Semantic interpretation of noun compounds using verbal and other paraphrases

Preslav Nakov, Marti A. Hearst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


We study the problem of semantic interpretation of noun compounds such as bee honey, malaria mosquito, apple cake, and stem cell. In particular, we explore the potential of using predicates that make explicit the hidden relation that holds between the nouns that form the noun compound. For example, mosquito that carries malaria is a paraphrase of the compound malaria mosquito in which the verb explicitly states the semantic relation between the two nouns. We study the utility of using such paraphrasing verbs, with associated weights, to build a representation of the semantics of a noun compound, for example, malaria mosquito can be represented as follows: carry (23), spread (16), cause (12), transmit (9), and so on. We also explore the potential of using multiple paraphrasing verbs as features for predicting abstract semantic relations such as CAUSE, and we demonstrate that using explicit paraphrases can help improve statistical machine translation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalACM Transactions on Speech and Language Processing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013



  • Lexical semantics
  • Machine translation
  • Multiword expressions
  • Noun compounds
  • Paraphrases
  • Web as a corpus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computational Mathematics

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