Towards a Dynamic Lexicon: Predicting the Syntactic Argument Structure of Complex Verbs

The presentation summarizes the results of a recent (2002) corpus-based study on the syntactic argument structure of German separable verbs, in particular the question of its predictability from the argument structure of their bases. The study shows that the argument structure effects of verb formation with separable preverbs are astonishingly regular, even if the meaning of the resulting complex verb itself is opaque. Alternation patterns can be formulated for single preverbs or, in some cases, preverb classes as well. The results can be used in various ways in NLP and linguistic resource building: An implementation, e.g. in the form of LFG-style lexical rules, within a parser for German text will allow sensible guesses at argument structure frames for newly encountered complex verbs, even if the argument structure of the base verb is not known. Similarly, the patterns can be used for the acquisition of argument structure information for a (static) NLP lexicon. When integrated with a static dictionary, the patterns thus allow to deal with the productive formation of complex verbs and its impact on syntactic argument structure
Published in 2004