[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Context and Inter-annotator agreement

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2013 04:45:56 -0400
Message-id: <51FF6644.8090402@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

The essential point is that people do *not* require prior definitions
of word senses in order to understand the words in a conversation or
a document.  Both children *and* adults use familiar words in new ways
constantly.  Metaphor, metonomy, and shifts in the Wittgensteinian
word games are constantly creating new senses.    (02)

Just look at the professional lexicographers who create dictionaries.
They analyze *citations* of sentences that use the words.  Then they
group the citations according to similarity in *use*, and they write    (03)

Fundamental principle:  Word senses are artificial creations by
lexicographers.  People learn meaning through use, and they are
completely unaware that they are shifting the meaning when they
use the same word in different "language games".    (04)

> I want to be able to build a machine that can understand and fluently
> talk to a 6-year old native speaker of English.  As you have noted,
> that is itself quite challenging.    (05)

Up to that point, we agree.    (06)

> but requires a vocabulary of only 5-10 thousand word senses.    (07)

No!  Children at the age of 3 or 4 are learning dozens of words per day.
They don't look up words in the dictionary.  They may occasionally ask
somebody about a "hard" word, but they learn words from context without
even thinking about them.    (08)

When I was studying Latin in high school, I dutifully looked up every
new word.  But in the second year, I got lazy.  I only looked up a few
words when I got completely lost.  And guess what?  I learned Latin
much faster and more thoroughly when I stopped looking up words.    (09)

> I can identify a set of primitives with which I can define almost anything    (010)

I have studied the definitions by Anna Wierzbicka, Margaret Masterman,
and others who claim to use a small set of primitives.  They look good
on the surface.  But when you analyze them in detail, you discover that
they are using their so-called primitives in a very sloppy way.  The
meanings of the primitives have subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle
shifts in different definitions.    (011)

As I recall from an email discussion we had a few years ago, I cited
examples from Longmans Dictionary that showed how their primitives
shifted from one use to another.  Their definitions are useful for
humans because people fill in the gaps with their own background
knowledge.  But computers don't have that background.    (012)

John    (013)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J    (014)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>