Vol. 11:1 (2016) ► pp.76–93
Transitivity in similarity judgments on German verbs
Disclosing lexical and aspectual properties of verbs
This paper investigates set-theoretical transitive and intransitive similarity relationships in triplets of verbs that can be deduced from raters’ similarity judgments on the pairs of verbs involved. We collected similarity judgments on pairs made up of 35 German verbs and found that the concept of transitivity adds to the information obtained from collecting pair-wise semantic similarity judgments. The concept of transitive similarity enables more complex relations to be revealed in triplets of verbs. To evaluate the outcomes that we obtained by analyzing transitive similarities we used two previously developed verb classifications of the same set of 35 verbs based on the analysis of large corpora (Richter & van Hout, 2016). We applied a modified form of weak stochastic transitivity (Block & Marschak, 1960; Luce & Suppes, 1965; Tversky, 1969) and found that (1), in contrast to Rips’ claim (2011), similarity relations in raters’ judgments systematically turn out to be transitive, and (2) transitivity discloses lexical and aspectual properties of verbs relevant in distinguishing verb classes.