Benjamin Lyngfelt

Linguistic networks: Connecting constructions within and between languages

This project uses Construction Grammar to develop a linguistic network that (a) accounts for Swedish grammatical constructions and (b) connects them to constructions in other languages.

Linguistic analysis is typically stratified into levels (syntax, lexicon, etc.) and tends to disregard the interplay between the levels. Accordingly, linguistic patterns that combine properties from different levels are notoriously difficult for second-language learning, language technology and translation alike. For example, a Swedish pseudo-coordination such as “Hon går och grubblar”, which integrates properties from several linguistic levels, is literally but incorrectly translated “She goes and ponders” in Google Translate, instead of “She is worrying”.

Construction Grammar, in contrast, treats language as a network. Structures are analyzed as constructions, i.e., conventionalized combinations of form and function. A construction may combine properties from several linguistic levels, which benefits accurate descriptions of, e.g., pseudo-coordinations. With this approach, it is also possible to capture connections between structurally distinct constructions in different languages and contribute to better machine translations.

We have previously developed a Swedish construction database that will now be converted to a linguistic network. With tools from language typology, we will also connect it to networks for other languages. These two objectives are closely integrated and mutually dependent.
Grant administrator
University of Gothenburg
Reference number
SEK 6,966,000.00
RJ Projects
Specific Languages