[Corpora-List] Network analysis

Bob Parks bobp at clarityconnect.com
Wed Nov 12 23:25:53 CET 2008

Dom, Thanks for the link and the comments. The interesting point for me, as an educational lexicographer, is the possible link between the core nodes in a small world network developed from WordNet, and the norms for children's word learning. (See Steyvers & tenenbaum, "The Large-Scale Structure of Semantic Networks" http://web.mit.edu/cocosci/Papers/03nSteyvers.pdf ) These core nodes may work not just as "wormholes" for ambiguity, but also as focal points for vagueness. Vagueness is equally important, as illustrated by the coining of the term "gene" as an explanation for inherited traits long before anything was known about the underlying mechanisms. In the same way, core terms may operate as focal points for children, which are filled out in a spiral of increasing complexity as education proceeds.

Thanks, Bob

At 4:55 PM -0500 11/12/08, Dom Widdows wrote:
>Dear Albrecht,
>In general I share you skepticism about finding small world networks
>everywhere, it seems to have become quite the in thing. (I happen to
>know that there are more than 6 degrees of separation between myself
>and Julius Caesar.)
>However, I wouldn't be too hasty to use ambiguity as evidence against
>a networked model of the lexicon. A good piece of work that analyzed
>this can be found in the PNAS paper of Sigman and Cecch:
>Beate Dorow and I have worked on this over the years, Beate's
>dissertation and Chapter 4 of "Geometry and Meaning" summarize a lot
>of findings. During this time, I started referring to ambiguous words
>in graphs as "semantic wormholes" - the fact that "change" can refer
>to different things enables you to join very distant parts of semantic
>space in a couple of hops. Ambiguity actually contributes to the
>connectedness of the graph - the thing you have to give up is the
>notion of transitivity in relationships, or any kind of triangle
>inequality in measuring distance. Either you need to split all your
>ambiguous words into separate nodes in the graph, or alternatively,
>accept that if nodes represent words which are ambiguous, distances
>are not measuring anything like distances in a metric space.
>This phenomenon is often used in making jokes, as your change example
>Perhaps my favourite of these goes something like this:
>Eager Young Minister: "Day to day, I find all the inspiration I need
>in the words of John and Paul."
>Elderly Bishop: "I quite agree ... though in my old age I've also come
>to a fresh appreciation for the words of George and Ringo."
>I like this one particularly because you have two semantic wormhole
>nodes pivotting in phase with each other ... though I suspect this
>analysis would rather ruin the joke for most people (which I why I put
>the joke first!)
>Best wishes,
>On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 3:51 PM, Albretch Mueller <lbrtchx at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Even though small-world networks may suffice to model some network
>> connections, in general and in particular regarding linguistics, I
>> could simply see some, as they say, "questionable" issues regarding
>> the relationships among words, in a dictionary or in corpora, as
>> "small-worlds networks" and I would assume you mean the direct (,
>> naive) and straight word-to-word immediate connection of words. Here
>> are just two points:
>> ~
>> * researchers have long suspected that just immediate, consecutive
>> immediacy does not best describe NLs even if text and talk are are
>> sequential. This is one of the reasons why they use Syntax Trees
>> ~
>> * also, even if you would build a DS to describe the huge amount of
>> Direct (or inverted) Acyclic Graphs (ADGs) sprouting out of and
>> sinking into every word, many relationships stated and/or latent (yet
>> describable) happen while communicating which are neither direct nor
>> acyclic, e. g., jokes and metaphors
>> ~
>> The other day I saw a homeless person on the streets with a sign,
> > that read: "I am like Obama, I want change."
>> ~
>> change as meant by Obama: in the US government/society
>> ~
>> change as it pertains to money: a small amount (a few coins) you may spare
>> ~
>> Now, this person was using more than just a sentence -language- to
>> persuasively entertain a joke (, which could be read differently by
>> different kinds of people) and the relationship he expressed was quite
>> a bit more engaging than the Aristotelian, linear/proportional one in
>> "the spring of life ..." referring to our youth ...
>> ~
>> How well -if possibly- would SWNs model these NL expressions?
>> ~
>> lbrtchx
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-- * The best dictionary and integrated thesaurus on the web: http://www.wordsmyth.net * Robert Parks - Wordsmyth - (607) 272-2190 * "To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life." (LW) * "Philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it." (KM) * Community grows as we communicate, honing our words till their meanings tap the rich voice of our full human potential.

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