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Development of a semantic-conceptual representation system and the implementation of a bidirectional syntax-semantic linking algorithm (FFI2011-29798-C02-01)

This Project follows up on the latest research on the Lexical Constructional Model (LCM), as originally formulated by Mairal and Ruiz de Mendoza, and its most recent implementation in the framework of natural language processing. The LCM is a meaning construction model which provides a comprehensive description of all levels involved in meaning construction, even those that go beyond the so-called grammar level; that is, it includes central aspects of theories of conversational implicature in level 2 (or pragmatic level), describes the Essentials parameters of illocutionary meaning in level 3 (or illocutionary level), and the analytic principles that define discourse meaning in level 4. The LCM formulates the notions of lexical templates and constructional templates. The former capture encyclopedic semantic parameters bound to Aktionsart variables. The latter are either abstract argument structures similar to those described in Construction Grammar circles or more idiomatic configurations containing fixed (i.e. lexicalized) and variable elements. The LCM explicitly stipulates the 
conditions for the incorporation of representations from one level into the higher levels and for the interaction between constructions at the same level. By way of example, lexical templates fuse into constructional configurations as licensed by a number of constraints. There are two types of constraints: internal (i.e. based on semantic compatibility) and external (i.e. based on cognitive operations, high-level metaphor and metonymy). In essence, the LCM has developed a robust machinery to account for the complex and rich nature of constructions, their relations, their internal organization as well as the way these interact with the verbal predicates. This theoretical linguistic framework has been computationally implemented in terms of a multilingual and multifunctional knowledge base, FunGramKB (www.fungramkb.com). This knowledge base consists of two levels of knowledge, that is, the linguistic level –that includes a lexicon, a morphicon and a grammaticon – and a conceptual level – which includes an ontology (semantic knowledge), a cognicon (procedural knowledge), and an onomasticon (episodic knowledge). Within this context, a further step is to explore how these two representational levels, and their corresponding modules, interact with the aim of arriving at a metalanguage of semantic representation for the analysis of texts in English and Spanish. 
Consequently, in the light of the results obtained in three previous research projects (HUM2005-02870/FILO,  FFI2008-05035-C02-01and FFI2008-05035-C02-02), where we have elaborated an inventory of lexical and constructional templates together with the design of the basic architecture of FunGramKB, the primary objective of this Project is to develop an interface / linkage (a linguistic-conceptual interface) that connects up the linguistic and the conceptual levels that form part of the knowledge base with the aim of arriving at a formal representation that we have termed conceptual logical structure. This formalism will allow us to build the semantic representation of a text from its syntactic format. We claim that the results of this project can have a deep impact both in a linguistic and a computational context. In a linguistic context, this project lays the foundations for the development of a linguistic-conceptual interface which, as part of a bidirectional linking algorithm, provides us with a semantic representation of a text. In a computational context, the results of this project can provide powerful tools for the development of crosslinguistic information retrieval systems. Hence, the division of tasks between the two projects goes as follows.