An empiricist’s view of the ontology of lexical-semantic relations

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Taking a usage-based perspective, lexical-semantic relations and other aspects of lexical meaning are characterised as emerging from language use. At the same time, they shape language use and therefore become manifest in corpus data. This paper discusses how this mutual influence can be taken into account in the study of these relations. An empirically driven methodology is proposed that is, as an initial step, based on self-organising clustering of comprehensive collocation profiles. Several examples demonstrate how this methodology may guide linguists in explicating our implicit knowledge of complex semantic structures. Although these example analyses are conducted for written German, the overall methodology is language-independent.


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