Many speakers, many worlds: Interannotator variations in the quantification of feature norms

Aurélie Herbelot, Eva Maria Vecchi


Abstract
Quantification (see e.g. Peters and Westerst ̊ahl, 2006) is probably one of the most extensively studied phenomena in formal semantics. But because of the specific representation of meaning assumed by modeltheoretic semantics (one where a true model of the world is a priori available), research in the area has primarily focused on one question: what is the relation of a quantifier to the truth value of a sentence? In contrast, relatively little has been said about the way the underlying model comes about, and its relation to individual speakers’ conceptual knowledge. In this paper, we make a first step in investigating how native speakers of English model relations between non-grounded sets, by observing how they quantify simple statements. We first give some motivation for our task, from both a theoretical linguistic and computational semantic point of view (§2). We then describe our annotation setup (§3) and follow on with an analysis of the produced dataset, conducting a quantitative evaluation which includes inter-annotator agreement for different classes of predicates (§4). We observe that there is significant agreement between speakers but also noticeable variations. We posit that in settheoretic terms, there are as many worlds as there are speakers (§5), but the overwhelming use of underspecified quantification in ordinary language covers up the individual differences that might otherwise be observed.
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2016.lilt-13.2
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Linguistic Issues in Language Technology, Volume 13, 2016
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2016
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LILT
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CSLI Publications
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https://aclanthology.org/2016.lilt-13.2
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Cite (ACL):
Aurélie Herbelot and Eva Maria Vecchi. 2016. Many speakers, many worlds: Interannotator variations in the quantification of feature norms. In Linguistic Issues in Language Technology, Volume 13, 2016. CSLI Publications.
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Many speakers, many worlds: Interannotator variations in the quantification of feature norms (Herbelot & Vecchi, LILT 2016)
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https://aclanthology.org/2016.lilt-13.2.pdf