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Defining collocation for lexicographic purposes

From linguistic theory to lexicographic practice

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Edited By Adriana Orlandi and Laura Giacomini

This volume aims to promote a discussion on the definition of collocation that will be useful for lexicographic purposes. Each of the papers in the volume contains addresses in detail one or more aspects of three main issues. The first issue concerns, on the one hand, the boundaries between collocations and other word combinations, and the way in which lexicographers convey classifications to dictionary users. The second issue is the possibility, or even necessity, of adapting the definition of collocation to the objectives of different types of dictionaries, taking into account their specific micro- and macro-structural properties and their users’ needs. The third issue concerns the methods for collocation extraction. In order to tailor the definition of collocation to the actual dictionary function, it is necessary to develop hybrid methods relying on corpus-based approaches and combining data processing with criteria such as native speakers’ evaluation and contrastive analysis.

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Distributional restrictions based on word content and their place in dictionaries (Michele Prandi)

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Michele Prandi Distributional restrictions based on word content and their place in dictionaries Abstract: The aim of this paper is to sketch a typology of the different families of restrictions that constrain the distribution of conceptual contents within the structure of consistent sentences. Consistency criteria, traditionally named selection restrictions, constrain the access to processes and properties by the great categories of beings cir- cumscribed by a shared natural ontology: for instance, human beings are allowed to dream or speak, living beings to be born and die, whereas inanimate nature is barred to all these processes. Lexical solidarities (Porzig 1934) are language-specific lexical restrictions: for instance, German draws a line between eating by human beings – essen – and by animals: fressen. Finally, there are cognitive restrictions, motivated by shared models about the typical structure of empirical facts: for instance, streams flow, trees bear fruits, birds fly. These different layers of restrictions form a hierarchy. Consisten- cy criteria circumscribe from outside the area of consistent concepts, the same that is organised by both language-specific lexical structures and cognitive models. Lexical solidarities draw subtler distinctions among consistent concepts: murder, for instance, is kept distinct from kill in that it requires a human being as a direct object. This sup- plementary restriction is internal to the area of animate beings that circumscribes the consistent objects of kill and the consistent subjects of die. Cognitive models simplify the structure of empirical experience but are in turn consistent: it is possible to see or imagine birds that...

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