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Center for Computing Research National Polytechnic Institute Mexico. Acquiring Selectional Preferences from Untagged Text for Prepositional Phrase Attachment Disambiguation. Hiram Calvo and Alexander Gelbukh Presented by Igor A. Bolshakov. Introduction.

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Hiram Calvo and Alexander Gelbukh Presented by Igor A. Bolshakov

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Hiram calvo and alexander gelbukh presented by igor a bolshakov

Center for Computing ResearchNational Polytechnic InstituteMexico

Acquiring Selectional Preferences from Untagged Text for Prepositional Phrase Attachment Disambiguation

Hiram Calvo and Alexander Gelbukh

Presented by Igor A. Bolshakov



  • Entities must be identified adequately for database representation:

    • See the cat with a telescope

    • See [the cat] [with a telescope] 2 entities

    • See [the cat with a telescope]1 entity

  • Problem is known as Prepositional Phrase (PP) attachment disambiguation.

Existing methods 1

Existing methods - 1

  • Accuracy when using treebank statistics:

    • Ratnaparkhi et al.,Brill and Resnik: up to 84%

    • Kudo and Matsumoto: 95.8%

      • Needed weeks for training

    • Lüdtke and Sato: 94.9%

      • Only 3 hours for training

  • But there are no treebanks for many languages!

Existing methods 2

Existing methods - 2

  • Based on Untagged text:

    • Calvo and Gelbukh, 2003: 82.3% accuracy

    • Uses the web as corpus:

      • Slow (up to 18 queries for each PP attachment ambiguity)

  • Does this method work with very big local corpora?

Using a big local corpus

Using a big local corpus

  • Corpus

    • 3 years of publication of 4 newspapers

    • 161 million words

    • 61 million sentences

  • Results:

    • Recall: 36% Precision: 67%

    • Dissapointing!

What do we want

What do we want?

  • To solve PP attachment disambiguation with

    • Local corpora, not web

    • No treebanks

    • No supervision

    • High precision and recall

  • Solution proposed:

    • Selectional Preferences

Selectional preferences

Selectional Preferences

  • The problem of

    I see a cat with a telescope

    turns into

    I see {animal} with {instrument}

Sources for noun semantic classification

Sources for noun semantic classification

  • Machine-Readable dictionaries

  • WordNet ontology

    • We use the top 25 unique beginner concepts of WordNet

  • Examples: mouse is-a {animal}, ranch is-a {place}, root is-a part}, reality is-a {atrtibute}, race is-a {grouping}, etc.

Extracting selectional preferences

Extracting Selectional Preferences

  • Text is shallow parsed

  • Subordinate sentences are separated

  • Patterns are searched

    1. Verb NEAR Preposition NEXT_TO Noun

    2. Verb NEAR Noun

    3. Noun NEAR Verb

    4. Noun NEXT_TO Preposition NEXT_TO Noun

  • All Nouns are classified



  • Consider this toy-corpus:

    • I see a cat with a telescope

    • I see a ship in the sea with a spyglass

      The following patterns are extracted:

    • See,catsee,{animal}

    • See,with,telescopesee,with,{instrument}

    • Cat,with,telescope {animal},with,{instrument}

    • See,shipsee,{thing}

    • See,in,seasee,in,{place}

    • See,with,spyglasssee,with,{instrument}

    • Ship,in,sea{thing},in,{place}



  • See, with, {instrument} has two occurrences

  • {Animal}, with, {instrument} has one occurrence

  • Thus,

    • See with {instrument} is more probable than {animal} with {instrument}



  • Now, with a real corpus, we apply the following formula:

  • X can be a specific verb or a noun’s semantic class (see or {animal})

  • P is a preposition (with)

  • C2 is the class of the second noun {instrument}



  • From the corpus of 161 million words of Spanish Mexican newspaper the system obtained:

  • 893,278 selectional preferences for 5,387verbs, and

  • 55,469noun patterns (like {animal} with {instrument})



  • We tested the obtained Selectional Preferences doing PP attachment disambiguation on 546 sentences from the LEXESP corpus (in Spanish).

  • Then we compared manually with the correct PP attachments.

  • Results: precision 78.2%, recall: 76.0%



  • Results not as good as those obtained by other methods (up to 95%)

  • But we don’t need any costly resources, such as:

    • Treebanks

    • Manually anotated corpora

    • Web as corpus

Future work

Future Work

  • To use not only 25 fixed semantic classes (top concepts) but the whole hierarchy

  • To use a WSD module

    • Currently if a word belongs to more than one class, all classes are taken into accoutb

Thank you

Thank you!

[email protected]

[email protected]

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