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An experiment in computational discrimination of English word senses

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1 Author(s)
Black, Ezra ; IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, P.O. Box 218, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598, USA

A number of researchers in text processing have independently observed that people can consistently determine in which of several given senses a word is being used in text, simply by examining the half dozen or so words just before and just after the word in focus. The question arises whether the same task can be accomplished by mechanical means. Experimental results are presented which suggest an affirmative answer to this query. Three separate methods of discriminating English word senses are compared information-theoretically. Findings include a strong indication of the power of domain-specific content analysis of text, as opposed to domain-general approaches.

Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.  

Published in:

IBM Journal of Research and Development  (Volume:32 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

March 1988

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