Re: synsem module ready

Dear Fahad, all,

  John has answered at length your email and argued why model "C" is a 
reasonable model. I am going to be pragmatic here: since three years we 
are building the whole of ontolex around model "C" and at this stage we 
can not change it anymore. My goal was to finalize discussions at this 
stage, not to rethink core aspects of the model that would lead to 
drastic changes. There has been a lot of chance to discuss such things, 
and they have been discussed.

As John says, according to ontolex, the only meaning that ontolex 
considers is modelled in the ontology as classes, properties etc. 
Classical semantic arguments as known from semantic frames do not exist 
for ontolex unless they are modelled in some ontology. If they are, then 
there is no problem. We can use Semantic Frames and use these properies 
as references.

I go into your comments in more detail below:

Kind regards and talk to you tomorrow,


Am 21.05.15 um 15:52 schrieb Fahad Khan:
> Hi everyone,
> Here are some points for discussion that I've come up with after a wee 
> bit of discussion with Francesca. Firstly, I think that to avoid 
> confusion, the Class Frame should be renamed Syntactic Frame, since 
> the term "Frame" is used in a lot of different contexts -- and is to 
> used to mean different things even just within Computational 
> Linguistics -- and so it would pay to be about what it is that is 
> being referred to in this case.
Renaming Frame to "Syntactic Frame" is indeed an option that we could 
consider tomorrow.
> Also I feel it would be better to make a distinction between Syntactic 
> and Semantic arguments by making them two distinct classes. There are 
> so many instances where making this distinction is useful in lexical 
> semantics that I think it’s worth the extra complexity to include it 
> in the definition of Ontolex itself. For example by making this 
> distinction we can easily describe verbal alternations such as occur 
> with verbs such as "to give"as in "Alice gave the gift to Bob" and 
> "Alice gave Bob the gift" where two different kinds of syntactic 
> structure seem to map to the same semantic frame. Moreover, syntactic 
> arguments are usually associated with syntactic markers or 
> morphological markings, which is not the case with semantic arguments 
> which are instead usually marked with different kinds of properties, 
> e.g., semantic roles such as Agent or Theme. Additionally in 
> morphologically rich languages like Latin there might not even be a 
> fixed syntactic order to the arguments of a verb, whereas in terms of 
> a predicative semantic representation the order of the arguments does 
> matter. In other words we tend to associate syntactic and semantic 
> arguments with different properties, properties which are usually 
> included in lexico-semantic representations of lexical entries. ( see 
> also 
> <>) 
We will not introduce semantic roles into ontolex. This is out of the 
realm and scope of ontolex. Such roles can be defined externally in any 

If you are proposing to introduce two subclasses: SemanticArgument and 
SyntacticArgument of the class Argument, this could be considered indeed.

Alternations can be modelled without any problem with the current 
version of ontolex. So "Alice gave the gift to Bob" and "Alice gave Bob 
the gift" have the same "SemanticFrame" as meaning, but they map the 
syntactic arguments differently to properties of the event "gave", i.e. 
the properties giver, given and receiver or however the properties end 
up being named in the ontology. If they are named agent, patient and 
beneficiary its fine as well. This is out of the scope of the ontolex model.

The point in ontolex (Model C) is that we use the same identifier to 
represent both the syntactic and semantic argument, but this is similar 
to unification-based grammars where the semantic and syntactic 
properties of an argument are expressed in the same feature structure. 
We thus have one identifier that unifies the properties as syntactic 
argument and as semantic argument. Not sure if it helps, but I can not 
explain it better right now. John has also tried hard to explain....

> Synsem/Example 4 is unclear/a bad example since the phrase "opening 
> film" can either be associated with a prepositional phrase argument 
> headed by "in" (as in "the opening film in our programme tonight 
> is...") or "of" (as in "the opening film of the Cannes film festival 
> was terrible this year")  -- or even no prepositional phrase argument 
> (as in "the opening film is terrible")  -- and so creating a lexical 
> entry specifically based on "opening film at" seems inefficient (why 
> create a separate lexical entry for each of the cases, and not 
> associate an opening_film lexical entry with a number of prefered 
> prepositions?). Maybe it would be better to have a simpler example of 
> a relational noun like "brother" or "uncle" where the noun is strongly 
> associated with a certain preposition  (in these examples the 
> preposition  “of”) rather than a number of different prepositions, 
> when it is expressing a related ontological Object Property.

You are right, this is the reason we should mark the syntactic arguments 
for the preposition as optional, resulting in:

X is the opening film of/at/for Y => dbpedia:OpeningFilm(Y,X)

X is an opening film => exists Y dbpedia:OpeningFilm(Y,X)

X is an opening film with Z => exists Y dbpedia:(OpeningFilmY,X) & 


The marker could be anything btw, so we could also include a list of 
prepositions. This is going to make the example a bit more complex, but 
it would go into the line of your "preferred" prepositions. That would 
be more compact I agree.

In general, however, meaning is quite dependent on the prepositions you use:

born on => birthdate

born in => birthplace

play with => playmate

play for => team

etc. etc.

> Also associating the concept Alma mater in Ex synsem/example5 with a 
> lexical entry other than the lexical entry "alma mater" comes across 
> as a little strange -- especially since it's not at all clear that the 
> expression alma mater always and unproblematically refers to an 
> institution that someone has graduated from (wikipedia, different 
> dictionaries disagree on this) rather than just attended.

The property "alma mater" is defined in DBpedia as having domain Person 
and range Educational Institution:

It is used exactly to express at which educational institutions people 

It would be however correct to change "graduated from" to "studied at" 
as graduation is too strong here.
> Overall, these examples where an ontological concept is associated 
> with a related lexical entry not because there’s a straightforward 
> reference/extensional relation between them but because there is some 
> kind of lexical entailment relation involved (e.g., the ontological 
> concept refers to the result of the action described by a word/lexical 
> entry) are problematic because they tend to make the "meaning" of 
> ontolex:reference a bit obscure: do we use the reference relation to 
> say that the extension of the word is such and such, or that a certain 
> expression is often used in a language to refer to an important aspect 
> of an event or a concept?

Yes, I am aware of this. But this is a problem of the ontologies we have 
currently around, not of ontolex itself. You are right that many often 
the concept we use can not be really said to be "denoted" by the lexical 
entry in the strict sense. But the ontologies that are out there are the 
ones we have to live with I fear. We could have "invented" new 
ontologies for our purposes, but my personal goal has been to show how 
ontolex can be used with existing ontologies.
> Also, I agree with John the gestalt stuff in the definition of 
> Semantic Frame is a bit puzzling.
> Cheers,
> Fahad
> On 20 May 2015 at 16:57, John P. McCrae 
> < 
> <>> wrote:
>     Hi,
>     I read through the spec and there are a few major issues I
>     detected in the first couple of sections sections (ontolex + synsem)
>     1. The definition of 'other form' still says '[Other form] should
>     be .... an abbreviation, short form or acronym'. This is incorrect
>     and contradicts the definition of lexical entry. Can we add an
>     example clarifying the representation of abbreviations?
>     2. ontolex/example10 now doesn't make any sense... 'bank' is just
>     two words each with a different meaning. Can we change this to a
>     word with genuine polysemy... I suggest 'troll' (1
>     <>, 2
>     <>).
>     3. ontolex/example17 doesn't really show a lot and for some reason
>     refers to IATE for 'cat'!? (this is probably my fault...). Could
>     we switch it to 'spouse'/'marry' showing that these two lexical
>     entries have two different concepts but the same reference
>     dbpedia:spouse
>     4. The definition of semantic frame is at best confusing, I really
>     don't think we need to bring Gestalt Theory into this as well. My
>     attempt would be:
>     *Semantic Frames* are the meaning of a word (and hence are also
>     lexical senses) but expressed by one or more ontological
>     predicates and their arguments. This sense of the word can only be
>     understood when all of its required arguments are realized.
>     Similarly we need to change subframe to
>     *Subframe *relates a complex semantic frame to frames for each of
>     the individual ontological predicates that form the complex
>     semantic frame.
>     5. synsem/example5 and example6 are essentially the same as
>     example4 but they connect an eventive verb ('graduate' or 'die')
>     with a consequential fact ('almaMater' or 'deathYear'). This is of
>     questionable soundness although we have argued in papers it is
>     valid when the event and the consequence are in a strict
>     bijection... still, I would prefer to drop this for the spec as it
>     adds a lot of unnecessary complexity.
>     There are a lot of other minor issues I will change directly in
>     the spec.
>     Regards,
>     John
>     On Mon, May 18, 2015 at 10:41 AM, Manuel Fiorelli
>     < <>> wrote:
>         Dear Philipp, All
>         you can find my comments on the synsem module below.
>         In Example synsem/example2, the resource :own_frame_transitive
>         is wrongly written :own_form_transitive. Additionally, there
>         are two usages of owl:subPropertyOf, which instead should be
>         rdfs:subPropertyOf.
>         The class synsem:SemanticFrame is declared to be subclass of
>         ontolex:LexicalSense; however, in the picture representing the
>         synsem module, the arrow representing this axiom is oriented
>         in the opposite direction.
>         In the paragraph "Semantic Frames", there is a table headed
>         "Type", "Predicate", "Example", whose first row contains
>         /City(x)/, ?x rdf:type ontology:Person: should it be ?x
>         rdf:type dbpedia-owl:City?
>         There is no example (just below the definition of
>         synsem:isA)about the representation of unary predicates. Nor
>         is there any example about the representation of individuals.
>         The definitions of synsem:{subj|obj}OfProp use the following
>         wording:
>         " represents the semantic argument with represents"
>         I would avoid a sequence of two "represents". Moreover, I
>         think that "with" should be "that".
>         In Example synsem/example3, there is again owl:subPropertyOf.
>         Also, In Example synsem/example4, there is again
>         owl:subPropertyOf.
>         In the section "Complex Senses / Semantic Frames", there is
>         the definition of synsem:subframe, while in the figure there
>         is the property synsem:subsense.
>         Just below Example synsem/example7, there is an example
>         involving the property father: the property should point to
>         the child; however, the name of the property suggests to me
>         that the object is the father (just in the same manner
>         skos:broader points to the broader of a given concept).
>         I think that Example synsem/example9  should be explained in
>         more detail.
>         I didn't find the definition of synsem:propertyDomain and
>         synsem:propertyRange; then, I realized that they were moved to
>         the core module. The diagram of the core module must be
>         updated to include these properties, as well as the diagram of
>         the synsem module to remove them.
>         I noticed that in the infobox providing the definition of
>         propertyRange and propertyDomain, the URI still uses the
>         synsem namespace instead of the core ontolex namespace.
>         Finally, I noticed a typo in the definition of
>         ontolex:LexicalEntry:
>         "The class lexical entry represents a unit of analysis of the
>         lexicon that consist of a set of forms that are grammatically
>         ... "
>         It should be "that consists" with an append "s".
>         Best Regards
>         Manuel Fiorelli
>         2015-05-13 21:47 GMT+02:00 Philipp Cimiano
>         <
>         <>>:
>             Dear all,
>              I have been working on finalizing the synsem module,
>             please check:
>             The next telco to discuss the synsem module will be on
>             Friday the 22nd of Mai, 16:00 CET.
>             Please send me any issues to discuss or comments on the
>             synsem module by Thurday 21st of Mai at the very latest.
>             Thanks and best regards,
>             Philipp.
>             -- 
>             --
>             Prof. Dr. Philipp Cimiano
>             AG Semantic Computing
>             Exzellenzcluster für Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
>             Universität Bielefeld
>             Tel: +49 521 106 12249 <tel:%2B49%20521%20106%2012249>
>             Fax: +49 521 106 6560 <tel:%2B49%20521%20106%206560>
>             Mail:
>             <>
>             Office CITEC-2.307
>             Universitätsstr. 21-25
>             33615 Bielefeld, NRW
>             Germany

Prof. Dr. Philipp Cimiano
AG Semantic Computing
Exzellenzcluster für Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Universität Bielefeld

Tel: +49 521 106 12249
Fax: +49 521 106 6560

Office CITEC-2.307
Universitätsstr. 21-25
33615 Bielefeld, NRW

Received on Thursday, 21 May 2015 21:37:36 UTC