Syntax-driven semantic frame composition in Lexicalized Tree Adjoining Grammars

Laura Kallmeyer, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany
Rainer Osswald, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany


The grammar framework presented in this paper combines Lexicalized Tree Adjoining Grammar (LTAG) with a (de)compositional frame semantics. We introduce elementary constructions as pairs of elementary LTAG trees and decompositional frames. The linking between syntax and semantics can largely be captured by such constructions since in LTAG, elementary trees represent full argument projections. Substitution and adjunction in the syntax then trigger the unification of the associated semantic frames, which are formally defined as base-labelled feature structures. Moreover, the system of elementary constructions is specified in a metagrammar by means of tree and frame descriptions. This metagrammatical factorization gives rise to a fine-grained decomposition of the semantic contributions of syntactic building blocks, and it allows us to separate lexical from constructional contributions and to carve out generalizations across constructions. In the second half of the paper, we apply the framework to the analysis of directed motion expressions and of the dative alternation in English, two well-known examples of the interaction between lexical and constructional meaning.


lexicalized tree adjoining grammars; syntax-semantics interface; decompositional frame semantics; elementary constructions; metagrammar; feature structures; dative alternation; directed motion expressions

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ISSN of the paper edition: 2299-856X