Quantitative Semantic Variation in the Contexts of Concrete and Abstract Words

Daniela Naumann, Diego Frassinelli, Sabine Schulte im Walde


Abstract
Across disciplines, researchers are eager to gain insight into empirical features of abstract vs. concrete concepts. In this work, we provide a detailed characterisation of the distributional nature of abstract and concrete words across 16,620 English nouns, verbs and adjectives. Specifically, we investigate the following questions: (1) What is the distribution of concreteness in the contexts of concrete and abstract target words? (2) What are the differences between concrete and abstract words in terms of contextual semantic diversity? (3) How does the entropy of concrete and abstract word contexts differ? Overall, our studies show consistent differences in the distributional representation of concrete and abstract words, thus challenging existing theories of cognition and providing a more fine-grained description of their nature.
Anthology ID:
S18-2008
Volume:
Proceedings of the Seventh Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics
Month:
June
Year:
2018
Address:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Venue:
*SEMEVAL
SIGs:
SIGLEX | SIGSEM
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
76–85
Language:
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/S18-2008
DOI:
10.18653/v1/S18-2008
Bib Export formats:
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PDF:
http://aclanthology.lst.uni-saarland.de/S18-2008.pdf