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Facets of prefabrication. Perspectives on modelling and detecting phraseological units

Facets of prefabrication. Perspectives on modelling and detecting phraseological units

Corpus-based studies have brought fresh insights into the role of collocability and lexico-grammatical patterning as core aspects of language permeating its structure and use. Facets of Prefabrication builds upon these findings and provides further impetus in the direction of large-scale explorations of phraseology. lt introduces a dependency- based method of detecting potential phraseological units to increase the coverage of prefabricated structures in automatic combinatorial dictionaries which have so far been mainly restricted to binary collocations. Various sources of evidence are used to evaluate this approach and assess its relevance to phraseological theories, including word recall experiments and phraseological markers analyses. These investigations open new perspectives on the interplay of novelty vs. formulaicity in naturally-occurring language and increase our recognition of seemingly subtle, but nevertheless ubiquitous aspects of phraseological prefabrication.

  1. From novelty to prefabrication 9

Compositionality and novelty in language 9

Memory and prefabrication 14

Recognition of prefabrication 16

Facets of prefabrication 19


  1. Defining collocability 23

Incidence of prefabricated language 24

What are collocations? 28

Collocations as phraseological units 29

Identifying phraseological units 31

Properties of collocations 35

A review of definitions 38

Recurrence, recall and recomposition 47

Stereotyped recurrence 51

Summary 59


  1. Insights from phraseology extraction 61

Phraseology extraction 62

Positional models 62

Relational models 66

Automatic Combinatorial Dictionaries 67

The structure and functions of ACDs 72

Which reference corpora? 74

Phraseological units as dependency trees 76

Idioms as catenae 77

Dependency and collocability 90

Collocational catenae 94

Incidence of first-order collocational catenae in the BNC 104

Recurrence of binary collocational chains 107

Evaluation of binary ACDs 111

Extracting higher-order catenae 117

Subsumption 120

Catena-based ACD structure 123

Data-driven extraction 132

The effect of corpus composition 134

Grouping variants 136

Example application of phraseology detection 137

Conclusions 141


  1. Recall of collocational chains 143

Validation of automatic combinatorial dictionaries 143

Combining ‘in vivo’ and ‘in vitro’ data 148

The rigidity of collocational catenae 151

Recall in open-ended contexts 157

Draw vs. take a deep breath 158

Receive vs. get federal funds 163

Gain vs. win international fame 166

Cause significant vs. severe damage 169

Read the small vs. fine print 172

Walk a thin vs. fine line 175

Tell a white vs. little lie 177

Solve a difficult vs. complex problem 179

Play a key vs. important role 181

Get vs. gain a better understanding 184

Conduct comprehensive vs. do a quick survey 186

Do much vs. file necessary paperwork 189

Binary choice questions 191

Win a decisive vs. overwhelming victory 192

Sway vs. shape public opinion 195

Make a convincing vs. compelling argument 199

Draw vs. reach the same conclusion 202

Give the same vs. equal opportunity 204

A model 206

Conclusions 209


  1. Phraseology markers 213

The proverbial N 214

Syntactic patterns 219

Examples of other markers 224

Non-figurative phraseology 227

Proverbial as iconic 229

Derivations 235

Conclusions 237


  1. Conclusions 241


Bibliography 247

Index 261

Tables and Figures 263