11 October – Marco del Tredici

Assessing the Potential of Metaphoricity of Verbs Using Corpus Data

The work investigates the relation between metaphoricity and distributional characteristics of verbs, introducing POM, a corpus-derived index that can be used to define the upper bound of metaphoricity of any expression in which a given verb occurs. The work moves from the observation that while some verbs can be used to create highly metaphoric expressions, others can not. We conjecture that this fact is related to the number of contexts in which a verb occurs and to the frequency of each context. This intuition is modelled by introducing a method in which each context of a verb in a corpus is assigned a vector representation, and a clustering algorithm is employed to identify similar contexts. Eventually, the Standard Deviation of the relative frequency values of the clusters is computed and taken as the POM of the target verb. We tested POM in two experimental settings obtaining values of accuracy of 84% and 92%. Since we are convinced that metaphor detection systems should be concerned only with the identification of highly metaphoric expressions, we believe that POM could be profitably employed by these systems to a priori exclude expressions that, due to the verb they include, can only have low degrees of metaphoricity.

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