Evaluating Lexical Resources for A Semantic Tagger


Scott S. L. Piao (1), Paul Rayson (2), Dawn Archer (1), Tony McEnery (1)

(1) Department of Linguistics and MEL; (2) Computing Department, Lancaster University Lancaster LA1 4YT, United Kingdom




Semantic lexical resources play an important part in both linguistic study and natural language engineering. In Lancaster, a large semantic lexical resource has been built over the past 14 years, which provides a knowledge base for the USAS semantic tagger. Capturing semantic lexicological theory and empirical lexical usage information extracted from corpora, the Lancaster semantic lexicon provides a valuable resource for the corpus research and NLP community. In this paper, we evaluate the lexical coverage of the semantic lexicon both in terms of genres and time periods. We conducted the evaluation on test corpora including the BNC sampler, the METER Corpus of law/court journalism reports and some corpora of Newsbooks, prose and fictional works published between 17th and 19th centuries. In the evaluation, the semantic lexicon achieved a lexical coverage of 98.49% on the BNC sampler, 95.38% on the METER Corpus and 92.76% -- 97.29% on the historical data. Our evaluation reveals that the Lancaster semantic lexicon has a remarkably high lexical coverage on modern English lexicon, but needs expansion with domain-specific terms and historical words. Our evaluation also shows that, in order to make claims about the lexical coverage of annotation systems as well as to render them ‘future proof’, we need to evaluate their potential both synchronically and diachronically across genres.


semantic lexicon, lexical coverage, evaluation, English semantic tagger



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