This article proposes clause-level evaluation detection, which is a fine-grained type of opinion mining, and describes an unsupervised lexicon building method for capturing domain-specific knowledge by leveraging the similar polarities of sentiments between adjacent clauses. The lexical entries to be acquired are called polar atoms, the minimum human-understandable syntactic structures that specify the polarity of clauses. As a hint to obtain candidate polar atoms, we use context coherency, the tendency for the same polarity to appear successively in a context. Using the overall density and precision of coherency in the corpus, the statistical estimation picks up appropriate polar atoms from among the candidates, without any manual tuning of the threshold values. The experimental results show that the precision of polarity assignment with the automatically acquired lexicon was 83 per cent on average, and our method is robust for corpora in diverse domains and for the size of the initial lexicon.
(Received December 22 2009)
(Revised November 18 2010)
(Accepted February 04 2011)
(Online publication March 30 2011)