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The ontology of the stative situations in the models of language: a contrastive analysis of Bulgarian and Russian languages



Duration: 2020-2022

Type of project: collective, international

Funding: National Science Fund



Bulgarian team (Institute for Bulgarian Language, BAS)

Principal Investigator: prof. Svetla Koeva

Team members: prof. Svetla Koeva, prof. Maksim Stamenov, assist. prof. Ts. Dimitrova, assist. prof. S. Leseva, assist. prof. M. Todorova, Ivelina Stoyanova, assist. prof. V. Stefanova, H. Kukova, prof. Yovka Tisheva (associate member), assoc. prof. Marina Dzonova (associate member).

Russian team (St. Petersburg State University)

Principal Investigator: prof. Elena Ivanova

Team members: prof. Elena Ivanova, prof. Galina Kustova, prof. Anton Zimmerling, Aleksandr Letuchiy, Maria Ovsyannikova, Aleksandra Eremchenko.

Summary:

The project is focused on stative predicates and their argument structures in Bulgarian and Russian. The research is aimed at presenting typological and semantic description of stative predicates and predicatives, exploring the syntactic realization of their arguments and establishing a set of semantic and grammatical characteristics that govern diathesis and possible alternations. The language modeling will result into an ontology of the stative situations along with the models of conceptualization, lexicalization and grammaticalization of the stative predicates and predicatives in the two languages.

The main objective of the project is to give an abstract ontological representation of the types of state situations based on a set of differentiating semantic features.

Our hypothesis states that since conceptual information reflects the world around us and allows for cross-lingual communication, such abstract language independent description can be achieved through comparative analyses on different languages.

To this end, the following results need to be accomplished:

  • Description of the semantic and syntactic models of the stative situations in Bulgarian and Russian.
  • Comparison of semantic and syntactic models of the types of state situations in Bulgarian and Russian.
  • Description of the differentiating semantic features and their parameters for the realization of diathesis and alternations with the types of stative situations in Bulgarian and Russian.
  • An investigation of the current use of stative predicates and predicatives in different thematic fields in Bulgarian and Russian.

A prerequisite for achieving the main goal and the specific objectives is the study of the modern state of the usage of stative predicates and predicatives in various domains in Bulgarian and Russian. This aspect of the study is based on the fact that reliable theoretical knowledge can be drawn from quantitative and distributive analysis using advanced language technologies.

Another goal achieved by the above is to outline the main similarities and differences in models of conceptualisation, lexicalisation and grammaticalisation in expressing various types of statives in Bulgarian and Russian. The expectations based on previous research are that the two languages will demonstrate a number of typological similarities with respect to impersonal sentences with stative predicates and predicatives with a central semantic role of Experiencer.

The main result of the project will be the abstract (and as far as possible, language independent) ontological representation of the types of statives based on a set of semantically distinctive features and their parameters. This result will be based on several more particular results: formulation of an abstract set of semantic distinctive features and their parameters, which are necessary for the semantic description of the types of statives; the formulation of semantic distinctive features and their parameters, which are necessary for the description of diatheses and alternatives; formulating verification tests that ensure the reliability of the conclusions. The new knowledge is related to the fact that the ontological representation will be applicable to different languages because the semantic distinctive features (to a large extent) will be linguistically universal.

To achieve the main result the following will be accomplished:

1. Description of semantic and syntactic patterns for realisation of the various types of statives in Bulgarian and Russian.

The description will include the following for both Bulgarian and Russian: semantic classification of stative predicates and predicatives; formulation of semantic distinctive features and parameters necessary for the semantic description of the types of statives in Bulgarian and Russian; detailed syntactic and semantic analysis of the subclasses of stative predicates and predicatives and their corresponding arguments. Detailed semantic classification of stative predicates and predicatives and detailed syntactic and semantic analysis of different subclasses have not been offered so far.

2. Comparison between semantic and syntactic models for realisation of types of statives in Bulgarian and Russian.

The result will be presented as an analysis of the similarities, the identity and the differences between stative predicates and predicatives and their surroundings (arguments’ and adjuncts’ realization) in Bulgarian and Russian. The comparison will be performed on the basis of the collected empirical material and the summaries of the syntactic and semantic structure of the subclasses of predicates and predicatives. Such a large-scale comparative study has not been proposed so far, and not only for the selected pair of languages for comparison.

3. Description of the distinctive features and their parameters which determine the realisation of diatheses and alternations in expressing various types of statives in Bulgarian and Russian.

The expected result is to establish the set of semantic and grammatical characteristics that determine the realisation of diatheses and the possible alternations between them, which will facilitate the formulation of distinctive features and their parameters within which the diatheses and alternatives are realised. The consequence of this result will be the differentiation of the subclasses of state predicates and predicatives which are characterised by the same sets of diatheses and alternations. The novelty in the proposed approach is the theoretical justification and prediction for the realised diathesis and alternations, and the research conclusions will be based on the reliability of the empirical material.

4. Study of the modern state in the use of state predicates and predicatives in various domains in Bulgarian and Russian.

Empirical material will be collected for Bulgarian and Russian which will demonstrate the linguistic realisation of stative predicates and predicatives. We will make observations, analysis and conclusions on the frequency, distribution and translational equivalents of stative predicates and predicatives in Bulgarian and Russian. The corpora and lists of examples will be released openly.

5. Outlining the main similarities and differences in the models for conceptualisation, lexicalisation and grammaticalisation in expressing the meaning of statives in Bulgarian and Russian.

The main typological similarities and differences between the two languages will be outlines with respect to the semantics and the syntactic realisation of stative predicates and predicatives.

The indicators for the successful accomplishment of the project include (for the Bulgarian team):

  • Three studies (at least 2 published in international journals), three conference presentations and three publication in conference proceedings focused on the semantic and syntactic characteristics of stative predicates in Bulgarian.
  • Database of extracted examples illustrating stative predicates in Bulgarian and Russian (at least 1 000 sentences).
  • Three studies (at least 2 published in international journals), three conference presentations and three publication in conference proceedings focused on the semantic and syntactic characteristics of stative predicatives in Bulgarian.
  • Database of extracted examples illustrating stative predicatives in Bulgarian and Russian (at least 1 000 sentences).
  • Five chapters in a collection (published by an academic pulisher within the project) which discusses the problems of the comparison between Bulgarian and Russian in expressing stative predicates and predicatives; semantic and syntactic description of diatheses and alternations in stative predicates and predicatives; building an abstract ontological model of the types of statives and the stative predicates and predicatives in Bulgarian and Russian.
  • Five joint publications with the Russian researchers published in refereed and indexed journals focused on the comparison between Bulgarian and Russian with respect to the semantic and syntactic structures for expressing stative predicates and predicatives and their ontological representation.
  • Four joint presentations with the Russian researchers presented at conferences, as well as four joint publications in conference proceedings dedicated to the comparison between Bulgarian and Russian with respect to the semantic and syntactic structures for expressing stative predicates and predicatives and their ontological representation.


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