Representing argument structure in computational grammars

Livnat Herzig Sheinfux, Nurit Melnik, Shuly Wintner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Existing approaches to the representation of argument structure in grammar tend to focus either on semantics or on syntax. Our goal in this paper is to strike the right balance between the two levels by proposing an analysis that maintains the independence of the syntactic and semantic aspects of argument structure, and, at the same time, captures the interplay between the two levels. Our proposal is set in the context of the development of a large-scale grammar of Modern Hebrew within the framework of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). Consequently, an additional challenge it faces is to reconcile two conflicting desiderata: To be both linguistically coherent and realistic in terms of the grammar engineering effort. We present a novel representation of argument structure that is fully implemented in HPSG, and demonstrate its many benefits to the coherence of our Hebrew grammar. We also highlight the additional dimensions of linguistic generalization that our proposal provides, which we believe are also applicable to grammars of other languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-750
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 10 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016Â.


  • HPSG
  • Hebrew grammar
  • Modern Hebrew
  • argument structure
  • semantic selection
  • syntactic selection
  • syntax-semantics interface


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