[Elsnet-list] Distributional Lexical Semantics - ESSLLI 2008

Alessandro Lenci alessandro.lenci at ilc.cnr.it
Fri Feb 1 11:33:33 CET 2008

========= Call for Expressions of Interest ==========

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 are available on
the workshop page: http://wordspace.collocations.de/doku.php/data:start.
Participants 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 are available on the workshop page.  
Participants 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
If you would like to participate in our discussion,
please send an expression of interest to lexsem08 at gmail.com.
The workshop wiki is intended to provide a forum to discuss
the organization of the tasks.

We welcome expressions of interests
before the end of February 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

** 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  

** Programme Committee **

Marco Baroni (University of Trento) (co-organizer)
Reinhard Blutner (University of Amsterdam)
Gemma Boleda (UPF, Barcelona)
Peter Bosch (University of Osnabrueck)
Paul Buitelaar (DFKI, Saarbruecken)
John Bullinaria (University of Birmingham)
Katrin Erk (UT, Austin)
Stefan Evert (University of Osnabrueck) (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 Tuebingen)
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)

Alessandro Lenci

Dipartimento di Linguistica "T. Bolelli"
Universita' di Pisa
Via Santa Maria 36
56126 PISA

phone: +39-050-2215638; +39-050-3152847
fax:       +39-0502215646
cell.:     347-1636033
web:     http:// webilc.ilc.cnr.it/~lenci
skype:  alessandro.lenci

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