Spranger, M. and Loetzsch, M. Syntactic indeterminacy and semantic ambiguity - A case study for German spatial phrases. In Steels, L., editor, Design Patterns in Fluid Construction Grammar, Constructional Approaches to Language (vol. 11), pages 265-298, John Benjamins. Amsterdam, 2011.

Sony CSL authors: Martin Loetzsch, Michael Spranger


This chapter presents an operational grammar for German spatial language, in particular German locative phrases, as a case study for processing distributed information. It investigates the complex interplay of syntactic phenomena and spatial semantics, with a specific emphasis on efficient processing of syntactic indeterminacy and semantic ambiguity. Since FCG applies constructions in a sequence one after the other, the main challenge lies in mutual dependencies between constructions, that is, some constructions require pieces of information in order to make decisions that are only later on provided by other constructions. We present solutions and design patterns for dealing with these processing issues, which all have in common the strategy of postponing decisions as long as possible in processing until all the necessary information for making the decision is available.

Keywords: spatial language, German locative phrase, grammar, fcg, frames of reference, semantic ambiguity, syntactic indeterminacy


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BibTeX entry

@INCOLLECTION { spranger:11c, ADDRESS="Amsterdam", AUTHOR="Spranger, M. and Loetzsch, M.", BOOKTITLE="Design Patterns in Fluid Construction Grammar", EDITOR="Steels, L.", PAGES="265--298", PUBLISHER="John Benjamins", SERIES="Constructional Approaches to Language", TITLE="Syntactic indeterminacy and semantic ambiguity - A case study for German spatial phrases", VOLUME="11", YEAR="2011", }