A comparative analysis of semantic frames and constructions in the English and German translations of Le Petit Prince

Ahn, Ji Hyun, M.A.
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The goal of my Master’s Report is to gain a better understanding of how the semantics of the frames are realized syntactically by applying the theories of Frame Semantics and Construction Grammar to parallel texts. The report seeks answers to the following research questions. First, do the English and German translations of the same source text evoke “maximally comparable frames” (Čulo 2013: 142)? Second, to what degree is the assignment of semantic frames realized with different morpho-syntactic constructions? Chapter 1 introduces the topic of the report and the research questions. In Chapter 2, I review prior research on multilingual lexical databases using semantic frames, text analysis and translations through semantic frames and constructions, FrameNet, and the Berkeley constructicon (a repository of grammatical constructions). In Chapter 3, I introduce my methodology for annotation and analysis as well as my data. In addition to the phrase type construction layers and the frame layers developed by Ziem et al. (2014), my annotations consist of the lemma layer, part of speech layer, and layers for other grammatical/schematic constructions including word order construction, tense constructions, number constructions, subject-predicate agreement constructions, and subject-auxiliary-inversion constructions. The data in my Master’s Report consists of five pairs of English and German sentences translated from the French source Le Petit Prince. In Chapter 4, I provide annotations of each of the five sentences from the English translation and the German translation, using annotations I created with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. After I provide the annotation of the first English sentence, I provide a prose description followed by the annotation of the German translation and its prose description. Then, I discuss similarities and differences in how the semantic frames are evoked by different LUs and to what degree the realizations of constructions diverge between the two sentences. Chapter 5 summarizes my results and discusses future research on the topic.