FrameNet, Frame Structure, and the Syntax-Semantics Interface

  • Rainer OsswaldEmail author
  • Robert D. Van ValinJr.
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 94)


The Berkeley FrameNet project aims at implementing Fillmore’s Frame Semantics program on a broad empirical basis. The syntactic environments of words in corpora are systematically aligned with the semantic frames evoked by the words. It is Fillmore’s vision that such a collection of valency data can pave the way for an empirically grounded theory of the syntax-semantics interface. In this article, we examine to what extent this goal can be achieved by the FrameNet approach in its present form. We take a close look at verbs of cutting and separation and at the representation of events and results in the latest FrameNet version. Our investigation reveals a certain lack of systematicity in the definition of frames and frame relations, which may hinder the derivation of linking generalizations. This situation seems to be partly due to the expectation that a system of frames can be developed on a data-driven, purely bottom-up account. As a possible solution, we argue for a richer frame representation which systematically takes into account the inner structure of an event and thereby inherently captures structural relations between frames.


Syntax-semantics-interface FrameNet Relations between frames Structure of frames 



The research presented here was supported by the Research Unit 600 “Functional Concepts and Frames” and the Collaborative Research Centre 991 “The Structure of Representations in Language, Cognition, and Science”, both funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). We would like to thank Hans Boas, Jens Fleischhauer, Thomas Gamerschlag, Ulrich Heid, Josef Ruppenhofer, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Information ScienceHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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