DFKI-LT - Head-Driven Lexical Representation of Idioms in HPSG

Gregor Erbach
Head-Driven Lexical Representation of Idioms in HPSG
1 volume 22,
CLAUS-Report, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, 5/1992

This paper is concerned with the lexical representation of idioms. We distinguish idioms from other kinds of multiple-word expressions like collocations, support-verb constructions, and lexicalized metaphors. A lexical representation for idioms in Head-driven Phrease Structure Grammar (HPSG) is proposed, which can account for the syntactic variability found in idiomatic constructions, and for the non-compositional semantics of idioms. Since all idioms, which are not completely fixed, consist of a lexical head and "frozen" complements, the information about an idiomatic expression can be encoded in the subcategorization list of the idiom's lexical head. Since idioms in volve selection for particular lexemes, a feature is added to HPSG signs to encode this lexemic information. It will be argued that the Locality Principle of HPSG is too strong because it prohibits the representation of idioms proposed in this paper, and that the Semantics Principle must be modified. We explain the fact that some idioms do not passivize by the fact that no thematic role is assigned to accusative objects like "the bucket" in "kick the bucket".
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