Word Sense Disambiguation
Edited by Eneko Agirre and Philip Edmonds

Chapter 2: Word Senses

Adam Kilgarriff


The trouble with word sense disambiguation is word senses. There are no decisive ways of identifying where one sense of a word ends and the next begins. This makes the definition of the WSD task problematic. In this chapter we explore the limits of the construct "word sense", gathering evidence from lexicographers and philosophers, by considering cases of metaphor, quotation, and reasoning from general knowledge, which sit at the margins of what a lexicographer might classify as a distinct word sense.


2.1 Introduction. 29

2.2 Lexicographers. 30

2.3 Philosophy. 32

2.3.1 Meaning is something you do. 32

2.3.2 The Fregean tradition and reification. 33

2.3.3 Two incompatible semantics?. 33

2.3.4 Implications for word senses. 34

2.4 Lexicalization. 35

2.5 Corpus evidence. 39

2.5.1 Lexicon size. 41

2.5.2 Quotations. 42

2.6 Conclusion. 43

2.7 Further reading. 44

Acknowledgments. 45

References. 45

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