A frame-analysis of the interplay of grammar and cognition in emission verbs

  • 1 Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Jens Fleischhauer, Thomas Gamerschlag and Wiebke Petersen


Most decompositional approaches are confined to representing event structural properties whereas the idiosyncratic lexical content is often reduced to an unanalyzed atomic root. While approaches of this type are successfully applied to argument linking and some additional grammatical phenomena, we argue that other grammatically relevant aspects of verb behavior cannot be accounted for in this way. In order to illustrate the limits of ‘traditional’ decompositional accounts, we focus on the class of verbs of emission. Verbs of this class exhibit some grammatical asymmetries whose analysis requires lexical decomposition beyond traditional event structure templates. We argue that frames are a suitable format for extending event structure templates and provide an analysis of the phenomena at issue.

  • Barsalou, Lawrence W. 1982. Context-independent and context-dependent information in concepts. Memory & Cognition 10(1). 82–93.

  • Barsalou, Lawrence W. 1992. Frames, concepts, and conceptual fields. In Adrienne Lehrer & Eva F. Kittay (eds.), Frames, fields, and contrasts, 21–74. Erlbaum: Hillsday.

  • Bolinger, Dwight. 1972. Degree words. The Hague: Mouton.

  • Croft, William. 1991. Syntactic categories and grammatical relations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Dowty, David. 1979. Word meaning and Montague Grammar. Dordrecht: Reidel.

  • Fillmore, Charles J. 1982. Frame semantics. In Linguistic Society of Korea (ed.), Linguistics in the morning calm, 111–137. Seoul: Hanshin Publishing.

  • Fleischhauer, Jens. 2016. Degree gradation of verbs. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press.

  • Gamerschlag, Thomas, Wilhelm Geuder & Wiebke Petersen. 2014. Glück auf der Steiger kommt – a frame account of extensional and intensional ‘steigen’. In Doris Gerland, Christian Horn, Anja Latrouite & Albert Ortmann (eds.), Meaning and grammar of nouns and verbs, 115–144. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press.

  • Goldberg, Adele E. & Ray Jackendoff. 2004. The English resultative as a family of constructions. Language 80. 532–568.

  • Hamawand, Zeki. 2016. Semantics – A cognitive account of linguistic meaning. Sheffield: Equinox.

  • Kallmeyer, Laura & Rainer Osswald. 2013. Syntax-driven semantic frame composition in Lexicalized Tree Adjoining Grammars. Journal of Language Modelling 1(2). 267–330.

  • Kaufmann, Ingrid. 1995a. What is an (im)possible verb? Restrictions on Semantic Form and their consequences for argument structure. Folia Linguistica XXIX (1–2). 67–103.

  • Kaufmann, Ingrid. 1995b. Konzeptuelle Grundlagen semantischer Dekompositionsstrukturen: Die Kombinatorik lokaler Verben und prädikativer Komplemente. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

  • Levin, Beth. 1993. English verb classes and alternations. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

  • Levin, Beth & Rappaport Hovav, Malka. 1991. Wiping the slate clean: A lexical semantic exploration. Cognition 41(1–3). 123–151.

  • Levin, Beth & Malka Rappaport Hovav. 1995. Unaccusativity: At the syntax-lexical semantics interface. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Levin, Beth & Malka Rappaport Hovav. 2005. Argument realization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Löbner, Sebastian. 2012. Sub-compositionality. In Markus Werning, Wolfram Hinzen & Edouard Machery (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compositionality, 220–241. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Löbner, Sebastian. 2017. Frame theory with first-order comparators: Modeling the lexical meaning of punctual verbs of change with frames. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation (Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 10148), 98–117. Berlin: Springer.

  • Naumann, Ralf. 2013. An outline of a dynamic theory of frames. In Proceedings of the 9th International Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation (Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 7758), 115–137. Berlin: Springer.

  • Naumann, Ralf & Wiebke Petersen. 2017. Semantic predictions in natural language processing, default reasoning and belief revision. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation (Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 10148), 118–145. Berlin: Springer.

  • Petersen, Wiebke. [2007] 2015. Decomposing concepts with frames. In Thomas Gamerschlag, Doris Gerland, Rainer Osswald & Wiebke Petersen (eds.), Meaning, frames, and conceptual representation, 43–67. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press. [Reprint; first published in Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 2, 151–170.]

  • Petersen, Wiebke & Thomas Gamerschlag. 2014. Why chocolate eggs can taste old but not oval: A frame-theoretic analysis of inferential evidentials. In Thomas Gamerschlag, Doris Gerland, Rainer Osswald & Wiebke Petersen (eds.), Frames and concept types: Applications in language and philosophy (Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy 94), 199–220. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Rappaport Hovav, Malka & Beth Levin. 1998. Building verb meanings. In Miriam Butt & Wilhelm Geuder (eds.), The projection of arguments: Lexical and syntactic constraints, 97–134. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

  • Rappaport Hovav, Malka & Beth Levin. 2000. Classifying single argument verbs. In Peter Coopmans, Martin Everaert & Jane Grimshaw (eds.), Lexical specification and insertion, 269–304. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Vendler, Zeno. 1957. Verbs and times. Philosophical Review 56. 143–160.

  • Zwarts, Joost. 2005. Prepositional aspect and the algebra of paths. Linguistics and Philosophy 28(6). 739–779.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.

Journal + Issues

The Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association documents the exchange of ideas in the Cognitive Linguistics research community and related fields, not just in Germany but all over the world. It brings together researchers from a variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks, whose work is informed by a broad view of language both as an integral part of human cognition and as a set of socially situated communicative practices.