for empirically testing and validating linguistic generalizations, extending their coverage and quantifying the degree to which they are productive. We acquire lexical semantic information automatically using partial parsing and a heuristic approach which exploits fixed correspondences between surface syntactic cues and lexical meaning. We demonstrate the generality of our proposal by applying it to verbs and their complements, adjective-noun combinations, and noun-noun compounds. For each phenomenon we rely on insights from linguistic theory: for verbs we exploit Levin's (1993) influential classification of verbs on the basis of their meaning and syntactic behaviour; for compound nouns we make use of Levi's (1978) classification of semantic relations, and finally we look at Vendler's (1968) and Pustejovsky's (1995) generalizations about adjectival meaning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available