Ontologies versus lexical semantics

Graeme Hirst
Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Ingår i: Proceedings of the workshop on lexical semantic resources for NLP at NODALIDA 2013; May 22-24; 2013; Oslo; Norway. NEALT Proceedings Series 19

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 88:1, s. 1-1

NEALT Proceedings Series 19:1, s. 1-1

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Publicerad: 2013-05-17

ISBN: 978-91-7519-586-5

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Ontologies and semantic lexicons enjoy a complex relationship. Although words denote concepts and concepts make up ontologies; a lexicon is at best an ersatz ontology; and an ontology is too impoverished to function as a semantic lexicon. There is no clear mapping from the word senses and sense relationships of a semantic lexicon to the concepts and concept relationships of an ontology.

The reasons for this include the following: Word senses overlap in complex ways; many concepts are not lexicalized in some or all languages; and languages make semantic distinctions that are not ontological; but which are nonetheless reflected in surface-form aspects such as classifierwords; diathesis alternations; and the count / mass distinction. Nonetheless; a lexicon can sometimes be the basis for the development of a practical ontology.


Ontologies; lexical-semantic resources; word senses; classifier-words; diathesis alternations


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