Identifying the meaning of words with multiple meanings, without using their semantic context

July 3, 2013
Identifying the meaning of words with multiple meanings, without using their semantic context

Two Brazilian physicists have devised a method to automatically elucidate the meaning of words with several senses, based solely on their patterns of connectivity with nearby words in a given sentence – and not on semantics. Thiago Silva and Diego Amancio from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, reveal, in a paper about to be published in the European Physical Journal B, how they modelled classics texts as complex networks in order to derive their meaning. This type of model plays a key role in several natural processing language tasks such as machine translation, information retrieval, content analysis and text processing.

In this study, the authors chose a set of ten so-called polysemous words—words with multiple meanings—such as bear, jam, just, rock or present. They then verified their patterns of connectivity with nearby words in the text of literary classics such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Specifically, they established a model that consisted of a set of nodes representing words connected by their "edges," if they are adjacent in a text.

The authors then compared the results of their disambiguation exercise with the traditional semantic-based approach. They observed significant accuracy rates in identifying the suitable meanings when using both techniques. The approach described in this study, based on a so-called deterministic tourist walk characterisation, can therefore be considered a complementary methodology for distinguishing between word senses.

In future works, the authors are planning to devise new measures to connect not only adjacent words, but also words within a given interval in order to enhance the ability of the model to grasp semantic factors. This approach is supported by another recent study by the same authors, showing that traditional measures mainly depend on the syntax.

Explore further: Our ambiguous world of words

More information: T. C. Silva and D. R. Amancio (2013), Discriminating word senses with tourist walks in complex networks, European Physical Journal B, DOI 10.1140/epjb/e2013-40025-4 . http://link.springer.com/article/10.1140/epjb/e2013-40025-4

Related Stories

Our ambiguous world of words

May 31, 2013

(Phys.org) —Ambiguity in language poses the greatest challenge when it comes to training a computer to understand the written word. Now, new research aims to help computers find meaning.

New study suggests Voynich text is not a hoax

June 24, 2013

(Phys.org) —Theoretical physicist Marcelo Montemurro and colleague Damián H. Zanette have published a paper in the journal PLOS ONE claiming that the Voynich text is likely not a hoax as some have suggested. The two researchers ...

Texting affects ability to interpret words

February 20, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Research designed to understand the effect of text messaging on language found that texting has a negative impact on people's linguistic ability to interpret and accept words.

Recommended for you

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

November 21, 2017

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT ...

Imaging technique unlocks the secrets of 17th century artists

November 21, 2017

The secrets of 17th century artists can now be revealed, thanks to 21st century signal processing. Using modern high-speed scanners and the advanced signal processing techniques, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology ...

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

November 20, 2017

At any given moment, the Earth's atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic rays collide with the ...

A curious quirk brings organic diode lasers one step closer

November 20, 2017

Since their invention in 1962, semiconductor diode lasers have revolutionized communications and made possible information storage and retrieval in CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray devices. These diode lasers use inorganic semiconductors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.