Corpus-Based Metonymy Analysis


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Corpus-Based Metonymy Analysis

Katja Markert and Malvina Nissim


In this article, we make the case for corpus-based metonymy analysis and show that
many interesting linguistic and statistical questions can only be answered byworking
with real texts. To facilitate such studies, we present a method for annotating metonymies in domain- and genre-independent text. We advocate an annotation scheme that builds on regularities in metonymic usage, that takes underspecification
in metonymic reference into account, and that is organized hierarchically. We combine
previous metonymy classification proposals with insights from a corpus study to
present a fullyworked-out annotation scheme for location names, illustrating the previously mentioned principles.We present several experiments measuring annotation
agreement and show that the annotation scheme is reliable and has wide coverage.
We also provide a gold standard for annotations of this kind consisting of 2,000 annotated occurrences of country names in the British National Corpus. We use the resulting corpus to study metonymy distributions and the factors that influence the choice of literal versus metonymic readings in real texts.