Contextual influences on near-synonym choice

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9 Citations (Scopus)


One of the least understood aspects of lexical choice in Natural Language Generation is choosing between near-synonyms. Previous studies of this issue, such as Edmonds and Hirst [4], have focused on semantic differences between near-synonyms, as analysed by lexicographers. Our empirical analysis of near-synonym choice in weather forecasts, however, suggests that other factors are probably more important than semantic differences. These include preferences and idiosyncrasies of individual authors; collocation; variation of lexical usage; and position of a lexeme in a text. Our analysis also suggests that when semantic differences do influence near-synonym choice, they may do so in an author-dependent manner. Thus, at least in our domain, 'context' (including author) seems to be more important than semantics when choosing between near-synonyms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Third International Conference on Natural Language Generation (INLG)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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