Grammatical Semantics and Multilinguality: What Stands Behind the Lexicon?

John A. Bateman

There has in recent years been a steady increase in the role given to the lexicon in computational linguistics. Accordingly, there are now also many efforts to uncover appropriate organizations of lexical information: including proposals for taxonomies of semantic organizational primitives/features, 'ontology' design, etc. This very necessary activity seems to me, however, to be partly compromized by a second trend also resulting from the attention given to the lexicon. That is the move to lexicalize grammars so that the 'grammatical' component becomes minimal and grammatical properties are 'projected' from those of their lexical components. By reducing the role of graiumatical considerations, a strong source of information about useful lexical organization has been removed. Although this is obscured when the kind of grammar that is worked with is structural and constituency-based, many of the efforts to provide lexical organization are attempting to recover the kind of information that functional clause-based grammars consider basic. This is because it is the clause that provides the most natural link upwards to semantics and context, not the, more arbitrarily related, word.


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