LINGUIST List 27.1097

Tue Mar 01 2016

Confs: Lexicography, Semantics/Brazil

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 29-Feb-2016
From: Tiago Torrent <>
Subject: Frame-Based Accounts of Specialist Languages
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Frame-Based Accounts of Specialist Languages

Date: 05-Oct-2016 - 07-Oct-2016
Location: Juiz de Fora - Minas Gerais, Brazil
Contact: Marcin Grygiel
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Lexicography; Semantics

Meeting Description:

This theme session addresses the problem of how specialist languages, or their fragments, can be represented and modeled by means of the frame-based apparatus. The concept of ‘specialist languages’ is quite disputable in itself and worthy of academic discussion. Opting for a more aligned methodology, we aim at bringing these polarized views closer together. This should result in finding a more satisfying compromise on how to define specialist languages and related phenomena.

Specialist languages can be perceived as highly conventionalized, semi-natural and not fully autonomous communication codes limited to specific, predominantly formal, situations. A large number of them can be best characterized by subject matter and semantic content, but the most important distinctive element in their make-up seems to be the frame of context in which they are embedded.

Specialist languages can be thought of as representations of micro-realities which integrate specific linguistic expressions, expert knowledge, special practices and particular socio-cultural settings. All of these elements seem to be amenable to frame-based modeling in the form of dynamic scenarios with their interactional properties. A cognitive frame refers to events, perceived as schematized ‘scenes’ or ‘situations’, and has a form of a scenario containing typical roles played by participants, objects manipulated by them and background factors in which the events are anchored. As a result, frames have the advantage of making explicit both the potential semantic and syntactic behavior of specialist language units.

Frames are typically activated and indexed by words (or specialist terminology) associated with them. By means of frames, a language-user interprets her/his environment, formulates her/his own messages, understands the messages of others, and accumulates or creates an internal model of her/his world (Fillmore 1976: 23).Thus, frame-based approaches, more than other accounts, allow for the dynamicity, inherent to specialist languages, to be taken into consideration and are able to explain any specialist language in terms of an on-going process rather than to represent it as a ready-made product.

There have been a number of influential applications of Fillmore’s Frame Semantics (Fillmore 1976, 1982, 1985; Fillmore & Atkins 1992) and previous frame-based models to the study of specialist languages, specialized discourse, specialized terminology, specialized knowledge and ontology (e.g. Fillmore and Atkins 1992, Kralingen 1995, 1997; Faber 2012, 2014; Faber and León-Araúz 2014; Diederich 2015). For example, in Faber’s Frame-Based Terminology approach certain aspects of Frames Semantics are used to structure specialized domains and create non-language-specific representations. Such configurations form the conceptual meaning underlying specialized texts in different languages, and thus facilitate specialized knowledge acquisition.

The aim of the proposed theme session is to discuss a possible contribution of frame-based methodology to the study of specialist languages. We will be especially interested in examples of how frames are used to model specialist texts, discourses, terminology, knowledge, advertisements, practices, procedures, behavior, decision-making processes and reasoning. Presentations showing possible theoretical implications and potential problems with the application of frame-based accounts to the study of specialist languages are also highly encouraged.

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