[Elsnet-list] workshop on lexical semantics at ESSLLI 2008

Marco Baroni marco.baroni at unitn.it
Wed Dec 19 16:59:04 CET 2007

Apologies for multiple postings


Distributional Lexical Semantics:
Bridging the gap between semantic theory and computational simulations

Workshop at ESSLLI 2008, Hamburg, August 4-9 2008

Workshop page:

ESSLLI 2008 page:

** Background and motivation **

Corpus-based distributional models (such as LSA or HAL) have been
claimed to capture interesting aspects of word meaning and provide an
explanation for the rapid acquisition of semantic knowledge by human
language learners. However, although these models have been proposed
as plausible simulations of human semantic space organization, careful
and extensive empirical tests of such claims are still lacking.

Systematic evaluations typically focus on large-scale quantitative
tasks, often more oriented towards engineering applications (see,
e.g., the recent SEMEVAL evaluation campaign) than towards the
challenges posed by linguistic theory, philosophy and cognitive
science. This has resulted in a great divide between corpus-driven
computational approaches to semantics on the one hand and
theory-driven symbolic approaches on the other - a situation that is
characteristic of the linguistic and of most of the cognitive
tradition. Moreover, whereas human lexical semantic competence is
obviously multi-faceted -- ranging from free association to taxonomic
judgments to relational effects -- tests of distributional models tend
to focus on a single aspect (most typically the detection of semantic
similarity), and few if any models have been tuned to tackle different
facets of semantics in an integrated manner.

Our workshop purports to fill these gaps by inviting research teams
and individual scholars to test their computational models on a
variety of small but carefully designed tasks that aim to bring out
linguistically and cognitively interesting aspects of semantics (see
below for details). To this effect, annotated datasets will be
distributed to the participants, who are encouraged to explore them
and highlight interesting aspects of their models' performance,
conduct quantitative and qualitative error analysis, etc.

** Tasks and data sets **

Small annotated data sets will be distributed to participants, who are
invited to apply their computational models and conduct a thorough
analysis of the results. The goal is not to achieve better precision
than competitors, but to understand the strengths and weaknesses of
individual models, analyze and explain errors, etc. Theoretical
discussions of the data sets from a linguistic or cognitive
perspective are also invited and will complement the empirical

Ongoing work on data set preparation can be monitored at
http://wordspace.collocations.de/doku.php/data:start. If you would
like to contribute to the data sets or participate in our discussion,
please send and expression of interest to lexsem08 at gmail.com. We would
particularly appreciate expressions of interest sent before late
January 2008. We will keep interested parties up-to-date by email.

Currently, we plan to offer the following tasks:

* categorization
- concrete nouns categorization
- abstract/concrete nouns discrimination
- verb categorization

* modelling free association
- correlation with free association norms

* generation of salient properties of concepts
- comparison with speaker-generated features

* possibly, one task to test semantic compositionality

** Important Dates (tentative) **

- Late January 2008: Data-sets available on Workshop website
- April 4, 2008: Paper submission deadline
- April 24, 2008: Notification
- August 4-9, 2008: Workshop in Hamburg (during the first week of ESSLLI)

** Programme Committee **

Marco Baroni (University of Trento) (co-organizer)
Reinhard Blutner (University of Amsterdam)
Gemma Boleda (UPF, Barcelona)
Peter Bosch (University of Osnabrück)
Paul Buitelaar (DFKI, Saarbrücken)
John Bullinaria (University of Birmingham)
Katrin Erk (UT, Austin)
Stefan Evert (University of Osnabrück) (co-organizer)
Patrick Hanks (Masaryk University, Brno)
Anna Korhonen (Cambridge University)
Michiel van Lambalgen (University of Amsterdam)
Alessandro Lenci (University of Pisa) (co-organizer)
Claudia Maienborn (University of Tübingen)
Simonetta Montemagni (ILC-CNR, Pisa)
Rainer Osswald (University of Hagen)
Manfred Pinkal (University of Saarland)
Massimo Poesio (University of Trento)
Reinhard Rapp (University of Mainz)
Magnus Sahlgren (SICS, Kista)
Sabine Schulte im Walde (University of Stuttgart)
Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam)
Suzanne Stevenson (University of Toronto)
Peter Turney (NRC Canada, Ottawa)
Tim Van de Cruys (University of Groningen)
Gabriella Vigliocco (University College, London)
Chris Westbury (University of Alberta)

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