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LexFr: Adapting the LexIt Framework to Build a Corpus-Based French Subcategorization Lexicon



This paper introduces LexFr, a corpus-based French lexical resource built by adapting the framework LexIt, originally developed to describe the combinatorial potential of Italian predicates. As in the original framework, the behavior of a group of target predicates is characterized by a series of syntactic (i.e., subcategorization frames) and semantic (i.e., selectional preferences) statistical information (a.k.a. distributional profiles) whose extraction process is mostly unsupervised. The first release of LexFr includes information for 2,493 verbs, 7,939 nouns and 2,628 adjectives. In these pages we describe the adaptation process and evaluated the final resource by comparing the information collected for 20 test verbs against the information available in a gold standard dictionary. In the best performing setting, we obtained 0.74 precision, 0.66 recall and 0.70 F-measure.
LexFr: Adapting the LexIt Framework to Build
a Corpus-Based French Subcategorization Lexicon
Giulia Rambelli, Gianluca E. Lebani, Laurent Pr´
evot, Alessandro Lenci
Computational Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pisa, via Santa Maria, 36, Pisa (Italy)
Aix-Marseille University, avenue Pasteur, 5, Aix-en-Provence (France),,,
This paper introduces LexFr, a corpus-based French lexical resource built by adapting the framework LexIt, originally developed to
describe the combinatorial potential of Italian predicates. As in the original framework, the behavior of a group of target predicates is
characterized by a series of syntactic (i.e., subcategorization frames) and semantic (i.e., selectional preferences) statistical information
(a.k.a. distributional profiles) whose extraction process is mostly unsupervised. The first release of LexFr includes information for
2,493 verbs, 7,939 nouns and 2,628 adjectives. In these pages we describe the adaptation process and evaluated the final resource
by comparing the information collected for 20 test verbs against the information available in a gold standard dictionary. In the best
performing setting, we obtained 0.74 precision, 0.66 recall and 0.70 F-measure.
Keywords: Automatic Lexical Acquisition, Subcategorization, Selectional Preferences, Evaluation of Lexical Resources
1. Introduction
From the very beginning of the Natural Language Process-
ing (NLP) enterprise, a crucial research topic has been the
development of (semi-) automatic methods to build or en-
rich lexical resources. It didn’t take long to realize that the
accuracy advantage of the traditionally hand-built resources
were counterbalanced by the higher cost-effectiveness and
flexibility of the automatic methods, features that come
in handy especially for languages, domains of topics for
which hand-built resources are not available or are just too
limited in their scope.
Among the several kinds of information that can be in-
cluded in a lexicon, the description of linguistic entities
at the syntax-semantic interface proved to be useful for
many traditional Natural Language Processing tasks such
as word-sense disambiguation, machine translation, knowl-
edge extraction (Schulte im Walde, 2009; Korhonen, 2009),
so that the automatic acquisition of argument structure in-
formation is a long-standing topic in computational linguis-
tics. By embracing the theoretical assumption that the se-
mantics of a predicate and the morpho-syntactic realization
of its arguments are intimately related (Levin, 1993; Bres-
nan, 1996; Roland and Jurafsky, 2002; Levin and Rappa-
port Hovav, 2005), the last thirty years have witnessed the
development of automatic methods for the identification of
verb subcategorization frames (Korhonen et al., 2006; Mes-
siant et al., 2008; Schulte im Walde, 2009), selectional pref-
erences (Resnik, 1996; Light and Greiff, 2002; Erk et al.,
2010) and diathesis alternation (McCarthy, 2001).
The literature reports few examples of automatically built,
wide coverage, lexica encoding this information, a.k.a.
combinatorial lexica, among which notable mentions in-
clude VALEX for English verbs (Korhonen et al., 2006),
LexSchem from French verbs (Messiant et al., 2008) and
LexIt for Italian verbs, nouns and adjectives (Lenci et al.,
2012). These resources represent a reference point for the
work presented in these pages, where we investigated the
possibility to automatically extract distributional informa-
tion about French predicates by adapting an existing frame-
work, LexIt. This led to the realization of LexFr, an au-
tomatically built French lexicon describing the syntactic
and semantic properties of the argument structures of 2,493
verbs, 7,939 nouns and 2,628 adjectives. As in the origi-
nal framework, the behavior of a group of target predicates
is characterized by a series of statistical information (a.k.a.
distributional profiles) whose extraction process is mostly
These pages are organized as follows: we begin with a
quick review of the existing French conbinatorial lexica;
sections 3 and 4 describes the LexIt framework and its adap-
tation to French; section 5 describes the resulting resource,
which we evaluated by comparing 20 test verbs against a
gold standard dictionary; we will conclude by reporting
some possible improvements and ongoing research.
2. French Combinatorial Lexica
With few exceptions, most of the currently available French
combinatorial lexica are hand-built. These resources dif-
fer in terms of coverage, granularity, formalization, argu-
ment/adjunct identification and reference linguistic theory
(Sagot and Danlos, 2012). Examples include:
Maurice Gross’ Lexicon-Grammar (Gross, 1975): an
electronic dictionary containing a systematic descrip-
tion of syntactic and semantic properties of verbs,
nouns and adjectives. This lexicon is organized into
tables, each table describing the syntactic and seman-
tic properties of a particular syntactic construction and
listing the lexical items showing each construction.
Only part of this resource is publicly available.
the Lexique des Verbes Franc¸ais (Dubois and Dubois-
Charlier, 1997) is a dictionary encoding several kinds
of semantic and syntactic information pertaining to
12,130 verbs: class, meaning, linguistic domain,
conjugation and auxiliary, syntax of verb (transi-
tive/intransitive, subcategorization frame, etc.), mor-
phological derivation, sample sentences. A crucial as-
pect of this resource is its being centered around the
notion of syntactically-characterized semantic verb
class, thus exploiting the idea that the syntactic be-
havior of a predicate reflects some key aspects of its
semantics (Levin, 1993). Accordingly, the thesaurus-
like structure of this resource is organized over 5 levels
of classification, the more general one distinguishing
between 14 semantic classes.
Dicovalence (van den Eynde and Mertens, 2010) is a
valency lexicon containing information for more than
3,700 verbs. It is based on the pronominal approach
(van den Eynde and Blanche-Benveniste, 1978), a re-
search method that treats pronouns as semantic prim-
itives due to the purely linguistic nature and finite in-
ventory of this lexical class. Accordingly, in this re-
source valence slots are characterized by the set of ac-
cepted pronouns, which subsume the possible lexical-
izations of that slot.
The Lexique des Formes Fl´
echies du Franc¸ais, a.k.a
Lefff (Sagot, 2010), is a semi-automatically built mor-
phological and syntactic lexicon. The several manual
validation, correction and extension steps needed to
build this resource led some authors to describe it as
“an automatically acquired morphological lexicon [...]
which has been manually supplemented with partial
syntactic information” (Messiant et al., 2008). Version
3.0.1 of this resource describes more than 110k lexi-
cal elements, among which 6,825 verbs, 37,530 nouns
and 10,483 adjectives. Its lexical framework, Alex-
ina (Architecture pour les LEXiques INformatiques et
leur Acquisition), has been successfully exploited to
create Lefff -like resource in other languages such as
Italian and Dutch.
Well known issues with hand-built resources include their
coverage, their laborious and time-intensive population and
maintenance, as well as the lack of statistical informa-
tion concerning the described phenomena (e.g., the like-
lihood of a certain subcategorization frame for a given
verb). Projects like TreeLex (Kup´
c and Abeill´
e, 2008) and
LexSchem (Messiant et al., 2008) have been developed to
plug such a gap.
TreeLex is a valence lexicon for French verbs (Kup´
c and
e, 2008) automatically built from a newspaper tree-
bank composed by 5 years of the French newspaper ‘Le
Monde’. In this resource, the combinatorial behavior of ap-
proximately 2,000 verbs is described by means of an inven-
tory of 160 subcategorization frames. Subsequent works by
the same authors tested the possibility to expand TreeLex to
report the cooccurrence statistics of approximately 2,000
adjectives into 40 subcategorization frames (Kup´
c, 2009).
To the best of our knowledge, such an extension has not
been implemented in the publicly available version of the
resource. As pointed out by Messiant et al. (2008), a major
drawback of the TreeLex framework lays in its reliance on
manual effort, namely in the need for manual correction of
the output of the automatic module.
LexSchem has been the first automatically built lexical re-
source characterizing the subcategorization behavior of a
large set of French verbs (Messiant et al., 2008). This
information has been extracted by using ASSCI (Mes-
siant, 2008), a subcategorization frames acquisition system
whose main task is to extract all the patterns for each target
verb and exploit a MLE-based strategy (see section 5) to
identify the more plausible set of subcategorization frames.
By applying ASSCI to a newspaper corpus composed by
10 years of the French newspaper ‘Le Monde’, 336 sub-
categorization frames have been isolated and used to de-
scribe the combinatorial behavior of 3,297 French verbs.
The goodness of the LexSchem framework has been tested
by comparing the entries for 20 test verbs against a gold
standard dictionary, thus showing 0.79 precision, 0.55 re-
call and 0.65 F-measure.
Apart from their cost-effectiveness, a crucial advantage
of the information available in resources like TreeLex and
LexSchem over the traditional, hand-built lexica lays in their
encoding of frequency-based information such as the joint
frequency of each verb and subcategorization frame. Major
drawbacks of these resources, when compared with frame-
works like LexIt (see below), are their being limited to ver-
bal valencies and the lack of semantic information like se-
lectional preferences and semantic roles.
3. The LexIt Framework
LexIt (Lenci et al., 2012) is both a computational system,
as well as an on-line database1containing distributional in-
formation of Italian verbs, nouns and adjectives. In this
resource, the linguistic annotation available in a parsed cor-
pus is processed in order to describe the combinatorial be-
havior of a set of target predicates by means of distribu-
tional profiles, a data structure that blends different kinds
of statistical information, and that is further articulated into
syntactic profiles and semantic profiles.
3.1. Syntactic Profiles
The syntactic profile of a given target predicate character-
izes the statistical association between the predicate and all
the syntactic arguments (a.k.a. syntactic slots: e.g., sub-
ject, object, complements, modifiers, etc.) and subcate-
gorization frames (SCFs) with which it occurs. In LexIt,
arguments and adjuncts are treated alike, so that a SCF
represents an unordered pattern of syntactic dependencies
headed by the target predicate, and it is labeled by con-
catenating its atomic slots names with the symbol “#”. For
instance, the simple transitive SCF composed by a subject
and an object is marked as subj#obj.
Due to the different syntactic behavior of parts of speech,
the inventory of syntactic slots in LexIt is mostly PoS-
dependent, except for the following argument slots that are
common to all predicates:
complements are labeled as comp, with “*” ranging
over prepositions: e.g. comp`
a, for the complement
introduced by the preposition `
1available at
infinitives are labeled as inf, with “*” ranging over
prepositions: e.g. infde for the infinitive introduced
by the preposition de (“of”);
finite clauses are labeled as fin, with “*” ranging
over prepositions: e.g. e.g. infque for the infinitive
introduced by the preposition que (“that”).
Table 1 lists the PoS-dependent argument slots that can ap-
pear in a SCF. Syntactic dependencies that are extracted
but that are not represented in the SCFs are those involv-
ing verbal (modver), adverbial (modadv) and adjectival
(modadj) modifiers.
PoS Label Argument Slot
0zero argument construction
subj subject
obj direct object
se reflexive pronoun
cpred predicative complement
0zero argument construction
pred the verb bearing the target as a
mod-post modified noun occurring after
the target
mod-pre modified noun occurring
before the target
Table 1: PoS-specific SFC argument slots in LexIt
The following examples shows some possible argument re-
alizations of the verb promettre (“to promise”):
1. Je promis (`
a Anne) de faire l’impossible
“I promised to Anne to do the impossible”
2. Le soldat promet la vie sauve `
a son camarade
“The soldier promised his comrade to save his life”
3. Jean se promit de se corriger
“John promised to correct himself”
3.2. Semantic Profiles
The semantic profile of a given target predicate enriches the
information contained in its syntactic profile by character-
the lexical set of the typical lexical items filling each
syntactic slot;
the semantic classes of these same lexical items, to
characterize the selectional preferences of syntactic
Following Hanks and Pustejovsky (2005), a lexical set can
be defined as the list of lemmas that frequently occur with
a given target predicate in a given slot. For instance, the
elements that can fill the object position of the verb lire (“to
read”) in sentence (4) are article,libre or avis, while the
lexical set for the indirect object position associated with
the verb communiquer (“to talk to”) in sentence (5) are ami,
avocat or b´
4. Jean lisait un {article, libre, avis}
“Jean was reading a {article, book, advertisement}
5. Il a communiqu´
e avec un {ami, avocat, b´
“He talked to a {friend, lawyer, baby}
In LexIt, lexical sets are used to infer the semantic classes
of the prototypical fillers of each semantic role of a SCF,
by exploiting a variation of the algorithm proposed by
Schulte im Walde (2006), that exploits WordNet super-
senses (Fellbaum, 1998) as the reference inventory of se-
mantic classes: AC T,AN IM AL ,A RTI FACT,ATTRIB UT E,
In this way, the selectional preferences that can be inferred
from the lexical sets in sentence (4) can be characterized as:
6. [PE RSO N]subj
If lexical sets describe the behavior of verbs as observed in
a corpus, selectional preferences make an important gener-
alization over the semantic properties of arguments.
3.3. A Resource on Italian Argument Structure
The database described by Lenci et al. (2012) has been built
by applying the LexIt framework to the ‘La Repubblica’
(Baroni et al., 2004) corpus (ca. 331 millions tokens) and
to a dump of the Italian section of Wikipedia (ca. 152 mil-
lions of tokens). The resulting dataset in the former setting
encodes 3,873 verbs, 12,766 nouns and 5,559 adjectives,
while the latter setting resulted in the characterization of
2,831 verbs and 11,056 nouns.
The LexIt extracted methodology has been evaluated by
comparing the SCF frames available in three gold stan-
dard dictionaries for 100 test verbs against those automati-
cally extracted from the ‘La Repubblica’ corpus, filtered by
exploiting either a MLE-based threshold or a LMI-based
threshold (see section 5). In the MLE-based setting, the
authors reported 0.69-0.78 precision, 0.91-0.97 recall and
0.78-0.82 F-measure; while in the LMI-based setting the
system obtained 0.77-0.82 precision, 0.92-0.96 recall and
0.84-0.85 F-measure.
4. Adapting the LexIt Framework to French
When compared with other state-of-the-art extraction mod-
els, the LexIt framework has a series of advantages, among
which those that are crucial for our purposes are:
the fact that the most salient frames are identified in
a unsupervised manner. That is, it is not based on a
pre-compiled list of valid SCFs, as it is the case for
the VALEX model;
the fact that this methodology can be applied to differ-
ent parts of speech;
the fact that it is an open and parameterizable frame-
work, easily adaptable to novel languages or domains.
The acquisition framework consists of three modules: a de-
pendency extractor, which extracts pattern for each target
verbs; a subcategorization frame identifier, which filters
patterns and extract lemmas associated to each argument
position; and a profile builder, which finally builds the com-
plete distributional profile. The process of adaptation to
French affected only the first module.
4.1. Dependency Extractor
The goal of the first module is to analyze a dependency-
parsed corpus in order to identify the occurrences of each
predicate and to extract, for each occurrence with: the list
of dependencies headed by the target predicate; the lexi-
cal elements filling each syntactic position. This process is
carried out by an algorithm developed to filter and interpret
the linguistic annotation available in the input. As a con-
sequence, the design of this algorithm is strictly dependent
on the properties of the linguistic annotation available in the
corpus. Furthermore, we agree with those scholars (Preiss
et al., 2007, inter alia) suggesting that the calibration of this
module on the behavior of the specific parser has the effect
of reducing the parser-specific bias in the input data.
In the original LexIt framework, data were extracted from
the linguistic annotation realized by the Part-Of-Speech
tagger described in Dell’Orletta (2009), together with the
dependency parser DeSR (Attardi and Dell’Orletta, 2009).
For this first release of LexFr, we tailored our extraction al-
gorithm on the annotation provided by Talismane, an open-
source suite of NLP tools proving a transition based sta-
tistical dependency parser (Urieli, 2013a; Urieli, 2013b).
Accordingly, our first step has focused on the development
of a set of specific pattern rules to:
extract simple dependency relations such as subject,
object, predicative complements, complements, fi-
nite and infinite clauses (and modifiers for verbs and
nouns), as well as complex dependencies mediated by
a preposition;
handle problematic phenomena like the conversion
of the passive diathesis, the identification of the an-
tecedents of relative pronouns and the lemmatization
of nominal predicates as ˆ
etre heureux (“to be happy”)
as a single lemma predicate-copula;
extract other morphosyntactically relevant informa-
tion, such as the presence of the reflexive pronoun se.
4.2. Subcategorization Frame Identifier
Data extracted in the first phase are processed in order to
select relevant target predicates and fillers. By default, this
is accomplished by resorting to a frequency threshold, but it
is possible to exploit a combination of whitelists and black-
lists to select only specific sets of lexical items.
The main goal of this step, however, is the identification
of the argument structure licensed by each predicate oc-
currence. Such a process requires a list of allowed SCFs,
sorted by frequency, that can be either selected by the user
or automatically created by computing the frequency of all
the possible slot combinations (e.g., subj#obj#comp`
a, etc.) attested in the corpus and
discarding those below a given frequency threshold.
By resorting to this list, our algorithm identifies the SCF li-
censed by each predicate in each sentence as the longest
and most frequent unordered concatenation of argument
slots. Notwithstanding its relative simplicity, this strategy
turned to be significantly effective to limit the influence of
both annotation errors (e.g., wrong syntactic parses) and
marginally relevant dependency patterns, often due to a id-
iosyncratic sequences of adjuncts in a sentence.
4.3. Profiler
In the last steps, the system elaborates the distributional in-
formation filtered in the first two modules to build the final
distributional profiles. From the output of the second mod-
ule, this is obtained by:
categorizing the fillers into WordNet supersenses
by following the general methodology described by
Resnik (1996). To extract the candidate synsets and
general classes we resorted to the Wordnet Libre du
Franc¸ais lexicon (Sagot and Fiˇ
ser, 2008) available in
the Open Multilingual WordNet repository (Bond and
Paik, 2012; Bond and Foster, 2013);
aggregating the single co-occurrence for each infor-
mation of interest (i.e., slots, SCFs, fillers, semantic
classes), thus collecting, for each predicate of interest,
its joint frequency with: 1. each SCF; 2. each slot (in
isolation or in the context of each SCF) ; 3. each filler
for given a slot (in isolation or in the context of each
SCF) ; 4. each semantic class (in isolation or in the
context of each SCF).
calculating the strength of association to be loaded
in the distributional profiles. Various weighting mea-
sures can be selected, among which relative frequency
and common association measures (Evert, 2009).
5. A French Distributional Lexicon
Table 3 summarizes the lexical coverage of the current re-
lease of our French resource LexFr lexicon, including dis-
tributional knowledge extracted from FrWaC, a 90M tokens
web corpus developed in the context of the WaCKy project
(Baroni et al., 2009) and automatically annotated with the
Talismane toolkit (Urieli, 2013a).
Following the design feature adopted in the Italian resource,
we used Local Mutual Information (Evert, 2009, LMI) to
weight the combinatorial properties of our target predicates
with respect to a given context (e.g. a SCF, a slot, a filler...):
LMI(ci, wj) = f(ci, wj)log2
p(ci, wj)
where f(ci, wj)is the joint frequency of the predicate wj
with the context ci,p(ci, wj)is the joint probability of these
entities, and p(wj)and p(ci)are the marginal probabilities
LexFr with LexSchem SCFs LexFr with unsupervised SCFs
subj#infde 1388.93 subj#infde 1390.15
a683.06 subj#obj#comp`
a#infde 420.8 subj#comp`
a#infde 420.8
a248.9 subj#comp`
a#finque 220.63
subj#si#infde 164.37 subj#si#infde 151.47
subj#comppar 80.21 subj#comp`
subj#obj#infde 53.40 subj#comppar 80.13
a#compde 4.94 subj#obj#infde 53.7
a#infde 4.79 subj#finque 43.93
subj#obj#comppar 1.92 subj#si#finque 11.47
Table 2: syntactic profiles for the verb promettre (“to promise”) built by exploiting two different sets of SCFs: an inventory
extracted from LexSchem (left) vs. an automatically created list (right).
Part of Speech no of lemmas no of SCFs
verbs 2,493 99
nouns 7,939 99
adjectives 2,628 52
Table 3: distribution of target predicates and number of
SCFs in LexFr (minimum frequency = 100)
of the predicate and of the context, respectively. LMI cor-
responds to the Pointwise Mutual Information (Church and
Hanks, 1991, PMI) between the predicate and the context
weighted by their joint frequency, and differs from PMI in
avoiding the bias towards low-frequency events.
Table 2 reports two different sorted list of SCFs associ-
ated with the verb verb promettre (“to promise”): the left
one is based on an inventory of 88 SCFs extracted from
LexSchem; the right one is instead based on a list of 99
SCFs automatically extracted from FrWaC. By using LMI,
we are able to see which verb-SCF pairs occur with a fre-
quency that is higher that what could be expected if the verb
and the frame were independent. For instance, while the
verb promettre occurs with the zero-argument construction
more times (frequency=815) than with the subj#infde
and the subj#obj#comp`
aframes (465 and 334 times,
respectively), the low association score (LMI = -125.74 in
the LexSchem setting) is a strong indication that the zero-
argument construction is not relevant to describe the syn-
tactic behavior of our target verb.
Moreover, the comparison between the results of the two
settings reported in Table 2 seems to suggest is that the
choice between the two SCFs lists does not dramatically
change the syntactic representation extracted from the cor-
pus: the lists of the top-associated SCFs are very similar
in the two settings, and so are the association values of the
SCFs, the only significant difference being the presence of
the subj#comp`
a#finque SCF in the unsupervised set-
ting. Needless to say, a more extended test of this conclu-
sion is needed. As a design choice, in the release version of
LexFr we opted for the totally unsupervised setting.
Table 4 depicts part of the semantic profile (lexical set
and selectional preferences) for the complement intro-
duced by `
a (“to”) for the verb promettre within the frame
a. As stated by Lenci et al. (2012), this
information has a twofold function: descriptive and predic-
tive. Its descriptive role is fulfilled by the fillers ability to
provide a sort of snapshot of the most representative words
that co-occur with a predicate in a given slot. The char-
acterization of the semantic classes of these fillers, on the
other side, allows us to make predictions about possibly un-
seen fillers and to represent general semantic constrains on
predicate slots.
5.1. Evaluation
In order to test the goodness of the subcategorization in-
formation available in LexFr, we evaluated the SCFs ex-
tracted by our system for a subset of 20 randomly sampled
verbs (with frequency 400: see Appendix) against those
attested in the other automatic extracted French lexicon,
LexSchem. To compare the two lexicons, the LexSchem
SCF format was converted into the LexFr format.
It is common practice to evaluate SCF extraction methods
by filtering the output SCFs types with respect to some sta-
tistical scores, in order to filter out irrelevant frames (Ko-
rhonen, 2002). As an evaluation measure, we computed
precision (the proportion of LexFr SCFs that are attested in
the gold standard), recall (the proportion of LexSchem SCFs
that have been extracted by our system) and F-measure (i.e.
the harmonic mean of precision and recall). To rank and
filter our SCFs, we resorted to the following scores:
Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE), correspond-
ing to the relative frequency of a SCF with a target
frel(scfi, vj) = f(scfi, vj)
where f(scfi, vj)is the joint frequency of the verb vj
with the SCF scfi, while f(vj)is the number of verb
occurrences in the corpus;
LMI(scfi, vj): that is, the Local Mutual Information
between the verb vjand the SCF scfi.
Precision, recall and F-measure were calculated at increas-
ing thresholds of MLE and LMI. Figure 1 and Figure 2 plots
Lexical Set Selectional Preferencies
avenir (“future”) 264.60 PE RS ON 73.49
ere (“career”) 76.76 TIME 23.97
disciple (“pupil”) 17.64 A RTI FACT 14.92
electeur (“voter”) 16.20 QUAN TIT Y 3.07
ami (“friend”) 15.90 PLANT 1.13
e(“hungry man”) 8.85 EVENT 0.82
homme (“man”) 7.32 PROCESS 0.23
Table 4: semantic profile characterizing the complement introduced by `
aheld by the verb promettre (“to promise”) within
the frame subj#obj#comp`
F-measure values against increasing MLE and LMI thresh-
olds, respectively.
In the MLE-based setting, the best scores were recorded
with a relative frequency threshold around 0.15, where our
system precision, recall and F-measure scores are around
0.74, 0.66 and 0.70, respectively. The LMI-based setting,
on the other side, appears to be quite more complex, and the
best scores (0.59, 0.60, 0.60) are typically obtained with a
threshold between 100 and 200.
Overall, these results are consistent with those by Lenci et
al. (2012), and point towards the effectiveness of such sim-
ple techniques in their ability to filter out possible noisy
frames (Korhonen, 2002). Differently from the results of
the LexIt evaluation, we couldn’t find any advantage of re-
call over precision, and in some settings we even found ev-
idence of the inverse pattern (e.g. 0.74 precision vs 0.66 re-
call in the best MLE setting). We interpret this phenomenon
as the consequence of the different nature of the gold stan-
dards in the two evaluations: manually annotated in the case
of LexIt, automatically extracted in the case of LexFr.
More puzzling, on the other side, is the advantage of MLE
over LMI, especially when precision is involved. This is at
odd with the results by Lenci et al. (2012) and can be ac-
counted for in many ways: as a consequence of the nature
of LexSchem or of the small sample size of the evaluation;
as a suggestion of the inappropriateness of LMI and of as-
sociation measures in general when SCF-like structures are
involved. We leave such an issue open to future investiga-
tions, together with the evaluation of the other distributional
information extracted with LexFr.
6. Conclusion
The main purpose of our work was to show how the LexIt
framework could be easily adapted to other languages in
order to extract distributional profiles for verbs, nouns and
adjectives. The case reported in these pages pertains to
French, and the resulting combinatorial lexicon, LexFr, has
been evaluated by comparing the information extracted for
20 test verbs against the relevant information available in a
gold standard dictionary. The reported accuracy is in line
with the state-of-the-art, thus supporting the crosslingual
adaptability of the LexIt framework.
Ongoing work on this project includes:
exploiting the LexIt framework to extract domain-
relevant information;
MLE threshold
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3
Figure 1: SCF F-measure and MLE threshold
LMI threshold
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
0 200 400 600 800 1000
Figure 2: SCF F-measure and LMI threshold
testing the possibility to apply this framework to other
languages, including those more distant from romance
developing novel techniques to identify SCFs, weight
their statistical significance, and characterize selec-
tional preferences;
enriching the resources with distribution information
concerning MultiWord Expressions.
7. Acknowledgements
The authors are grateful to dr. Franck Sajous for pro-
viding the parsed version of the FrWaC corpus. This
work received support from the CombiNet project (PRIN
2010-2011 Word Combinations in Italian: theoretical and
descriptive analysis, computational models, lexicographic
layout and creation of a dictionary, n. 20105B3HE8),
funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and
Research (MIUR).
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Appendix: List of test verbs
abaisser acheter boire
composer consid´
erer continuer
elaborer ´
equivaloir orienter
pleurer pr´
eserver pr´
qualifier raser remplir
eparer repasser retourner
efugier suspendre
... The approach consists in automatically infering subcategorization frames directly from the corpus, with or without a predefined list of possible frames. The literature reports a large number of automatically built subcategorization lexica, among which VALEX for English verbs (Korhonen et al., 2006), LexSchem and LexFr (Rambelli et al., 2016) for French verbs, LexIt for Italian verbs, nouns and adjectives (Lenci et al., 2012). SCFs ac-quisition has been investigated also for languages such as Chinese (Han et al., 2004) and Japanese (Marchal, 2015). ...
... The system adaptability was also tested by using different existing modules for French. The result was the LexFr lexicon (Rambelli et al., 2016), representing information for 2,493 verbs, 7,939 nouns and 2,628 adjectives extracted from FrWaC web corpus of 90M token (Baroni et al., 2009). The evaluation of the automatically acquired frames against a gold standard dictionary was in line with the state-of-the-art (0.74 precision, 0.66 recall and 0.70 F-measure), thus supporting the cross-lingual adaptability of the LexIt framework. ...
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