cSCAN Rounds

Surfing the frame net: Metonymy and similar phenomena as evidence for a frame approach to concepts

ForthcomingThe talk presents a novel analysis of metonymy and similar mechanisms in word formation (for example the drive–driver derivation) in the framework of the Düsseldorf frame theory. This theory is currently being developed in a broad research collaboration on representations; it is based on the assumption that frames constitute a universal model of cognitive representations. In Düsseldorf frame theory it is assumed that lexical meanings and interpretations in context of linguistic expressions have frame structure. Applying this assumption to the ubiquitous conceptual phenomenon of metonymy provides a basis for understanding and modeling metonymy in a more precise way than in traditional approaches. I will propose to analyse metonymy as a conceptual operation that shifts the reference of a frame to a different node within it, where this operation is constrained by well-formedness conditions on frame structure. In a frame approach to concepts, this kind of shift is a natural basic operation. Also the structural constraints on frames explain restrictions on metonymy. I will argue that the naturalness, in this sense, of metonymy and the structural constraints on metonymy provide evidence for the assumption that concepts in human cognition have frame structure.