On the Relationship between Predicate-Argument Structure and Emotionality in Text


  • Enrica Troiano University of Stuttgart
  • Roman Klinger University of Stuttgart
  • Sebastian Padó




Emotions, which are responses to salient events, can be realized in text implicitly, for instance with mere references to facts (e.g., “That was the beginning of a long war”). Interpreting affective meanings thus relies on the readers’ background knowledge, but that is hardly modeled in computational emotion analysis. Much work in the field is focused on the word level and treats individual lexical units as the fundamental emotion cues in written communication. We shift our attention to word relations. We leverage Frame Semantics, a prominent theory for the description of predicate-argument structures, which matches the study of emotions: frames build on a “semantics of understanding” whose assumptions rely precisely on people’s world knowledge. Our overarching question is whether and to what extent the events that are represented by frames possess an emotion meaning. To carry out a large corpus-based correspondence analysis, we automatically annotate texts with emotions as well as with FrameNet frames and roles, and we analyze the correlations between them. Our main finding is that substantial groups of frames have an emotional import. With an extensive qualitative analysis, we show that they capture several properties of emotions that are purported by theories from psychology. These observations boost insights on the two strands of research that we bring together: emotion analysis can profit from the event-based perspective of frame semantics; in return, frame semantics gains a better grip of its position vis-a`-vis emotions, an integral part of word meanings.