Dr. Aurelie Herbelot

Computer Laboratory,
University of Cambridge

Last (properly) updated: 8/10/2013


Research interests

My work relates to both formal and lexical semantics. I am particularly interested in the formalisation of quantification and genericity [1]. My current research is an investigation of how traditional representations of quantifiers can be ported to a distributional semantics setting. Part of this work involves working on the formalisation of distributional representations themselves: in collaboration with Ann Copestake, I am researching the notion of an 'idealised' distributional setting, where various phenomena of lexical semantics can be formally described [2]. Aside from this main topic, I have a general interest in semantic phenomena which has led me to working on the ordering of binomials [3] and coordination disambiguation [4], using lexical (distributional) information. I have also started collaborating with researchers in the humanities on the topic of using distributional representations for investigating culture-dependent patterns of discourse.[5]

My CV can be found here.


Herbelot, A. and Vecchi, E.M. From concepts to models: some issues in quantifying feature norms In review at LiLT.
Associated Material:
The McRae feature norms, annotated with generalised quantifiers
Same as above, but only majority opinion cases

Copestake, A. and Herbelot, A. Lexicalised Compositionality

Ganesalingam, M. and Herbelot, A. Composing distributions: mathematical structures and their linguistic interpretation


-- Peer-reviewed publications

Herbelot, A. 2015. Mr Darcy and Mr Toad, gentlemen: distributional names and their kinds. To appear at the International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS2015). London, UK.

Fischer, E., Engelhardt, P.E., and Herbelot, A. (in press): Intuitions and Illusions: From Explanation and Experiment to Assessment. In E. Fischer and J. Collins (eds.), Method, Rationalism, and Naturalism. The Impact of Experimental Philosophy. London: Routledge.

Herbelot, A. 2014. The semantics of poetry: a distributional reading. Pre-print version. Literary and Linguistic Computing. 2014.

Herbelot, A. and Ganesalingam, M. 2013. Measuring semantic content in distributional vectors In Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL2013).

Herbelot, A. 2013. What is in a text, what isn't, and what this has to do with lexical semantics. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Semantics (IWCS2013). Potsdam, Germany, March 2013.
Associated Material:
Annotation scheme.

Herbelot, A., von Redecker, E. and Müller, J. 2012. Distributional techniques for philosophical enquiry. In Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities. EACL 2012. Avignon, France, April 2012.

Copestake, A. and Herbelot, A. 2011. Exciting and interesting: issues in the generation of binomials. In Proceedings of the UCNLG+Eval: Language Generation and Evaluation Workshop. Edinburgh, UK, July 2011. Pages 45-53.

Herbelot, A. and Copestake, A. 2011. Formalising and specifying underquantification In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Semantics. Oxford, UK, 2011.
Associated material: see Herbelot and Copestake 2010 below

Herbelot, A. and Copestake, A. 2010. Annotating Underquantification. In Proceedings of The Fourth Linguistic Annotation Workshop (LAW IV) at ACL'10, Uppsala, Sweden, 2010.
Associated Material:
Test set for annotation task.
Annotation Scheme.
Annotation (quantification, kinds, distributive/collective distinction)

Herbelot, A. 2009. Finding Word Substitutions Using a Distributional Similarity Baseline and Immediate Context Overlap. In Proceedings of the Student Session of EACL'09, Athens, Greece, 2009.

Herbelot, A. and Copestake, A. 2008. Annotating Genericity: How Do Humans Decide? (A Case Study in Ontology Extraction). In: Featherston, Sam and Winkler, Susanne (eds.) The Fruits of Empirical Linguistics. Volume 1: Process. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008.
Associated Material:
Genericity Annotation Development Corpus.
Genericity Annotation Scheme.

Herbelot, A. and Copestake, A. 2006. Acquiring Ontological Relationships from Wikipedia using RMRS. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Web content Mining with Human Language Technologies, 2006, ISWC'06.

-- Edited volumes

Aurelie Herbelot, Roberto Zamparelli and Gemma Boleda (ed.), Proceedings of the `Towards a Formal Distributional Semantics’ workshop (TFDS2013), International Conference on Computational Semantics(IWCS2013)

My thesis, entitled Underspecified Quantification can be found here.

Slides for some non-Published Talks

Herbelot, A. 'Deeper' distributional semantics. At DELPH-IN Summit 2012.
Herbelot, A. Extracting Entailing Words from Small Corpora for Ontology Building. At CLUK 2007.
Herbelot, A. Ontological Clustering: Battling with the Concept of Concept. At FLATLANDS Meeting 2007.

In 2009, I took part in the Johns Hopkins University summer workshop, working on Large-Scale Syntactic Processing: Parsing the Web. The final report, including my chapter on improving the parsing of coordination with distributional methods, can be found here


ESSLLI 2012, Opole, Poland 'Distributional semantics for linguists' (with Ann Copestake)
For those who have requested my ESSLLI slides... Here they are...

Work on medieval literature

Le Roman de Fauvel de Chaillou de Pesstain (manuscrit fr. BN 146) - Etude des processus de la creation
These de Maîtrise - Soutenue à l'Université de Savoie, Chambéry, France, 1998
(in French).

I have also edited a book of computer-generated poetry entitled discourse.cpp. Check out the Peer Press website for more info.