Intra‐sentential context effects on the interpretation of logical metonymy⋆

Cognitive Science 27 (4):649-668 (2003)
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Abstract

Verbs such as enjoy in the student enjoyed the book exhibit logical metonymy: enjoy is interpreted as enjoy reading. Theoreticalwork [Computational Linguistics 17 (4) (1991) 409; The Generative Lexicon, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995] predicts that this interpretation can be influenced by intra‐sentential context, e.g., by the subject of enjoy. In this article, we test this prediction using a completion experiment and find that the interpretation of a metonymic verb is influenced by the semantic role of its subject. We present a Bayesian model that accounts for the interpretation of logical metonymy and achieves a good fit on our experimental data. We show that the parameters of the model can be estimated from completion data or from corpus data.

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