Appel: Workshop on Computational Approaches to Synonymy

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Wed Jun 16 08:53:23 UTC 2010

Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 11:08:51 -0400
From: Graeme Hirst <gh at>
Message-Id: <072DB34C-20DD-4FB0-822E-4F74C339E54C at>

Workshop on Computational Approaches to Synonymy
at the Symposium on Re-Thinking Synonymy, Helsinki, 28-30 October 2010


Many problems and applications in computational linguistics and
natural language processing implicitly invoke, in various forms, the
concept of synonymy or identity of meaning.  In one way or another,
they involve either determining identity (or non-identity) of meaning
in different surface forms or creating different surface forms for a
single meaning.

For example, paraphrase recognition is an important component of the
more-general problem of recognizing textual entailment.  Textual
tailoring and personalization seeks to find the most effective
linguistic realization of a message for a particular user;
automatically simplifying texts and creating stylistic variations are
special cases of this.  Lexical choice in text generation tries to
find the best word for a given meaning and to discriminate it from
other words that are close in meaning but not synonymous in the
context.  Cross-lingual document retrieval and other cross-lingual
applications such as, in particular, machine translation conflate the
ideas of synonymy and translation equivalence.

But while there has been a large amount of research on computational
methods for determining degree of similarity in lexical meaning and
for recognizing paraphrase, little attention has been given to
theoretical considerations of synonymy.  Mostly, it is treated as a
boolean property (two words are or aren't in the same synset; two
sentences are or aren't mutual entailments) with little thought of any
theoretical underpinning.

On the other hand, the real-world linguistic problems that natural
language processing addresses provide useful test cases for linguistic
theories of synonymy, and the computational methods developed are de
facto theories of synonymy even if not intended as such.

This workshop will explore computational approaches to synonymy, with
an emphasis on explicating their implicit theoretical notions and
their implications for linguistic theory.  Papers are solicited on the
following topics:

**  Computational theories of lexical, phrasal, and sentential
**  Principled methods of paraphrase recognition and generation.
**  Principled methods of text tailoring and stylistic variation.
**  Cross-lingual synonymy and machine translation.
**  Beyond the synset: Principles of synonymy in computational lexical

The following are not appropriate except insofar as they explicitly
address the topics above:

**  Yet another paraphrase-recognition or textual entailment system.
**  Yet another lexical similarity metric.
**  Yet another personalization or text-simplification system.

Submissions: Abstracts of up to 500 words should be submitted (as pdf
attachments) to synonymy at by 30 June 2010.  Decisions on
acceptance will be notified by 15 July 2010.

Organizers: Graeme Hirst (University of Toronto); Kentaro Inui (Tohoku
University); Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam).

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