Wen wurmt der Ohrwurm?
An Interdisciplinary, Cross-Lingual Perspective on the Role of Constituents in Multi-Word Expressions

Workshop at the Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) 2017
Saarbrücken, Germany
March 8-10, 2017







Workshop publication:

Sabine Schulte im Walde and Eva Smolka, editors. "The Role of Constituents in Multi-Word Expressions: An Interdisciplinary, Cross-Lingual Perspective". Number 4 in Phraseology and Multiword Expressions. Language Science Press, Berlin, Germany, 2020.

Workshop report in the Journal of Word Formation:

Reference: Schäfer, Martin (2017). Conference report "Wen wurmt der Ohrwurm? An Interdisciplinary, Cross-Lingual Perspective on the Role of Constituents in Multi-Word Expressions" (Workshop at the 39th DGfS Annual Conference "Information und sprachliche Kodierung", Saarbrücken, 08.-10.03.2017). Journal of Word Formation, 1(2), 91-97.

Workshop description:

The processing and representation of multi-word expressions (MWEs), ranging from noun compounds (e.g. hogwash in English, and Ohrwurm in German) to particle verbs (e.g. give up in English, and aufgeben in German) has remained an unsettled issue over the past 20+ years.

From a psycholinguistic perspective the question is how the semantic transparency of the constituents affects the processing and representation of the MWE they compose (Libben, 2006; Gagne and Spalding, 2009; Ji et al., 2011; Marelli and Luzzatti, 2012). For example, the semantic transparency of the head has been found to affect the processing of noun compounds in English but not in German, with similar findings contrasting the effects of semantic transparency in English and German particle verbs (Smolka et al., 2014).

From a computational perspective the question is how the different types of constituents (i.e., modifiers vs. heads, particles vs. verb stems) influence the automatic prediction of semantic transparency, as typically addressed by vector space models relying on the distributional hypothesis and empirical co-occurrence information from large corpora (Reddy et al., 2011; Bell and Schäfer, 2013; Salehi and Cook, 2013; Schulte im Walde et al., 2013; 2016).

In this workshop, we aim to exploit complementary evidence from the two very different types of MWE (noun compounds and particle verbs) to shed light on the interaction of constituent properties and compound transparency. We invite research contributions across languages and across research disciplines to provide a cross-linguistic perspective integrating linguistic, psycholinguistic, corpus-based and computational studies.

Relevant aspects include (but are not restricted to)

  • investigations on the role of constituent ambiguity;
  • conditions for analogies and meaning shifts;
  • the age at which children are affected by constituent transparency;
  • evidence from neologisms; and
  • empirical constituent properties (e.g. frequency and productivity).

Invited speakers:

Gary Libben,
Department of Applied Linguistics, Brock University

Marco Marelli,
Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University

Workshop organisers:

Sabine Schulte im Walde,
Institut für Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung, Universität Stuttgart

Eva Smolka,
Fachbereich Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Konstanz