Semantic Associations

Typically, semantic associations facilitate both production and comprehension processes. But where do these effects stem from? Are semantic association effects underpinned by lexical co-occurrence, semantic networks, or both? How much do free semantic norms correspond to co-occurrence in speech? To answer this question, I used corpora and statistical grammars developed by computational linguists to evaluate the link between co-occurrence and semantic association. Together with Sabine Schulte im Walde (Stuttgart University), we have evaluated a) the types of semantic relations reflected by semantic associations, as supported by lexical ontologies, and b) the correlation between association strength and target-associate co-occurrence frequencies in corpora. We also assembled the NAG (Noun Associations in German) database, which is free for use by all.

Relevant publications:

Schulte im Walde, S., & Melinger, A. (2008). An in-depth look into the co-occurrence distribution of semantic associates. Journal of Italian Linguistics. 20(1), 89-128. Special Issue on From Context to Meaning: Distributional Models of the Lexicon in Linguistics and Cognitive Science.

Schulte im Walde, S., Melinger, A., Roth, M., & Weber, A. (2008). An Empirical Characterisation of Response Types in German Association Norms.  Research on Language and Computation, 6(2), 205-238. doi: 10.1007/s11168-008-9048-4

Schulte im Walde, S., Melinger, A., Roth, M., & Weber, A. (2007). Which distributional functions are crucial to word meaning: an investigation of semantic associates. Proceedings of the GLDV (Gesellschaft für linguistische Datenverarbeitung) workshop on Lexical Semantics and Ontological Resources, 336, 333-343.

Melinger, A., Schulte im Walde, & Weber, A. (2006). Characterizing response types and revealing noun ambiguity in German association norms. Proceedings of the 11th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Trento, Italy.

Schulte im Walde, S. & Melinger, A. (2005). Identifying semantic relations and functional properties of human verb associations. Proceedings of the joint Conference on Human Language Technology and Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, p. 612-619. Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Doi: 10.3115/1220575.1220652

Melinger, A. & Schulte im Walde, S. (2005). Evaluating the relationships instantiated by semantic associates of verbs. Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, p. 1489-1494, Italy.