Semantic Proto-Roles


v1 (tar.gz), v2 (tar.gz)


A substantial amount of both computational and linguistic research on event representations has focused on categorical, coarse thematic roles such as AGENT and PATIENT. In spite of this, there is evidence going back to Dowty 1991 that this is the wrong grain size to look for thematic information: the appearance of roles like AGENT represents a conglomeration of finer-grained thematic properties such as causation, volition, change-of-state, etc.

In this line of work, we develop a semantic proto-role annotation task, and shown that it readily leads to quality annotations with minimal training in crowd-sourcing situations. Decomposing thematic roles into fine-grained proto-role properties provides both theoretical and practical gains: not only does it lead to a better account of the mapping of semantic representations to syntax, it also leads to more tractable semantic annotation tasks.

For a detailed description of the datasets and the item construction and collection methods as well as models of these data, please see the following papers:

Reisinger, D., R. Rudinger, F. Ferraro, C. Harman, K. Rawlins, & B. Van Durme. 2015. Semantic Proto-Roles. Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics 3, pp. 475–488.

White, A.S., D. Reisinger, K. Sakaguchi, T. Vieira, S. Zhang, R. Rudinger, K. Rawlins, & B. Van Durme. 2016. Universal Decompositional Semantics on Universal Dependencies. Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, pages 1713–1723, Austin, Texas, November 1-5, 2016.

White, A.S., D. Reisinger, R. Rudinger, K. Rawlins, & B. Van Durme. 2016. Computational Linking Theory. arXiv:1610.02544.

White, A. S., K. Rawlins, & B. Van Durme. 2017. The Semantic Proto-Role Linking Model. Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, pp. 92–98, Valencia, Spain, April 3-7, 2017.

Teichert, A., A. Poliak, B. Van Durme, & M. Gormley. 2017. Semantic Proto-Role Labeling. Proceedings of the Thirty-First AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-17).

Rudinger, R., A. Teichert, R. Culkin, S. Zhang, & B. Van Durme. 2018. Neural-Davidsonian Semantic Proto-role Labeling. Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Brussels, Belgium, October 31-November 4, 2018.

If you make use of this dataset in a presentation or publication, we ask that you please cite at least the first two papers.


Benjamin Van Durme bio photo
Benjamin Van Durme
Kyle Rawlins bio photo
Kyle Rawlins
Aaron Steven White bio photo
Aaron Steven White
Rachel Rudinger bio photo
Rachel Rudinger