Culture specific aspects of semantic frames in multilingual frame descriptions

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2017-05

Authors

VanNoy, Annika

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Abstract

This dissertation employs the theory of Frame Semantics (Fillmore 1982) to analyze the meanings of culture-specific words. Based on the idea that semantic frames based on English should in principle be usable to catalogue and analyze meanings of similar words across different languages, I discuss the types of underlying frames necessary for an analysis of three culture-specific German words, namely Kulanz (‘an act of courtesy following a previous commercial transaction’), Freund/Freundin (‘friend’), and abstauben (‘scoring a soccer goal’). Using data from electronic corpora I demonstrate that existing frames from the Berkeley FrameNet database for English (Fillmore and Baker 2010) are not sufficient to account for the three highly culture-specific words under investigation. Combining collocational analysis with information extracted from existing monolingual and bilingual dictionaries I propose culture-specific new frames for all three words under investigation. In addition, the data analysis for Freund and abstauben illustrates the need to augment the frame description to capture meaning components that are not overtly expressed in the corpus data. I propose a frame augmentation by means of Natural Semantic Metalanguage cultural scripts (Wierzbicka 1996), which allows for direct access to the implicit meaning components and aids the initial frame description in capturing the culture-specific concepts of Freund and abstauben.

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