NP Animacy Identification for Anaphora Resolution

C. Orasan and R. J. Evans

In anaphora resolution for English, animacy identification can play an integral role in the application of agreement restrictions between pronouns and candidates, and as a result, can improve the accuracy of anaphora resolution systems. In this paper, two methods for animacy identification are proposed and evaluated using intrinsic and extrinsic measures. The first method is a rule-based one which uses information about the unique beginners in WordNet to classify NPs on the basis of their animacy. The second method relies on a machine learning algorithm which exploits a WordNet enriched with animacy information for each sense. The effect of word sense disambiguation on the two methods is also assessed. The intrinsic evaluation reveals that the machine learning method reaches human levels of performance. The extrinsic evaluation demonstrates that animacy identification can be beneficial in anaphora resolution, especially in the cases where animate entities are identified with high precision.


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