UFJF - Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora

Frame-Based Accounts of Specialist Languages

You are at: Home > Theme sessions > Frame-Based Accounts of Specialist Languages


Pamela Faber | University of Granada, Spain

Marcin Grygiel | University of Rzeszów, Poland)


We propose a theme session at the 9th International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG9) that 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. In addition, by proposing the session, we hope to encourage studies carried out on specialist languages that, in our opinion, constitute an interesting and relatively underexplored testing ground that is potentially capable of producing many new theoretical as well as practical insights to Frame Semantics and its methodology.

Specialist languages (e.g. language of law, language of business, language of aviation, language of football, language of journalism, etc.) 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. It schematizes connections between experience and language and contains links to more elaborate knowledge structures. 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-languagespecific representations. Such configurations form the conceptual meaning underlying specialized texts in different languages, and thus facilitate specialized knowledge acquisition. One of the basic premises of this approach is that the description of specialized domains is based on the events that generally take place in them, and can be represented accordingly (Grinev & Klepalchenko 1999).

Each knowledge area thus has its own event template. 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.

Keywords:  specialized discourse, terminology, knowledge representation, frame semantics

Accepted Papers:


The frame-based representation of SNOMED Clinical Terms®

Maria-Cornelia Wermuth

Collocational networks and morphosyntactic patterns in specialized corpora

Beatriz Sánchez Cárdenas and Carlos Ramisch

Frame to frame relations and specialized corpus in the development of semantic frames for the tourism domain

Maucha Andrade Gamonal

Combining Frame Semantics and distributional semantics to discover frames within the field of the environment

Daphnée Azoulay and Marie-Claude L’Homme

Multidimensionality in Frame-Based Terminology

Pilar León-Araúz

Exploring the Conventional Frame Constraint in metaphorical verb meanings from the environmental science domain

José Manuel Ureña Gómez-Moreno

Multimodality in Frame-Based Terminology

Arianne Reimerink

Participant and argument roles in Construction Grammar vs. semantic categories and semantic roles in Frame-based Terminology

Miriam Buendía Castro

Hyperversatility as a problem for frame-based conceptual modeling

Antonio San Martín

The emergence of the FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT frame as a result of cognitive mechanisms

Paulina Potęga and Marcin Grygiel

The function of interactional frames in the production and perception of oral poetry

Gintaras Dautartas

A frame-based multilingual knowledge base for sports and tourism – m.knob

Ely Matos, Tiago Torrent, Maucha Gamonal, Simone Peron, Alexandre Diniz