Melissa Robinson


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Illegal is not a Noun: Linguistic Form for Detection of Pejorative Nominalizations
Alexis Palmer | Melissa Robinson | Kristy K. Phillips
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Abusive Language Online

This paper focuses on a particular type of abusive language, targeting expressions in which typically neutral adjectives take on pejorative meaning when used as nouns - compare ‘gay people’ to ‘the gays’. We first collect and analyze a corpus of hand-curated, expert-annotated pejorative nominalizations for four target adjectives: female, gay, illegal, and poor. We then collect a second corpus of automatically-extracted and POS-tagged, crowd-annotated tweets. For both corpora, we find support for the hypothesis that some adjectives, when nominalized, take on negative meaning. The targeted constructions are non-standard yet widely-used, and part-of-speech taggers mistag some nominal forms as adjectives. We implement a tool called NomCatcher to correct these mistaggings, and find that the same tool is effective for identifying new adjectives subject to transformation via nominalization into abusive language.