LINGUIST List 6.998

Fri Jul 21 1995

Summaries: Subcategorization Frames

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. E. Wayles Browne, Re: 6.329, Subcat frames of verbs

Message 1: Re: 6.329, Subcat frames of verbs

Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 09:19:58 Re: 6.329, Subcat frames of verbs
From: E. Wayles Browne <>
Subject: Re: 6.329, Subcat frames of verbs

In Linguist 6-329, 04 Mar 1995, I asked:
"For a colleague who is not on the list: What dictionaries (on-line or
printed) are available of subcategorization frames of verbs? E.g.
obligatory or optional complements or adjuncts, semantic requirements of
predicates. We are interested in English and/or in Slavic languages.
Please write to my address:"
Here now is my delayed (apologies!!) summary of replies.
- --------------------------
>Marija Popova, Krat(u)k valenten rechnik na
>glagolite v s(u)vremennija b(u)lgarski knizhoven ezik, Sofia: BAN 1987 -- I
>think it has the kind of information you're looking for.
vakarelOREGON.UOREGON.EDU (Cynthia Vakareliyska)
- -------------------
You'll surely have many references to the following work, but I'd
suggest your colleague look into __English Verb Classes and
Alternations__ by Beth Levin. The University of Chicago Press, 1993.

In that work, Levin treats characteristic subcategorial frames for some
3,000 verbs in English. She then (as the title suggests), characterizes
verb classes by shared sets of alternations.

Nota bene: In my own work in lexical semantics, I have found Levin to
OVERclaim the traits characteristic of particular verb classes. That is,
when I have checked her work, taking the stated list of alternations
characteristic of a class, checking that against each particular verb
in the class, I have found that there are big mis-matches. Just because
she says that class X exhibits alternations A, B, and C and lexeme l is
a member of of Class X, that doesn't mean that that lexeme actually
exhibits the alternations claimed of the class.
Nonetheless, her work is a very good reference tool and I do recommend
it to your colleague.
rebecca wheeler
- ----------------------------------
 I am working on a PhD dissertation whose title is "Subcategorization
Frames of Bulgarian Verbs within the Framework of Unification-Based
Formalisms", especially HPSG.
 For Bulgarian, a South Slavic language, there is one printed valency
Maria Popova
Short valency dictionary of verbs in Contemporary Bulgarian
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Publishing House, Sofia, 1987
 There is a Russian dictionary I know of, and it is the following:
Syntactic Dictionary
Moscow, "Nauka', 1988
 It will take some time until my own model of verbal subcategorization
in Bulgarian is ready. It is intended to serve the needs of Computational
 Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
 Linguistic Modelling Laboratory
 25A Acad.G.Bonchev St.
 1113 Sofia
- ------------------------

>the **commercial** machine translation system METAL by Siemens/Sietec
>in Munich, Germany has a quite refined/elaborated system for
>describing verb frames and verb lexica (of different sizes)
>for German, English, Russian, Spanish, Dutch and more to come.
>I am just telling you, because if you are interested I will have to talk
>to my bosses about it, and moreeover, it will not be available
>without pay.
>Cheers Manfred Immler
- ---------------------------
>From: Mark Liberman <>
>For information about how to get the COMLEX English Syntax Lexicon,
>email, or call 215-898-0464.
>{COMLEX: COMmon LEXical Database of English}
>This project develops resources in three areas: pronunciation, syntax,
>and semantics of English. In the first two, LDC offers electronic
>dictionaries, first released in MY94 [...]. In
>semantics, LDC supports the development of a public domain compendium
>of lexical semantic relations known as WordNet, which is publicly
>available. Further, LDC is developing for publication, probably by
>summer 1995, text corpora annotated in terms of both the word sense
>categories of WordNet and the syntactic features of the COMLEX Syntax
>[For a description of WordNet, see George Miller (ed.), WordNet: An
>on-line lexical database, in International Journal of Lexicography
>(special issue), 3(4):235-312, 1990, or George Miller, Claudia
>Leacock, Randee Tengi, and Ross Bunker: A semantic concordance, in
>Proceedings of the Human Language Technology Workshop, pages 303--308,
>Princeton, NJ, March 1993. For ftp access information send email to
>, or browse at]
>The COMLEX databases are intended to provide a comprehensive set of
>lexical resources for research and development in computational
>linguistics. They will be revised and expanded continuously, with
>feedback from the community of users, and current members will receive
>all new versions.
>{\em The initial (MY94 and MY95) versions of the electronic
>dictionaries are being distributed only by ftp.} Contact LDC for
>instructions to obtain license forms and the dictionaries.
>\subsubsection{COMLEX English Syntax} This is a moderately broad
>coverage English lexicon (with about 38,000 lemmas) developed at New
>York University under LDC sponsorship. It contains detailed
>information about the syntactic characteristics of each lexical item,
>and is particularly detailed in its treatment of subcategorization
>(complement structures). It includes 92 different subcategorization
>features for verbs, 14 for adjectives, and 9 for nouns. These
>features distinguish not only the different constituent structures
>which may appear in a complement, but also the different control
>features associated with a constituent structure.
>Version 0, released in August 1994, is available by ftp to members for
>MY94 or MY95 who sign a license agreement, which is also found on the
>LDC ftp site.
>Some references for the syntax and semantics work:
>Ralph Grishman, Catherine Macleod, and Adam
>Meyers. Comlex syntax: Building a computational lexicon. To appear
>in Proc. 15th Int'l Conf. Computational Linguistics ({COLING} 94),
>Kyoto, Japan, August 1994.

- ------------------------
>From: (John Godfrey)
>I believe that what you are looking for in English is the COMLEX
>Syntax dictionary, part of the "COMmon LEXicon of English" project at
>the Linguistic Data Consortium. I will point you to our ftp site and
>WWW address, append a short descriptive paper by Grishman, and you or
>your colleague may follow up on these, or correspond with us at LDC at
>the email address There is a catalog of LDC
>holdings, including a description of COMLEX, among the ftp materials.
>IF ftp is inconvenient, let me know by return mail and we will send a
>paper copy (about 45 pages) to you or your colleague.
>Executive Director, | Telephone: 215-573-3595 |
>Linguistic Data Consortium | Fax: 215-573-2175 |
>441 Williams Hall | |
>University of Pennsylvania | E-mail: |
>Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305 | or: |
>LDC's ftp site: (directories beginning at pub/ldc/)
>Latex version of paper on COMLEX Syntax [here omitted; contact the ftp
site to get it]
- --------------------------------
>From: Chris Manning <>
>I have a little info on this for English at:
>The text of which is:
>The following dictionaries all list surface subcategorization frames (each
>with a different annotation scheme). They are also all available in
>electronic form from the publishers (not free).
> Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary. London: Collins, 1987.
> Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Burnt Mill, Essex: Longman,
> 1978.
> Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English. Oxford: Oxford
> University Press, Fourth Edition, 1989. The third edition also had
> on subcategorization frames, although in a different incompatible format.
> However, a partial version of the third edition (with this information) is
> available free online from the Oxford Text Archive. (By ftp to
>or email enquiries to:
>Not exactly a dictionary, but another popular source is:
> Levin (1993)
> Beth Levin. 1993. English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary
> Investigation. Chicago. Discusses linguistic distinctions (like
> unergative/unaccusative verbs, dative shift, etc., not made by the above
> dictionaries).
- -------------
>Uchebny Slovar' Sochetayemosti Slov Russkogo Yazyka
>edd. P. N. Denisov, V.V. Morkovkin
>Moskva: Izdatyel'stvo "Russki Yazyk" 1978
>which gives characteristic collocates of 2,500 headwords and their derivates.
>Nicholas Ostler
>Linguacubun Ltd
>17 Oakley Road
>London N1 3LL
- --------------
For Russian, see Morton Benson, Russian-English
dictionary of verbal collocations (REDVC). Amsterdam/Philadelphia : J. Benjamin
 Pub. Co., 1993., also I.Mel'cuk et al., Tolkovo-kombinatornyj slovar'
russkogo jazyka. Mel'cuk also has 3 volumes of dictionary entries for
French. An important feature of his approach is detailed subcategorization
- ---------------

Wayles Browne, Assoc. Prof. of Linguistics
Morrill Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853, U.S.A.
tel. 607-255-0712 (o), 607-273-3009 (h)
e-mail (1989 to 1993 was: jn5jcornella.bitnet //
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