Building and Maintaining a Semantically Adequate Lexicon Using Cyc

  • Kathy J. Burns
  • Anthony R. Davis
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 10)


The Cyc lexicon is a broad-coverage lexicon which is being constructed as a component of the Cyc KB a very large repository of common sense knowledge. Building and maintaining a large lexicon in conjunction with a knowledge base and inference engine is a much different task than building a stand-alone lexicon, or a lexicon which relies on a small internal or external ontology. In building the Cyc lexicon, we have been concerned not with demonstrating or testing theoretical claims, but with creating a practical tool, since Cyc-based applications demand a certain level of functionality from the lexicon. As such, our work is theory-driven only to the extent that a particular theory proves useful to us. In this chapter we discuss a number of issues which have arisen in developing the Cyc lexicon, including the feasibility of taking advantage of semantic classification schemes as a shortcut to hand-entering lexical information; distinguishing between world and lexical knowledge; and providing a level of semantic detail in the lexicon which is compatible with the expressiveness of Cyc’s internal representation language.


Lexical Entry Word Sense Participant Role Mass Noun Count Noun 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Briscoe, E. 1991. Lexical Issues in Natural Language Processing. In E. Klein and F. Veltman (eds.), Natural Language and Speech. Springer-Verlag, pp. 39–68.Google Scholar
  2. Briscoe, E., A. Copestake and A. Lascarides. 1995. Blocking. In P. Saint-Dizier and E. Viegas (eds.), Computational Lexical Semantics. Cambridge University Press, pp. 273–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Copestake, A. and E. Briscoe. 1995. Semi-productive Polysemy and Sense Extension, Journal of Semanticsl2, pp. 15–67.Google Scholar
  4. Dowty, D. 1991. Thematic Proto-Roles and Argument Selection. Language67:3, pp. 547619.Google Scholar
  5. Gillon, B. 1996. The Lexical Semantics of English Count and Mass Nouns. In Breadth and Depth of Semantic Lexicons: Proceedings of the Siglex Workshop. Association for Computational Linguistics.Google Scholar
  6. Lehmamnn, F. 1996. Big Posets of Participatings and Thematic Roles. In P. Eklund, G. Ellis and G. Mann (eds.) Conceptual Structures: Knowledge Representation as Interlingua. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 50–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Levin, B. 1993. English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ostler, N. and B. T. S. Atkins 1991. Predictable Meaning Shift: Some Linguistic Properties of Lexical Implementation Rules. In Lexical Semantics and Knowledge Representation: Proceedings of the Siglex Workshop. Association for Computational Linguistics.Google Scholar
  9. Pinker, S. 1989. Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  10. Wechsler, S. 1995. The Semantic Basis of Argument Structure. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy J. Burns
    • 1
  • Anthony R. Davis
    • 2
  1. 1.CycorpAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Linguistics Santa BarbaraUniversity of CaliforniaUSA

Personalised recommendations