Acquiring causal knowledge from text using the connective marker tame

Takashi Inui, Kentaro Inui, Yuji Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we deal with automatic knowledge acquisition from text, specifically the acquisition of causal relations. A causal relation is the relation existing between two events such that one event causes (or enables) the other event, such as "hard rain causes flooding" or "taking a train requires buying a ticket." In previous work these relations have been classified into several types based on a variety of points of view. In this work, we consider four types of causal relations-cause, effect, precond(ition) and means-mainly based on agents' volitionality, as proposed in the research field of discourse understanding. The idea behind knowledge acquisition is to use resultative connective markers, such as "because," "but," and "if" as linguistic cues. However, there is no guarantee that a given connective marker always signals the same type of causal relation. Therefore, we need to create a computational model that is able to classify samples according to the causal relation. To examine how accurately we can automatically acquire causal knowledge, we attempted an experiment using Japanese newspaper articles, focusing on the resultative connective "tame." By using machine-learning techniques, we achieved 80% recall with over 95% precision for the cause, precond, and means relations, and 30% recall with 90% precision for the effect relation. Furthermore, the classification results suggest that one can expect to acquire over 27,000 instances of causal relations from 1 year of Japanese newspaper articles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-474
Number of pages40
JournalACM Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Causal relation
  • Connective marker
  • Volitionality


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