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Development of a dictionary of syntactic constructions in English. A study of its implications for communication theory, discourse, and linguistic engineering (HUM2005-02870/FILO)

The aim of this project is to create a 3000-entry constructional dictionary structured in terms of five high-level conceptual domains (existence, movement, perception, cognition, and emotions). The dictionary will have both a lexicological and a lexicographical (or "user-friendly") format. The dictionary will be based upon the principles of our own version of the constructional approach to linguistic description, where we combine insights from cognitive and functional models of language to develop a grammatical analysis on three layers: abstract constructions, lexical templates which can instantiate parts of the constructions, and syntactic templates plus semantics-syntax linking algorithms. All these elements have a realizational value from the highest to the lowest layer. We will develop the syntactic part of the dictionary which will be based upon the assumption that the lexical and syntactic core of linguistic structure as represented by lexical templates are isomorphic, while the rest of the structure is derived from constructional specifications. On the basis of this assumption the semantic representations, which include formalizations for all kinds of cognitive model (propositional, metaphoric, metonymic, image-schematic),  will be used to develop the corresponding syntactic representations and to study the rules and principles that make the correlation between semantic and syntactic structure possible. This analysis will result in an inventory of syntactic templates which will be classified according to their potential to activate elements of semantic structure. Finally, we will explore the possible computational implementations of our proposal and we will study its communicative potential from the point of view of pragmatic and discourse principles.