SensEmBERT: Context-Enhanced Sense Embeddings for Multilingual Word Sense Disambiguation


  • Bianca Scarlini Sapienza University of Rome
  • Tommaso Pasini Sapienza University of Rome
  • Roberto Navigli Sapienza University of Rome



Contextual representations of words derived by neural language models have proven to effectively encode the subtle distinctions that might occur between different meanings of the same word. However, these representations are not tied to a semantic network, hence they leave the word meanings implicit and thereby neglect the information that can be derived from the knowledge base itself. In this paper, we propose SensEmBERT, a knowledge-based approach that brings together the expressive power of language modelling and the vast amount of knowledge contained in a semantic network to produce high-quality latent semantic representations of word meanings in multiple languages. Our vectors lie in a space comparable with that of contextualized word embeddings, thus allowing a word occurrence to be easily linked to its meaning by applying a simple nearest neighbour approach.

We show that, whilst not relying on manual semantic annotations, SensEmBERT is able to either achieve or surpass state-of-the-art results attained by most of the supervised neural approaches on the English Word Sense Disambiguation task. When scaling to other languages, our representations prove to be equally effective as their English counterpart and outperform the existing state of the art on all the Word Sense Disambiguation multilingual datasets. The embeddings are released in five different languages at




How to Cite

Scarlini, B., Pasini, T., & Navigli, R. (2020). SensEmBERT: Context-Enhanced Sense Embeddings for Multilingual Word Sense Disambiguation. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 34(05), 8758-8765.



AAAI Technical Track: Natural Language Processing