Verb phrase (VP) ellipsis is the omission of a verb phrase whose meaning can be reconstructed from the linguistic or real-world context. It is licensed in English by auxiliary verbs, often modal auxiliaries: She can go to Hawaii but he can’t [e]. This paper describes a system called ViPER (VP Ellipsis Resolver) that detects and resolves VP ellipsis, relying on linguistic principles such as syntactic parallelism, modality correlations, and the delineation of core vs. peripheral sentence constituents. The key insight guiding the work is that not all cases of ellipsis are equally difficult: some can be detected and resolved with high confidence even before we are able to build systems with human-level semantic and pragmatic understanding of text.
This paper presents a cognitively-inspired algorithm for the semantic analysis of nominal compounds by intelligent agents. The agents, modeled within the OntoAgent environment, are tasked to compute a full context-sensitive semantic interpretation of each compound using a battery of engines that rely on a high-quality computational lexicon and ontology. Rather than being treated as an isolated “task”, as in many NLP approaches, nominal compound analysis in OntoAgent represents a minimal extension to the core process of semantic analysis. We hypothesize that seeking similarities across language analysis tasks reflects the spirit of how people approach language interpretation, and that this approach will make feasible the long-term development of truly sophisticated, human-like intelligent agents. The initial evaluation of our approach to nominal compounds are fixed expressions, requiring individual semantic specification at the lexical level.