Challenging Systems of Lexical Representation

Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Ricardo Mairal Usón


The aim of this paper is to offer an overview of some of the most relevant heuristic parameters that have been used for the organization of the lexicon in a representative sample of formal, functional and cognitive models. In connection with this, we address the following theoretical issues: (i) the nature of the metalanguage that should be used as part of a lexical representation theory; (ii) the actual scope of the representation, that is, whether a lexical entry should only capture those aspects of the word that have syntactic visibility or should go beyond that and include richer semantic decompositions together with encyclopedic information; (iii) the type of formalism involved in the description of meaning for the design of robust technological applications. In the light of this discussion, we will present a sample model of lexical description called lexical templates.

Lexical templates draw insights both from models with a stronger syntactic orientation (e.g. RRG’s logical structures) and from accounts where semantic description is more important (e.g. Frame Semantics). A lexical template consists of two different modules both of which are based on a universal abstract semantic metalanguage. The resulting templates have two parts: (i) the semantic module which makes use of lexical functions and (ii) the logical representation or Aktionsart module, which is inspired in the inventory of logical structures as posited in RRG. Worthy of note is also the fact that this paper lays out the foundations towards a reconversion of the inventory of lexical functions in terms of Pustejovsky's qualiae. Thus, lexical templates are now built on the basis of a new, more robust formalism with greater explanatory and representational capacity.

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Copyright (c) 2008 Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Ricardo Mairal Usón

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