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Metaphor: A Computational Perspective

Synthesis Lectures on Human Language Technologies

Tony Veale​‌
University College Dublin
Ekaterina Shutova​‌
University of Cambridge
Beata Beigman Klebanov​‌
Educational Testing Service


The literary imagination may take flight on the wings of metaphor, but hard-headed scientists are just as likely as doe-eyed poets to reach for a metaphor when the descriptive need arises. Metaphor is a pervasive aspect of every genre of text and every register of speech, and is as useful for describing the inner workings of a "black hole" (itself a metaphor) as it is the affairs of the human heart. The ubiquity of metaphor in natural language thus poses a significant challenge for Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems and their builders, who cannot afford to wait until the problems of literal language have been solved before turning their attention to figurative phenomena. This book offers a comprehensive approach to the computational treatment of metaphor and its figurative brethren—including simile, analogy, and conceptual blending—that does not shy away from their important cognitive and philosophical dimensions. Veale, Shutova, and Beigman Klebanov approach metaphor from multiple computational perspectives, providing coverage of both symbolic and statistical approaches to interpretation and paraphrase generation, while also considering key contributions from philosophy on what constitutes the "meaning" of a metaphor. This book also surveys available metaphor corpora and discusses protocols for metaphor annotation. Any reader with an interest in metaphor, from beginning researchers to seasoned scholars, will find this book to be an invaluable guide to what is a fascinating linguistic phenomenon.

Table of Contents: Preface / Introducing Metaphor / Computational Approaches to Metaphor: Theoretical Foundations / Artificial Intelligence and Metaphor / Metaphor Annotation / Knowledge Acquisition and Metaphor / Statistical Approaches to Metaphor / Applications of Metaphor Processing / Conclusions / Bibliography / Authors' Biographies

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Cited by

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Parastoo Harati, Chris Westbury, Milad Kiaee​‌. (2021) Evaluating the predication model of metaphor comprehension: Using word2vec to model best/worst quality judgments of 622 novel metaphors. Behavior Research Methods 53:5, 2214-2225.
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Marianna Bolognesi​‌. 2020. Where Words Get their Meaning. Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research.
Tony Veale, Rafael Pérez y Pérez​‌. (2020) Leaps and Bounds: An Introduction to the Field of Computational Creativity. New Generation Computing 38:4, 551-563.
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Tony Veale​‌. (2020) Changing channels: divergent approaches to the creative streaming of texts. Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence 88:5-6, 439-456.
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Chengpeng Fu, Jinqiang Wang, Jitao Sang, Jian Yu, Changsheng Xu​‌. 2020. Beyond Literal Visual Modeling: Understanding Image Metaphor Based on Literal-Implied Concept Mapping. MultiMedia Modeling, 111-123.
Mateusz Babieno, Rafal Rzepka, Kenji Araki​‌. 2020. , 181.
Alessandro Bondielli, Gianluca E. Lebani, Lucia C. Passaro, Alessandro Lenci​‌. 2020. CAPISCO @ CONcreTEXT 2020: (Un)supervised Systems to Contextualize Concreteness with Norming Data. EVALITA Evaluation of NLP and Speech Tools for Italian - December 17th, 2020, 327-333.
Marianna Bolognesi, Kristina Š. Despot​‌. 2019. Fantastic metaphors and where to find them. Metaphor and Metonymy in the Digital Age, 1-19.
Tony Veale​‌. 2019. Chapter 3. Metaphor in the age of mechanical production. Metaphor and Metonymy in the Digital Age, 75-98.
Kristina Š. Despot, Mirjana Tonković, Mario Essert, Mario Brdar, Benedikt Perak, Ana Ostroški Anić, Bruno Nahod, Ivan Pandžić​‌. 2019. Chapter 5. MetaNet.HR. Metaphor and Metonymy in the Digital Age, 123-146.
W. Gudrun Reijnierse, Christian Burgers, Marianna Bolognesi, Tina Krennmayr​‌. (2019) How Polysemy Affects Concreteness Ratings: The Case of Metaphor. Cognitive Science 43:8.
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Yulia Badryzlova, Polina Panicheva​‌. 2018. A Multi-feature Classifier for Verbal Metaphor Identification in Russian Texts. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language, 23-34.
Tony Veale​‌. 2018. Metaphors of Creativity. ICT Innovations 2016, 21-40.
Tony Veale, Hanyang Chen, Guofu Li​‌. 2017. I Read the News Today, Oh Boy. Distributed, Ambient and Pervasive Interactions, 696-709.

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Tony Veale
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Beata Beigman Klebanov
figurative language processing
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