Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to constructing multilingual lexical databases using semantic frames. Starting with the conceptual information contained in the English FrameNet database, we propose a corpus-based procedure for producing parallel lexicon fragments for Spanish, German, and Japanese, which mirror the English entries in breadth and depth. The resulting lexicon fragments are linked to each other via semantic frames, which function as interlingual representations. The resulting parallel FrameNets differ from other multilingual databases in three significant points: (1) they provide for each entry an exhaustive account of the semantic and syntactic combinatorial possibilities of each lexical unit; (2) they offer for each entry semantically annotated example sentences from large electronic corpora; (3) by employing semantic frames as interlingual representations, the parallel FrameNets make use of independently existing linguistic concepts that can be empirically verified.1

1 I am grateful to Charles Fillmore, Collin Baker, Carlos Subirats, Kyoko Hirose Ohara, Hans U. Boas, Jonathan Slocum, Inge De Bleecker, Jana Thompson, and three anonymous referees for very helpful comments on the material discussed in the article.

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