Learning Hypernyms : Assignment 8



Learning Hypernyms : Assignment 8
In linguistics, Hypernymy is an important lexical-semantic relationship that captures the type-of relation. In this
relation, a hyponym is a word or phrase whose semantic field is included within that of another word, its
hypernym. For example, rock, blues and jazz are all hyponyms of music genre (hypernym).
In this assignment, we will examine unsupervised techniques to automatically extract a list of word pairs that
satisfy the hypernymy relation using a large corpus. Specifically, we will use
1. A rule-based technique using lexico-syntactic patterns to extract hyponym-hypernym word pairs.
2. Another rule-based technique but using dependency-paths
3. A DIY approach where you can use any supervised/unsupervised technique extract hypernym-hyponym
word pairs.
In this assignment, we will be using nltk. If you are use Stephen’s miniconda you should be fine. Otherwise,
install nltk and the relavant tagger using.
pip install nltk
$ python
>>> import nltk
Here are the materials that you should download for this assignment: (/downloads/hw8/ Contains all the relevant code.
bless2011/ (
usp=sharing) Contains the train, validation and test data
Contains tokenized relevant wikipedia sentences. A lemmatized version also exists.
Contains word pairs and the shortest dependency path between them as extracted using spaCy
Alternatively, if you are on biglab , you can directly copy the last three resources into your working
directory by using the following command:
scp -r /home1/n/nitishg/hw8resources ./
Part 1: Hearst Patterns for Hypernym
Marti Hearst, in her classic 1992 COLING paper Automatic Aquisition of Hyponyms from Large Text Cororpa
(, described how lexico-syntactic patterns can be used for
hyponym acquisition.
Consider the sentence,
How do I distinguish among different musical genres such as blues, rock, and jazz, et
c., and is there a good listeners’ trick to discern such distinctions?
Upon reading, we can easily infer that blues, rock and jazz are types of musical genres. Consider another
sentence that contains a similar lexico-syntactic construction and expresses a hypernymy relation between
green vegetables and spinach, peas, and kale.
I am going to get green vegetables such as spinach, peas and kale.
We can generalize this construction to
NP_0 such as NP_1, NP_2, … (and | or) NP_n
where NP_0 is the hypernym of NP_1, NP_2, …, NP_n. Here, NP_x refers to a noun phrase or noun chunk
As you can see in her paper, Hearst identified many such patterns, hence forth referred to as Hearst Patterns.
Since these patterns are already manually constructed, we can use these patterns on a large corpus of
unlabeled text for hyponym acquisition. For example, if our corpus only contained the sentences above, we
could extract hypo-hypernym pairs such as
(blues, musical genres), (rock, musical genres), (jazz, musical genres), (spinach, gr
een vegetables), (peas, green vegetables), (kale, green vegetables)
In this section of the assignment, we will use these patterns to extract hyper-hyponym word pairs from
Evaluation Dataset
To evaluate the quality of our extraction, we will use a post-processed version of the BLESS2011 dataset
( Levy et al. ‘15 (
post-processed to clean the dataset for reasons mentioned in the paper. Based on our extractions from a
large corpus, we can label the test instances as a True hypo-hypernym extraction if it exists in the extracted
list or as a False pair if it doesn’t. The data files are tab-separated with one-pair-per-line.
hyponym \t hypernym \t label
Unlabeled Wikipedia Corpus
As our large corpus to extract hyponyms, we will use Wikipedia text. Since Wikipedia is too large for efficient
processing, we provide you with a pruned version. This only contains sentences that contain a word pair from
train/val/test set. Each line in the file contains 2 tab-separated columns. The first column contains the
tokenized sentence, and the second contains the lemmatized version of the same tokenized sentence.
How to Get Started
As you must have noticed, implementing Hearst Patterns requires noun-phrase chunking and then regex
pattern matching where these patterns are relevant Hearst patterns.
In the code file hearst/ we use NLTK to implement a nltk-regex based noun-phrase
chunker ( and Hearst pattern matching.
1. This code first finds the all the noun-chunks and converts the sentence into the following format,
I like to listen to NP_music from NP_musical_genres such as NP_blues , NP_rock a
nd NP_jazz .
2. It then uses nltk-regex to find patterns defined in the list self.__hearst_patterns . We have already
implemented one pattern (NP_0 such as NP1, …) for you as:
“(NP_\w+ (, )?such as (NP_\w+ ? (, )?(and |or )?)+)”, “first”
which will lead to extractions such as
(‘blues’, ‘musical genres’), (‘rock’, ‘musical genres’), and (‘jazz’, ‘musical g
Your job is to implement other Hearst Patterns and add them to the self.__hearst_patterns list.
To use the method above to perform large-scale extraction on Wikipedia, and evaluation against the provided
dataset, we provide the following functions:
hearst/ – Implements a method to apply the Hearst Patterns to all
Wikipedia sentences, collect the extractions and write them to a file – Labels the train/val/test word-pairs as True (False) if they exist
(don’t exist) in the extracted hypo-hypernym pairs – Takes the gold-truth and prediction file to compute the Precision, Recall and F1
You should implement different Hearst Patterns, and/or come up with your own patterns by eyeballing
Wikipedia data. Use the train and validation data to estimate the performance of different pattern
combinations and submit the predictions from the best model on the test data to the leaderboard as the file
hearst.txt . The format of this file will the same as the train and validation data.
hyponym \t hypernym \t True(False)
Don’t panic if your validation performance is too low (~30%-36% for lemmatized corpus). Using the single
pattern already implemented, you should get a validation score of 30% (lemmatized corpus).
In a writeup.pdf explain which patterns helped the most, and patterns that you came up with yourself.
Hint for post-processing extractions
As you might notice in the dataset, the (hypernym, hyponym) pair contains single, usually lemmatized, tokens.
On the other hand, the extractions from our code extracts a lot of multi-word noun phrases. This could
negatively affect our performance on the provided dataset. Our performance could drastically improve if we
post-process our extractions to output only single token extractions.
You should be able to use your knowledge about noun-phrases (that the head of the noun-phrase usually is
the last token) and lemmatization to figure out a post-processing methodology that might improve your
performance. In the final report, explain your post-processing methodology, and make clear distinction
between change in performance when the extractions were post-processed.
Part 2: Dependency Paths for Hypernym
Consider the sentence snippet, … such green vegetables as spinach, peas and kale. and its dependencyparse using spaCy ( Their visualization tool is called displaCy and can be accessed here: (
We (again) observe that there are dependency paths between vegetables and spinach, peas, and kale that can
be typical in expressing hyper-hyponymy relation between words.
This observation was made in Snow et al.’s NIPS 2005 Learning syntactic patterns for automatic hypernym
discovery ( paper. In this paper, the authors use the shortest dependency paths between noun-phrases to
extract features and learn a classifier to predict whether a word-pair satisfies the hypo-hypernymy relation.
On the contrast, in this part, we will use the shortest dependency paths between noun (noun-chunk) pairs to
predict hypernymy relation in an unsupervised manner. For example, in the example above the shortest
dependency path between vegetables and spinach is
vegetables/NOUN -> Prep -> as/ADP -> pobj -> spinach/NOUN
For generalization, we can anonymize the start and end-points of the paths, as
X/NOUN -> Prep -> as/ADP -> pobj -> Y/NOUN
and can now predict that when a (X,Y) pair occurs in such a dependency-path, it usually means that X is the
hypernym of Y.
Simply using the shortest dependency paths as two major issues that can be tackled in the following manner:
Better lexico-syntactic paths: Two words containing as in between is not a good indicator of the
hypernymy relation being expressed and the word such outside the shortest path plays an important
role. Snow et al. hence proposed Satellite edges, i.e. adding single edges to the left (right) of the
leftmost (rightmost) token to the shortest-dependency path. In the example above, in addition to the
shortest-path, the paths we extract will also contain satellite edges from vegetable -> green, vegetable –
> such, and spinach -> peas.
Distributive Edges: The shortest path from vegetables from peas contains spinach/NOUN node
connected via the conj edge. The presence of such specific words (spinach) in the path that do not
inform of the hypernymy relation and negatively affect our extraction recall. The word spinach could be
replaced with some other word, but the relation between peas and vegetables would still hold. Snow et
al. proposed to add additional edges bypassing conj edges to mitigate this issue. Therefore, we can
add edges of type pobj from vegetables to peas and kale.
Good News: You don’t need to extract such paths! We’ve extracted them for you for our Wikipedia corpus.
You’re welcome! To keep the number of extracted paths tractable, the file wikipedia_deppaths.txt
contains dependency paths extracted from Wikipedia between all train/val/test word pairs.
Similar to Snow et al., we only keep dependency paths of length 4 or shorter . Each line of the file
wikipedia_deppaths.txt contains three tab-separated columns, the first containing X, second Y and the
third the dependency path. An example path extraction is:
mammal fox such/ADJ/amod<_X/NOUN/dobj_<as/ADP/prep_<Y/NOUN/pobj
The path edges are delimited by the underscore ( _ ). Each edge contains word/POS_TAG/EdgeLabel . Hence
the edges in the path are:
1. such/ADJ/amod< : An edge of type amod from the right side (X) to the word such
2. X/NOUN/dobj : An edge of type dobj from outside the shortest path span (since no direction marker (‘<’
or ‘>’) exists) to the token X
3. <as/ADP/prep : An edge of type prep from as to the left of it (X).
4. <Y/NOUN/pobj : An edge of type pobj from Y to the left of it (as)
How to proceed
Similar to how we used the Hearst Patterns to extract hypo-hypernym pairs, we will now use dependencypath patterns to do the same. Since it is difficult to come up with your own dependency path patterns, we
suggest you use the the labeled training data to come up with a list of dependency-paths that are positive
examples of paths between actual hyper-hyponym pairs.
depPath/ : Fill this python script, to extract relevant dependency
paths from wikipedia_deppaths.txt using the training data and store them to a file Note that, these
paths can be of different categories. For eg. Forward paths: Classify X/Y as Hyponym/Hypernym,
Reverse paths: Classify X/Y as Hypernym/Hyponym, Negative paths: Classify X/Y as a negative pair
depPath/ : Complete this python script to generate a list of hypohypernym extractions for the wikipedia corpus ( wikipedia_deppaths.txt ) (similar to Hearst
Patterns) : Similar to Hearst patterns, use this to label the train/val/test wordpairs as True (False) if they exist (don’t exist) in the extracted hypo-hypernym pairs. : Similar to Hearst Patterns, use this script to evaluate the performance on the given
For the best performing dependency paths, submit the test predictions on the relevant leaderboard with the
filename deppath.txt . In the writeup.pdf explain few most occurring dependency paths and explain if
they bear any correspondence to the Hearst patterns.
Part 3: DIY
Cause I’m as free as a bird now, And this bird you can not change. – Lynyrd Skynyrd
In the previous two sections we saw how we can use manually extracted rule-based techniques to extract
word-pairs satisfying hypernymy relations. In this section, you have to implement at least two additional
methods to extract such word pairs.
A few of example ideas for additional techniques are:
Combine the extractions from Hearst patterns and Dependency-path patterns for better extractions
Learn a supervised classifier (similar to Snow et al) using the provided training data and features
extracted from the dependency paths
Use pre-trained word embeddings to learn a hypernymy prediction classifier, or combine wordembeddings are features to your dependency–path based classifier.
For this part, the test data predictions from the best performing technique should be uploaded to the relevant
leaderboard as diy.txt . In the writeup.pdf explain in detail the two methodologies implemented with
performance analysis.
3. The Leaderboard
We will have three leaderboards for this assignment, namely
1. Hearst Patterns – hearst.txt
2. DepdencyPath Patterns – deppath.txt
3. DIY Model – diy.txt
Extra Credit
Nitish Gupta and Chris Callison-Burch developed this homework assignment for UPenn’s CIS 530 class in Spring
Extra credit to the top-5 teams on each leaderboard.
Extra credit to teams that improve their best performing model from Part 1/2 by 5% in their DIY model.
Here are the deliverables that you will need to submit. The writeup needs to be submit as writeup.pdf :
The three prediction files, hearst.txt , deppath.txt and diy.txt
A writeup.pdf containing
Written analysis on additional Hearst Patterns implemented and which one worked the
Written analysis commenting on the Precision/Recall values when using Hearst Patterns
Written analysis on most frequent Dependency Paths that worked the best
Written analysis commenting on the Precision/Recall values when using Dependency Paths
Implementation details of the DIY models and performance analysis
Your code (.zip) with a README to run. It should be written in Python 3.
Recommended readings
Relation Extraction (Section 21.2) ( Dan Jurafsky and James H.
Martin. Speech and Language Processing (3rd edition draft) .
Learning syntactic patterns for automatic hypernym discovery ( Rion Snow, Daniel Jurafsky, Andrew Y. Ng. NIPS
Automatic acquisition of hyponyms from large text corpora ( Marti
Hearst. COLING 1992.
Do Supervised Distributional Methods Really Learn Lexical Inference Relations?
( Omer Levy, Steffen Remus, Chris Beimann, Ido Dagan. NAACL
Improving Hypernymy Detection with an Integrated Path-based and Distributional Method
( Vered Shwartz, Yoav Goldberg and Ido Dagan. ACL 2016.


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