The Semantics of Evaluational Adjectives: Perspectives from Natural Semantic Metalanguage and Appraisal

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 
Date created: 
2017
Keywords: 
Lexical semantics
Evaluation
Appraisal
Attitude
Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM)
Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)
Semantic template
Sentiment analysis
Abstract: 

We apply the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach (Goddard & Wierzbicka 2014) to the lexical-semantic analysis of English evaluational adjectives and compare the results with the picture developed in the Appraisal Framework (Martin & White 2005). The analysis is corpus-assisted, with examples mainly drawn from film and book reviews, and supported by collocational and statistical information from WordBanks Online. We propose NSM explications for 15 evaluational adjectives, arguing that they fall into five groups, each of which corresponds to a distinct semantic template. The groups can be sketched as follows: “First-person thought-plus-affect”, e.g. wonderful; “Experiential”, e.g. entertaining; “Experiential with bodily reaction”, e.g. gripping; “Lasting impact”, e.g. memorable; “Cognitive evaluation”, e.g. complex, excellent. These groupings and semantic templates are compared with the classifications in the Appraisal Framework’s system of Appreciation. In addition, we are particularly interested in sentiment analysis, the automatic identification of evaluation and subjectivity in text. We discuss the relevance of the two frameworks for sentiment analysis and other language technology applications.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
Rights: 
Rights remain with the authors.
File(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
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