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Syntax and semantics for noun-noun combinations


Bob Coecke
Martha Lewis

Suitable for


In English differences in meaning of a compound noun phrase may be signalled by the intonation used. A 'TOY shop' is a shop that sells toys, whereas a 'toy SHOP' is a toy that is a shop. In the latter case the word 'toy' is used as an adjective and is more straightforwardly compositional, but in the former case the meaning of the compound is idiomatic (Kamp and Partee, 1995). The project would model these facets of meaning within the compositional distributional model of meaning (Coecke et al. 2010), and test the model thus developed within a semantic vector space based on text corpora. The project might use methods from (Coecke and Lewis, 2015), which models overextension in noun combinations, and (Kartsaklis and Sadrzadeh, 2015), which model differences in intonation.

Prerequisites: Linear Algebra, either category theory or quantum computer science would do, Python (or similar language suitable for text processing)

Coecke, Bob, and Martha Lewis. "A Compositional Explanation of the Pet Fish Phenomenon." arXiv preprint arXiv:1509.06594 (2015).
Coecke, B., M. Sadrzadeh, and S. Clark. "Mathematical Foundations for Distributed Compositional Model of Meaning. Lambek Festschrift." Linguistic Analysis 36 (2010): 345-384.
Kamp, Hans, and Barbara Partee. "Prototype theory and compositionality." Cognition 57.2 (1995): 129-191.
Kartsaklis, Dimitri, and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh. "A Frobenius Model of Information Structure in Categorical Compositional Distributional Semantics." arXiv preprint arXiv:1505.06294 (2015).