Representacion computacional de las perífrasis de fase: de la cognición a la computación (2016)

Author: Juan José Aparicio Mera

Supervisor: Irene Castellón i Marta Coll-Florit

This thesis, based on cognitive linguistics and stemming from an empirical perspective, deals with the phenomenon of Spanish phase periphrases. Thus, one of our goals is to understand, clarify and systematically characterize their semantic-aspectual status in order to represent them from a computational point of view. The semantics and aspect of the phase periphrases are considered as mechanisms of composition, in which the meaning of a complex unit is built from the meaning of simple units. We have also considered it necessary to represent the processes of coercion derived from the compositionality of meaning. That is, the movement between aspectual categories.In this proposal of representation, the focus is on the semantic-conceptual dimension of the periphrastic construction. Consequently, the concept of “scheme” is a key point in the analysis. This is why different combinations and restrictions arise in the formation processes of periphrases. A lexical verb can only participate in those periphrases that express an appropriate setting scheme for the denoted situation.This proposal of aspectual characterization of phase periphrases can capture both resulting restrictions from the interrelationship between lexical aspect and periphrastic context, and the gradual nature of the “Aktionsart”. Thus, new ways are offered for observing the relationship and the changes that occur between categories. Precisely, some aspectual categories, regarding their appearance frequency in phase periphrases, do not present a homogeneous internal organization, but have more prototypical members, which meet all the conditions defining their class, and more border members that, through processes of coercion, may move to other aspectual categories. This has allowed us to identify different aspectual subtypes.
The system of representation that is proposed is motivated not only cognitively; but, above all, it is empirically verified against the methodologies provided by corpus linguistics and statistical techniques. Therefore, this thesis gathers different empirical methodologies in the study of phase periphrases and their representation.In this sense, a study of corpus of broad-coverage has been made, which has allowed us, first of all, to confirm the fact that the phase periphrases are sensitive to the “Aktionsart”; secondly, to identify and classify the different resulting routes of aspectual coercion in this kind of periphrases, and last, to demonstrate that in these periphrases the greater expression, the lower functional profitability.The system of event structure analysis implemented has allowed us to develop an initial set of criteria for the annotation of the phase periphrases in a corpus of Spanish.Finally, the model of representation proposed allows cognition and computing to be brought near. The parameters of cognitive linguistics have been formalized and have been proved to be suitable for their computational representation.