Building a Corpus of Temporal-Causal Structure

While recent corpus annotation efforts cover a wide variety of semantic structures, work on temporal and causal relations is still in its early stages. Annotation efforts have typically considered either temporal relations or causal relations, but not both, and no corpora currently exist that allow the relation between temporals and causals to be examined empirically. We have annotated a corpus of 1000 event pairs for both temporal and causal relations, focusing on a relatively frequent construction in which the events are conjoined by the word ?and?. Temporal relations were annotated using an extension of the BEFORE and AFTER scheme used in the TempEval competition, and causal relations were annotated using a scheme based on connective phrases like ?and as a result?. The annotators achieved 81.2% agreement on temporal relations and 77.8% agreement on causal relations. Analysis of the resulting corpus revealed some interesting findings, for example, that over 30% of CAUSAL relations do not have an underlying BEFORE relation. The corpus was also explored using machine learning methods, and while model performance exceeded all baselines, the results suggested that simple grammatical cues may be insufficient for identifying the more difficult temporal and causal relations
Published in 2008