Two set-theoretic approaches to the semantics of adjective-noun combinations.

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Computer Science

First Advisor

Frost, R.


Computer Science.




This work addresses the problem of adjective-noun combinations. Conventionally, adjectives belong to a hierarchy. This has the consequence that a uniform treatment of adjectives is unattainable---without resorting to notions such as possible worlds, which are difficult to map into competent computer programs. In this work, we propose two set-theoretic approaches to the semantics of adjective-noun combinations. The first hypothesizes that an adjective-noun compound is a subset of its constituent noun. The second hypothesizes that the adjective-noun combinations can semantically be thought of as a set intersection involving the adjective(s) and the head noun of the compound. This work argues that the class of adjectives known as "privative" can be accommodated within an existing class in the adjective hierarchy, known as "subsective". This step is important for the provision of uniform treatments of adjective-noun combinations. The two approaches make use of types, both for gaining a finer "granularity" of analysis and for imposing structure on the problem domain. It is shown that the "mixture" of a typing system with set theory provides promising results that are manifested in the provision of compositional solutions to the adjective-noun combinations. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2003 .A24. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 43-01, page: 0229. Adviser: Richard Frost. Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.