Construction-Based MT Lexicons

  • Lori Levin
  • Sergei Nirenburg
Part of the Linguistica Computazionale book series (LICO, volume 9)


This paper presents a novel view of the boundary between the generalizable and the idiosyncratic in MT lexicons. We argue that the domain of the idiosyncratic should, in fact, be broader than in most current approaches. While at present most MT systems involve phrasal lexicons, these typically contain terminology from a particular field. In order to facilitate naturalness of translation, specifically, to carry the level of “conventionality” of meaning expression across languages, it becomes necessary to use the concept of a grammatical construction, a (possibly, discontiguous) syntactic structure or productive syntactic pattern whose meaning it is often impossible to derive solely based on the meanings of its components. Identification of constructions allows an MT system to select the most appropriate conventional way of expressing a meaning from among the available ways. After discussing the notion of construction, we suggest the format for a construction lexicon for a knowledge-based MT system.


Machine Translation Relative Clause Target Language Syntactic Structure Lexical Item 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori Levin
    • 1
  • Sergei Nirenburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityUSA

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