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date: 18 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Textual entailment is a binary relation between two natural-language texts (called ‘text’ and ‘hypothesis’), where readers of the ‘text’ would agree the ‘hypothesis’ is most likely true (Peter is snoring → A man sleeps). Its recognition requires an account of linguistic variability ( an event may be realized in different ways, e.g. Peter buys the car ↔ The car is purchased by Peter) and of relationships between events (e.g. Peter buys the car → Peter owns the car). Unlike logics-based inference, textual entailment also covers cases of probable but still defeasible entailment (A hurricane hit Peter’s town → Peter’s town was damaged). Since human common-sense reasoning often involves such defeasible inferences, textual entailment is of considerable interest for real-world language processing tasks, as a generic, application-independent framework for semantic inference. This chapter discusses the history of textual entailment, approaches to recognizing it, and its integration in various NLP tasks.

Keywords: textual entailment, inference, common-sense reasoning, semantic processing, variability in natural language

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