Like finding a needle in a haystack: Annotating the American national corpus for idiomatic expressions

Laura Street, Nathan Michalov, Rachel Silverstein, Michael Reynolds, Lurdes Ruela, Felicia Flowers, Angela Talucci, Priscilla Pereira, Gabriella Morgon, Samantha Siegel, Marci Barousse, Antequa Anderson, Tashom Carroll, Anna Feldman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper presents the details of a pilot study in which we tagged portions of the American National Corpus (ANC) for idioms composed of verb-noun constructions, prepositional phrases, and subordinate clauses. The three data sets we analyzed included 1, 500-sentence samples from the spoken, the non-fiction, and the fiction portions of the ANC. This paper provides the details of the tagset we developed, the motivation behind our choices, and the inter-annotator agreement measures we deemed appropriate for this task. In tagging the ANC for idiomatic expressions, our annotators achieved a high level of agreement (<.80) on the tags but a low level of agreement (>.00) on what constituted an idiom. These findings support the claim that identifying idiomatic and metaphorical expressions is a highly difficult and subjective task. In total, 135 idiom types and 154 idiom tokens were identified. Based on the total tokens found for each idiom class, we suggest that future research on idiom detection and idiom annotation include prepositional phrases as this class of idioms occurred frequently in the nonfiction and spoken samples of our corpus.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2010
EditorsDaniel Tapias, Irene Russo, Olivier Hamon, Stelios Piperidis, Nicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Joseph Mariani, Helene Mazo, Bente Maegaard, Jan Odijk, Mike Rosner
PublisherEuropean Language Resources Association (ELRA)
Pages647-653
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)2951740867, 9782951740860
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Event7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2010 - Valletta, Malta
Duration: 17 May 201023 May 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2010

Other

Other7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2010
CountryMalta
CityValletta
Period17/05/1023/05/10

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Street, L., Michalov, N., Silverstein, R., Reynolds, M., Ruela, L., Flowers, F., ... Feldman, A. (2010). Like finding a needle in a haystack: Annotating the American national corpus for idiomatic expressions. In D. Tapias, I. Russo, O. Hamon, S. Piperidis, N. Calzolari, K. Choukri, J. Mariani, H. Mazo, B. Maegaard, J. Odijk, ... M. Rosner (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2010 (pp. 647-653). (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2010). European Language Resources Association (ELRA).