Word Disambiguation by Lexical Underspecification

  • Antonio Sanfilippo
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 10)


One of the central aspects of lexical knowledge is our ability to generate appropriate uses of words in context. This ability can be largely characterized in terms of classes of diatheses describing which word use alternations are possible for each choice of word form, in its context of occurrence. The deployment of such diatheses raises a basic problem of efficiency as there is no known general control regime which can deterministically restrict the choice of lexical alternations appropriate to a given context without preempting the generation of possible word uses. We present a solution to this problem where contextual information is used to guide word use extension. Lexical ambiguity is expressed by associating each ambiguous word form with an underspecified lexical type which subsumes a class of alternations describing all admissible uses of the word. Appropriate lexical usage can then be assessed deterministically by utilizing syntactic and semantic cues gathered during text processing from the local phrasal context in order to ground underspecified word entries.


Word Form Direct Object Lexical Entry Qualia Type Thematic Role 
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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Sanfilippo
    • 1
  1. 1.European CommissionLuxembourgGermany

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