We focus on modeling understanding of natural language through computers with a central role for knowledge sources such as lexicons, ontologies and terminology. Our application perspective is text mining: technology that is used to automatically extract knowledge and information from text. This ranges from simple statements and fact, to events, storylines, to opinions and world-views.
Within this main research goal, we study and model the lexicon in all its facets. We consider the lexicon as a neural-cognitive product including epistemic and symbolic features. From this perspective, our research question is how these neural-cognitive systems develop and function when we learn and use language?
We also consider lexicons as a module for many computer applications that are knowledge-based. We are especially interested in the role of the lexicon as a bridge between form and meaning. Our research question here is: how can we anchor words and expressions to formalized meaning so that computers can simulate language understanding and effective communication?
A third research question relates to the acquisition of lexical knowledge from text-corpora, specifically terminology in specialized communities and context. What words are used, how they relate semantically, what their distribution is, how they collocate. We develop automatic techniques and methods to answer these questions.
Finally: we do all lexical and terminological research for multiple languages. An important project is the building of the Global Wordnet Grid: this project aims at representing many vocabularies of languages as semantic networks or wordnets and combining them through a universal index of meaning. Building and studying this grid will tell us more about universalities and idiosyncrasies of languages and likewise about the roles and functions of words and expressions.
The Computational Lexicology and Terminology Lab (CLTL) with Prof.Dr. Piek Vossen as director is part of the Department of Language, Literature and Communication of the Faculty of Humanities of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and of the Network Institute.