Coexistent Hyponymy and Troponymy of Polish Verbs
Tomasz Stępień
(Wrocław University, Insitute of English, Poland)

One of the most important tasks in building wordnets for various languages is defining the set of relations which hold between lexical units and synsets in the language investigated. And thus the Princeton WordNet (WN, henceforth) defines the hierarchical relation of hyponymy of nouns and its counterpart troponymy which holds between verbs. The test sentence which allows to discover the relation between verbs V1 and V2 is to V1 is to V2 in some particular manner (Fellbaum, 1998). EuroWordNet (EWN, henceforth) presents a different view, positing the existence of hyponymy between verbs (Vossen (ed.), 2002). The testing mechanism is much more complicated but it can be simplified to the following form: X is a hyponym of Y if to X is to Y + AdvP/AdjP/PP/NP/PP, which is a slightly more formal way of expressing the WN test.
The view presented in this paper, which has been expressed by the team working on Polish WordNet (WNPL, henceforth), is different from the ones quoted above and posits the existence of distinct relations of hyponymy and troponymy between Polish verbs. The necessity to distinguish these two is based on examples similar to the following one:

(1a) Jeśli ktoś utyka, to idzie. (troponymy) ’if somebody limps, then he/she walks
(1b) Jeśli ktoś idzie, to się porusza. (hyponymy) ’if somebody walks, then he/she moves
(Derwojedowa, Zawisławska and Piasecki, 2006)

(1a) is an example of ‘doing something in a particular way,’ which corresponds to hyponymy as defined in EWN and troponymy in WN. This cannot be said, however, about (1b) because the Polish verb iść (to go) does not mean poruszać się (to move) in a particular way. The distinction between hyponymy and troponymy becomes even more significant from the point of view of aspect of Polish verbs, e.g.:

(2) doczytać to czytać do końca to read (Perf.) means to read (Imperf.) completely
(Derwojedowa, Zawisławska and Piasecki, 2006)

These two verbs cannot be said to be linked by hyponymy; only troponymy, i.e. ‘doing something in a particular way’ can be posited to exist between them.
In this paper we present a more theoretical insight into the nature of hyponymy and troponymy basing on Fellbaum (1998) and Apresjan (2000), among others. We also give more evidence from Polish in support of our claim, paying special attention to problems related to aspect, as presented in Młynarczyk (2004).


1. Derwojedowa, Magdalena, Magdalena Zawisławska and Maciej Piasecki, 2006. “Relacje w polskim WordNecie (WNPl)”. Unpublished working paper of the Polish WordNet team.
2. Apresjan, Jurij D., 2000.
Semantyka leksykalna. Synonimiczne środki języka. Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków: Ossolineum.
3. Młynarczyk, Anna, 2004.
Aspectual Pairing in Polish. Ph.D. dissertation. (30 May 2006)
4. Fellbaum, Christiane (ed.), 1998.
WordNet. An Electronic Lexical Database. Cambridge: MIT Press.
5. Vossen, Piek (ed.), 2002. “EuroWordNet General Document”. (24 November 2005).