Lexical Semantics of Degree Expressions

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1744)


Lexical semantics is about the meaning of words. Speaking about the meaning of words involves describing what remains constant when a word is put into different contexts. In linguistic research, a large variety of lexical semantics effects involving degree expressions, and graded adjectives in particular, has been pointed out. In quite a number of cases, however, phenomena were not properly categorized. For instance, effects arising from figurative language use were intermingled with really polysemous lexical entries. For the text knowledge extraction task, it is of utmost importance to distinguish the causes for lexical semantics phenomena unless one is misled about where to account for all these pieces of information succinctly.

It is the task of this chapter to review other authors’ research on lexical semantics of degree expressions and to lay the foundations for the degree information extraction task. Major components of degree semantics are identified and following Varnhorn (1993), two paradigms of comparison will be discussed. The distinction between these two will serve as the cornerstone for the understanding of degree expressions given a particular context and given the lexical semantics discussed here.


Word Sense Comparison Class Word Class Lexical Semantic Measurement Phrase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

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