Appel: ACL-SIGSEM Workshop on The Linguistic Dimensions of Prepositions ...

Alexis Nasr alexis.nasr at LINGUIST.JUSSIEU.FR
Thu Feb 6 13:13:11 UTC 2003

Call for Papers :

ACL-SIGSEM   Workshop on
The Linguistic Dimensions of Prepositions and
their Use in Computational Linguistics Formalisms and Applications.

September 4-6,  2003, Toulouse, France

Endorsed by SIGSEM, the ACL's Special Interest Group in Computational

A great deal of attention has been devoted in the past ten years in
the linguistic and computational linguistics communities to the syntax
and the semantics of nouns, verbs and also, but to a lesser extent, to
adjectives. Related phenomena such as quantification or tense and
aspect have motivated a number of in-depth studies and projects. In
contrast, prepositions have received less attention. The reasons are
quite clear: prepositions are probably the most polysemic category,
possibly more so than adjectives, and linguistic realizations are
extremely difficult to predict, not to mention the difficulty of
identifying cross-linguistic regularities.

Let us mention, however, several projects devoted to prepositions
expressing space, time and movement in AI and in NLP, and also the
development of formalisms and heuristics to handle PP attachment
ambiguities. Let us also mention the large number of studies in
psycholinguistics and in ethnolinguistics around specific preposition
senses. Finally, prepositions seem to reach a very deep level in the
cognitive-semantic structure of the brain: cognitive grammar
developers often use prepositions in their metalanguage, in order to
express very primitive notions. An important and difficult question to
address, is whether these notions are really primitive or can be
decomposed and lexically analysed

In argument structure, prepositions often play the crucial role of a
mediator between the verb's expectations and the semantics of the
nominal argument. The verb-preposition-noun semantic interactions are
very subtle, but totally crucial for the development of an accurate
semantics of the proposition. Let us note that a number of languages
have postpositions or other markers like case instead of prepositions
that play a quite similar role.  Finally, languages like English have
verbal compounds that integrate prepositions (compositionally or as
collocations) while others, like Romance languages or Hindi either
incorporate the preposition or include it in the prepositional
phrase. All these configurations are semantically as well as
syntactically of much interest.

Prepositions turn out to be a very useful category in a number of
applications such as indexing and knowledge extraction since they
convey basic meanings of much interest like instruments, means,
comparisons, amounts, approximations, localizations, etc. They must
necessarily be taken into account---and rendered accurately---for
effective machine translation and lexical choice in language

Prepositions are also closely related to semantic structures such as
thematic roles, semantic templates or frames. From a linguistic
perspective, several investigations have been carried out on quite
diverse languages, emphasizing e.g., monolingual and cross-linguistic
contrasts or the role of prepositions in syntactic alternations. These
observations cover in general a small group of closely related
prepositions. The semantic characterization of prepositions has also
motivated the emergence of a few dedicated logical frameworks and
reasoning procedures.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together linguists, NLP
researchers and practitioners, and AI people in order to define a
common ground, to advance the state-of-the-art, to identify the
primary issues and bottlenecks, and to promote future
collaborations. If appropriate, the workshop will also establish a
working group and the development of projects and resources.

Paper presentations Both short research notes (3 pages) and longer
conference-style papers (up to 10 pages) submissions as well as
working session proposals (1 page proposal on a precise topic) are
welcome. Papers must be in .ps, .pdf or .doc formats. The 12 point
Times new Roman font is preferred, leave about 2.5 cm margins on both
sides. More precise formatting instructions will be given for final
versions, since a book publication is under preparation.  Paper must
be sent in electronic form to: stdizier at

The main topics are:

- The syntax of prepositions: formal or descriptive syntax,
prepositions in alternations, principles in the syntax of PPs,
syntactic and semantic restrictions.  General syntactic-semantic
principles. Postpositions or other equivalent markers (e.g. case).

- Polysemy of prepositions, identification and classification of
preposition senses, contrastive uses, metaphorical uses, semantic and
cognitive foundations for prepositions.

- Descriptions: Potential WordNet / EuroWordNet descriptions of
preposition uses, productive uses versus collocations, multi-lingual
descriptions: mismatches, incorporation, divergences.  Prepositions
and thematic roles, prepositions in semantic frameworks
(e.g. Framenet.).

- Cognitive or logic-based formalisms for the description of the
semantics of prepositions, in isolation, and in
composition/confrontation with the verb and the NP.  Compositional
semantics. Logical and reasoning aspects.

- The role of prepositions in applications, in particular:
   * in machine translation
   * in information extraction
   * in lexicalization in language generation.

- Corpus-based studies that support or challenge any of the approaches
described above.

- Lexical knowledge bases and prepositions. Prepositions in AI, KR and
in reasoning procedures.


Submission deadline: April 18th, 2003
Notification to authors: May 30th, 2003
Final paper due   July 1st      (a book publication is under preparation)
Registration preferably before July 7th. (to be confirmed)
Registration frees will be kept as low as possible, around 100 Euros with

Programme Committee:

Pushpak Bhattacharyya (IIT Mumbai)
Harry Bunt (Tilburg)
Nicoletta Calzolari (Pisa)
Bonnie Dorr (Maryland)
Christiane Fellbaum (Princeton)
Claire Gardent (CNRS Nancy)
Betsy Klipple (Upenn)
Alda Mari (ENST Paris)
Palmira Marraffa (Lisboa)
Martha Palmer (Upenn)
James Pustejovsky (Brandeis)
Patrick Saint-Dizier (Chair, IRIT, Toulouse)
Gloria Vazquez (Lerida)
Laure Vieu (IRIT, Toulouse)

Contacts :
Submissions and inquiries : stdizier at
  send also submissions to: patrick_saintdizier at
Local organizing committee : Farah Benamara, Patrick Saint-Dizier
WEB site (under preparation):

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