, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 165–185 | Cite as

Lexical Inheritance with Meronymic Relationships

  • Pablo Gamallo
Original Paper


In most computational ontologies, information inheritance is based on the taxonomic relation is_a. A given type inherits from other type only if the latter subsumes the former. We assume, however, that inheritance can be related, not only to the taxonomic relation, but also to the meronymic relationship between parts and wholes. The main aim of this paper is to organise upper-level ontologies associated with lexical information by taking into account part-whole subsumption. As we consider that parts may subsume wholes under specific conditions, ontologies can be defined in terms of systems in which wholes inherit information from its parts. In this article, we describe how part-whole subsumption and, then, meronymic inheritance can be used to deal with type mismatch and metonymic interpretation of polysemous nouns. For this purpose, we attempt to merge old assumptions from both formal ontology and lexical semantics into a homogeneous framework.


Formal ontology Mereology Lexical semantics Inheritance 



This work has been supported by the Spanish Government (MICINN), within the project FFI2010-14986.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias da Informação (CITIUS), Dept. de Língua EspanholaUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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