Definition frames as language-dependent models of knowledge transfer

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Published May 15, 2017
Špela Vintar Larisa Grčić Simeunović


Definitions are an important means of structuring knowledge in a domain. We explore definitions in the domain of karstology from a cross-language perspective with the aim of comparing the cognitive frames underlying defining strategies in Croatian and English. The experiment involved the semi-automatic extraction of definition candidates from our corpora, manual selection of valid examples, identification of functional units and semantic annotation with conceptual categories and relations. Our results comply with related frame-based approaches in that they clearly demonstrate the multidimensionality of concepts and the key factors affecting the choice of defining strategy, e. g. concept category, its place in the conceptual system of the domain and the communicative setting. Our approach extends related work by applying the framebased view on a new language pair and a new domain, and by performing a more detailed semantic analysis. The most interesting finding, however, regards the cross-language comparison; it seems that definition frames are language- and/or culture-specific in that certain conceptual structures may exist in one language but not the other. These results imply that a cross-linguistic analysis of conceptual structures is an essential step in the construction of knowledge bases, ontologies and other domain representations.

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Vintar, Špela, and Larisa Grčić Simeunović. 2017. “Definition Frames As Language-Dependent Models of Knowledge Transfer”. Fachsprache 39 (1-2):43-58.
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