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Compositional vs. Frozen Sequences Jorge Baptista University of Algarve, Portugal firstname.lastname@example.org http://w3.ualg.pt/~jbaptis. Lexicon-Grammar Workshp, Beijing, 16-17 Oct. 2004. 1. Introduction. Compound words and frozen expressions constitute a major part of the lexicon of many languages.
University of Algarve, Portugal
Lexicon-Grammar Workshp, Beijing, 16-17 Oct. 2004
dogfish , fish knife , half-life
heavy element , <date> before present (present =1950).
fish knife / fish-knife,
fish finger / fish-finger
e.g. the set of time‑related nouns (dawn, morning, afternoon, sunset, evening, night), and prepositions, determiners or modifiers.
at noon / *at morning
in the evening / *on the evening
in the morning / *in morning
by morning / by the morning
e.g. the set of time‑related nouns
Politicians always cared about the opinion of the man in the street
John stopped in the middle of the street
John came to Paris by way of Madrid
John came to Paris in spite of my warnings against it
John came to Paris because of my warnings
-like: to be life-like, Algol-like languages
-proof: to be (bullet + water + …) -proof
John is (sick and tired + *tired and sick) of that
John ran(for a mile)
John ran away (to Brazil)
The batteries are running down
John ran into Mary
John ran off to Brazil
John ran off with a book
John’s lecture ran on
The printer ran out of paper
The truck ran over the dog
John ran through the entire proceeding
one hundred and twenty-one,
twenty-one thousand two hundred and twenty-one
a nice dog (a dog)
a hot dog (a sandwich)
a square table (a table)
a square root (a mathematical function)
Adam’s orange(an orange)
Adam’s apple (a part of the human body)
(G. Gross 1988, 1989).
a square table : a table that is square
a square root : *a root that is square
and also with many other compound nouns where we say that the adjective looses his predicativity.
a square table : a perfectly square table
a table that isperfectly square
a square root : * a perfectly square root
*a root that is perfectly square
a square (table + door + carpet + …)
in the same way as square can be replaced by other distributionally similar adjectives:
a (square + oval + triangular + oblong + …) table
a square (root + *twig + *branch + …)
a (square + *oval + *triangular + *oblong + …) root
round table (free combination or compound noun).
I have bought a round tablefor my dining room
(a piece of furniture)
I have attended a round table on French syntax
John bought a (E + square) table
He had an immense esteem for tradition(Henry James, Portrait of a Lady)
*He had esteem for tradition
*He had an esteem for tradition
John attended a round table on Chinese Syntax
*John attended a table on Chinese Syntax
John calculated the square root of 9
*John calculated the root of 9
O João calculou a raiz(E + quadrada) de 9
(John calculated the (E + square) root of 9)
John likes to drink (red + white + … ) wine
In this case, the adjective can be zeroed, with some loss of information:
John likes to drink (E + red) wine
A red wine is a type of wine
NP with free modifiers cannot enter classifying sentences:
*A square table is a type of table
Of course, compound nouns cannot enter these sentences either:
*A square root is a type of root
John calculated the (square+ cubic) root of that value
John likes to drink (red+ white+ … ) wine
which is closed for distributional variation:
John calculated the (square + cubic + *triangular + *spherical) root of that value
John likes to drink (red + white + *yellow + *blue… ) wine
John poured some (ascorbic+ citric+ nitric+ … ) acid into the solution
The dentist repaired one of my (incisive+ canine+ molar+ …) teeth
John was injured in one of his (cervical + lumbar + …) vertebrae
John likes to drink a glass of (wine + Porto + Bordeaux + …)
John likes to drink a glass of (E + Porto + Bordeaux + …) wine
This noun is inflected in the nominative case
This noun is inflected in the nominative(E + case)
The dentist repaired my (canine+ molar+…)(E + tooth)
John prefers to drink red(E + wine) to white (E + wine)
John was injured in a (*cervical + *lumbar + …)
O João ficou ferido numa (E + vértebra) (cervical + *dorsal + *lombar + *sacra)
The presidential address to the Congress *The address to the Congress that was presidential *The very presidential address to the Congress
<was very disturbing>
The President’s address to the Congress < was very disturbing >
The President made an address to the Congress
The presidential campaign <…>
However, some of these combinations cannot be derived from the reduction of support verb sentences.
(a) ‘the campaign that the President is making’, NP is equivalent to:
The president’s campaign <has been extremely violent>
b) it is a campaign where many people run for the office of President (and not necessarily the President himself), NP can appear in sentences such as:
The presidential campaign <takes place in September>
Notice that the regularly derived NP cannot appear in this context:
*The president’s campaign takes place in September
(A. Monceaux 1999)
relational adjectives: solar (sun) or lunar (moon)
AN noun phrases regularly derived from elementary sentences where moon or sun are an argument of a predicative noun, such as eclipse:
the eclipse of the (moon + sun) <lasted 20 minutes>
the (lunar + solar) eclipse<lasted 20 minutes>
?*the (moon + sun)’s eclipse<lasted 20 minutes>
*the (moon + sun) eclipse <lasted 20 minutes>
the lunar month <lasts 28 days>
*the moon’s month <lasts 28 days>
*the month of the moon <lasts 28 days>
*the moon month<lasts 28 days>
the solar year <lasts 365,25 days>
*the sun’s year <lasts 365,25 days>
*the year of the sun <lasts 365,25 days>
?*the sun year <lasts 365,25 days>
For example, national waters, is always used in the plural, in spite of the uncountable nature of water:
They prevented the ship from entering (national waters + *national water)
‘machine used to take photographs’ :
Instead, it is the simple word camera that is used to name this object.
FR: appareil photo (NN) ‘photo aparatus’
*appareil à photographier (N à V),
*appareil photographique (NA)
*photograph(i)euse / *photograph(i)eur (N-eur)
PT: máquina fotográfica (NA) ‘photographic machine’
*máquina de fotografar (N de V)
* foto-máquina (NN)
* fotografiadora (N-ora)/*fotografadora (V-ora)
In view of these language differences, many dictionaries used in machine translation may have to include some word combinations regardless of its semantic transparence.
These properties are the very same that are used to describe the syntactic relations between the elements of a free noun phrase.
Compound nouns differ from free noun phrases in that they do not admit some (or any) of these properties.
John is reading Shakespeare (now+ at this moment)
<That happened>at (this + that + the) moment
<I was doing this>for the moment
<I didn’t believe it>for a moment
<I did it>on the spur of the moment
<I did it>not a moment too soon
<That happened> at (this + that + *the) instant
<I did it> *for the instant
<I didn’t believe it>for an instant
<I did it> *on the spur of the instant
<That happened>?not an instant too soon
One moment John was reading quietly, the next moment he was crying
(At + *on + E) one moment John was reading quietly, (?*at + ?*on + E) the next (E + moment) he has crying
John goes jogging (everyday + every night)
at (this + that + the) moment, for (a + one) moment
John is reading Shakespeare for the moment
I believed for a moment John that was reading Shakespeare
<That happened>at that unfortunate moment
<That happened>at the moment we are speaking
<That happened>at this (precise + exact) moment
<That happened>at (this + that + *the) very moment
<That happened>at the (last + *first) moment
<That happened> *at this (imprecise + inexact) moment
<That happened> at(*this + *that + the) very moment I was speaking
<John arrived>not an moment too (soon+ *late)
<John will stay in his post> until hell freezes over (= forever)
<John will only get my post> when hens get teeth (= never)
<John will only get my post> when pigs fly (= never)
In these examples, one cannot change any element of the (frozen) subordinate clause.
<John moves> like a bull in a china shop(clumsily)
<John cried> like Magdalen(very much)
<The crowd rose to its feet> as one man(together, at the same time)
<John is as fast> as a bullet(= very fast)
<John is as white> as a sheet(= very white)
<John is deaf> as a post
Some compound adjectives may have been formed from such comparative structures:
John is stone deaf
John is deaf (as + like) a stone
but others do not admit this paraphrase:
*John is post deaf
*John is bullet fast
*John is sheet white
John (knows + learned + recited) the poem by heart
the adverb man-to-man can only modify SPEAK-like verbs:
John (spoke + talked)man-to-man to Paul
However, there are often many distributional, unpredictable constraints:
*John (chatted + whispered)man-to-man to Paul
*John gossiped man-to-man with Paul
John heard that (E + straight) from the horse’s mouth(directly from a bona fide source)
ACL, 2003. Proceedings of the Workshop on Multiword Expressions: Analysis, Acquisition and Treatment. Sapporo, Japan: ACL; 2004. Proceedings of the Workshop on Multiword Expressions: Integrating Processing. Barcelona, Spain: ACL
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