Evaluating Hierarchies of Verb Argument Structure with Hierarchical Clustering

Jesse Mu, Joshua K. Hartshorne, Timothy O’Donnell


Abstract
Verbs can only be used with a few specific arrangements of their arguments (syntactic frames). Most theorists note that verbs can be organized into a hierarchy of verb classes based on the frames they admit. Here we show that such a hierarchy is objectively well-supported by the patterns of verbs and frames in English, since a systematic hierarchical clustering algorithm converges on the same structure as the handcrafted taxonomy of VerbNet, a broad-coverage verb lexicon. We also show that the hierarchies capture meaningful psychological dimensions of generalization by predicting novel verb coercions by human participants. We discuss limitations of a simple hierarchical representation and suggest similar approaches for identifying the representations underpinning verb argument structure.
Anthology ID:
D17-1104
Volume:
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
Month:
September
Year:
2017
Address:
Copenhagen, Denmark
Venue:
EMNLP
SIG:
SIGDAT
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
986–991
Language:
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D17-1104
DOI:
10.18653/v1/D17-1104
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http://aclanthology.lst.uni-saarland.de/D17-1104.pdf
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