How do we understand the meaning of connotations? A cognitive computational model

Yair Neuman, Yochai Cohen, Dan Assaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Denotation is the literal sense of a word, while connotation is its extended sense. The current paper presents a cognitive computational model of the adjective's connotation (e.g., sweet baby). We tested the model by developing a novel algorithm-ConnoSense-that identifies the sense of an attribute's connotation. More specifically, ConnoSense identifies the sense of an attribute such as in the case of a "sweet smile" where the attribute/adjective "sweet" is used in the sense of "friendly." Tested on a multiple-choice test of identifying the sense of a connotation (e.g., "dark thoughts") the algorithm gained 90% accuracy and outperforms two other models that are based on vectorial semantics. These results support the validity of our model. The paper points at the importance of fusing ideas from the semiotics interpretative tradition with experimental psychological knowledge and novel methodologies of computational semantics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number205
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • cognitive semiotics
  • computational semantics
  • connotation
  • denotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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