Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


CoreLex: An Ontology of Systematic Polysemous Classes

Paul Buitelaar
In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS'98), June 6-8. International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS), Pages 221-235, Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, Vol. 46, IOS Press, 1998.


This paper is concerned with a unified approach to the systematic polysemy and underspecification of nouns. Systematic polysemy -- senses that are systematically related and therefore predictable over classes of lexical items -- is fundamentally different from homonymy -- senses that are unrelated, non-systematic and therefore not predictable. At the same time, studies in discourse analysis show that lexical items are often left underspecified for a number of related senses. Clearly, there is a correspondence between these phenomena, the investigation of which is the topic of this paper. Acknowledging the systematic nature of polysemy and its relation to underspecified representations, allows one to structure ontologies for lexical semantic processing more efficiently, generating more appropriate interpretations within context. In order to achieve this, one needs a thorough analysis of systematic polysemy and underspecification on a large and useful scale. The paper establishes an ontology and semantic database (CoreLex) of 126 semantic types, covering around 40,000 nouns and defining a large number of systematic polysemous classes that are derived by a careful analysis of sense distributions in WordNet. The semantic types are underspecified representations based on generative lexicon theory.

Weitere Links