Semantic Analysis

Cliff Goddard and Andrea C. Schalley

In general linguistics, semantic analysis refers to analyzing the meanings of words, fixed expressions, whole sentences, and utterances in context. In practice, this means translating original expressions into some kind of semantic metalanguage. This chapter reviews a range of existing approaches to semantic interpretation and describes some of the hard challenges that still need to be addressed.

Bibtex Citation

    author = {Cliff Goddard and Andrea C. Schalley},
    title = {Semantic Analysis},
    booktitle = {Handbook of Natural Language Processing, Second Edition},
    editor = {Nitin Indurkhya and Fred J. Damerau},
    publisher = {CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group},
    address = {Boca Raton, FL},
    year = {2010},
    note = {ISBN 978-1420085921}

Supplementary Material

Online Resources

Stanford University Computational Semantics Laboratory
Wordnet: A lexical database for the English language
Global WordNet Association

Additional Readings

On meronomy

Research has questioned whether meronomic (part-whole) relations are primitive or uniform in nature:

Artale, Alessandro, Enrico Franconi, Nicola Guarino and Luca Pazzi. 1996. Part-whole relations in object-centered systems: An overview. Data & Knowledge Engineering 20 (3), 347–383.

Cruse, D. Alan. 1979. On the transitivity of the part-whole relation. Journal of Linguistics 15, 29–38.

Cruse, D. Alan. 1986. Lexical Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gerstl, Peter and Simone Pribbenow. 1995. Midwinters, end games, and body parts: A classification of part-whole relations. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 43 (5/6), 865–889.

Gerstl, Peter and Simone Pribbenow. 1996. A conceptual theory of part-whole relations and its applications. Data & Knowledge Engineering 20 (3), 305–322.

Henderson-Sellers, Brian and Franck Barbier. 1999a. Black and white diamonds. In Robert France and Bernhard Rumpe (eds.), UML’99 - The Unified Modeling Language: Beyond the standard. Second International Conference, Proceedings. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer, 550–565.

Henderson-Sellers, Brian and Franck Barbier 1999b. What is this thing called aggregation? In Richard Mitchell, Alan Cameron Wills, Jan Bosch and Bertrand Meyer (eds.), Technology of Object-Oriented Languages and Systems (TOOLS 29), Proceedings. Los Alamitos: IEEE Computer Society, 236–250.

Saksena, Monika, Maria Larrondo-Petrie, Robert France and Matthew Evett. 1998. Extending aggregation constructs in UML. In Jean Bezivin & Pierre-Alain Muller (eds.), The Unified Modeling Language, UML’98 – Beyond the Notation. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer, 273–280.

Simons, Peter. 1987. Parts: A Study in Ontology. Oxford: Clarendon.

Simons, Peter. 1991. Free part-whole theory. In Karel Lambert (ed.), Philosophical Applications of Free Logic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 285–306.

Varzi, Achille. 2008. Mereology. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), URL = <>.

Winston, Morton E., Roger Chaffin, Douglas J. Herrmann. 1987. A taxonomy of part-whole relations. Cognitive Science 11 (4), 417–444.