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Computation 2014, 2(3), 61-82;

Universal Dimensions of Meaning Derived from Semantic Relations among Words and Senses: Mereological Completeness vs. Ontological Generality

Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive MS 2A1, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 27 June 2014 / Published: 15 July 2014
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A key to semantic analysis is a precise and practically useful definition of meaning that is general for all domains of knowledge. We previously introduced the notion of weak semantic map: a metric space allocating concepts along their most general (universal) semantic characteristics while at the same time ignoring other, domain-specific aspects of their meanings. Here we address questions of the number, quality, and mutual independence of the weak semantic dimensions. Specifically, we employ semantic relationships not previously used for weak semantic mapping, such as holonymy/meronymy (“is-part/member-of”), and we compare maps constructed from word senses to those constructed from words. We show that the “completeness” dimension derived from the holonym/meronym relation is independent of, and practically orthogonal to, the “abstractness” dimension derived from the hypernym-hyponym (“is-a”) relation, while both dimensions are orthogonal to the maps derived from synonymy and antonymy. Interestingly, the choice of using relations among words vs. senses implies a non-trivial trade-off between rich and unambiguous information due to homonymy and polysemy. The practical utility of the new and prior dimensions is illustrated by the automated evaluation of different kinds of documents. Residual analysis of available linguistic resources, such as WordNet, suggests that the number of universal semantic dimensions representable in natural language may be finite. Their complete characterization, as well as the extension of results to non-linguistic materials, remains an open challenge. View Full-Text
Keywords: semantic space; sentiment analysis; holonyms; meronyms semantic space; sentiment analysis; holonyms; meronyms

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Samsonovich, A.V.; Ascoli, G.A. Universal Dimensions of Meaning Derived from Semantic Relations among Words and Senses: Mereological Completeness vs. Ontological Generality. Computation 2014, 2, 61-82.

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