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Title: Complex concepts : the semantics of noun modification
Author: Hipwell, Peter Michael
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis investigates adjective-noun and noun-noun combinations: structures known as complex concepts (Murphy (1988)). Many theories have been advanced to explain how the meanings of the two words are combined to produce the meaning of the combination. However, individual studies tend to focus on a limited set of examples. It is thus unclear how far proposed models can be generalised. The approach taken in this thesis is a data-intensive one: models are analysed and extended in the light of the range of combinations found in a large sample of natural language (over 400,000 examples are available for consideration). This gives a coverage of combination types unavailable even in previous corpus-based studies of this field (e.g. Levi (1978)). The strength of the thesis lies in this access to a large number of examples of complex concepts: the models it advances are intended to cope with the actual range of combinations found. Models are described using schemata, representational structures that are used in both linguistic and psychological models of concept combination (e.g. the modelling of adjective meaning in the generative lexical work of Pustejovsky (1995), or in the psychological work of Smith et al. (1989)). The thesis thus serves to give a picture of complex concepts covering a wide variety of different types of combination, while using a single standard for semantic representation. Individual chapters deal with different aspects of the corpus material: a number of modelling innovations are introduced. Modifiers indicating properties of shape, colour and size are studied in detail. The modifiers are modelled as carrying out types of property mapping (see Wisniewski and Love (1998)): the schema structures advanced account for the range of uses that particular modifiers have, as well as for a range of modifier types.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available