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Abstract Marinelli

Computational Resources And Electronic Corpora. In Metaphor Evaluation

Based on the EuroWordNet/ItalWordNet model a terminological database was built which contains an approximate 2800 lemmas belonging to the specialized lexicon of the technical-nautical and maritime transport domain. From our lexicographic experience, we have started to evaluate the idiomatic expressions and metaphors concerning this domain/cultural environment (Marinelli and Roventini, 2005), to study the relationship between the maritime domain as “source domain”, i.e. the domain supporting the literal meaning of the expression, and the concepts described in the “target domain”, i.e. the domain the sentence is actually about (Croft and Cruse, 2004).

A set of “dead metaphors” has been identified, e.g.: scapolare (to escape), faro (lighthouse), sopravvento (windward), galera (prison), etc., as well as a set of metaphorical/metonymic expressions, for example essere in alto mare (to be at sea), varare una legge (to launch a law), andare contro corrente (to sail against the wind), etc., that have been lexicalized and are used in everyday language, in newspapers, on TV, etc. In fact, considering the terms already codified in the terminological database, a high percentage of terms is also used in metaphorical sense, in particular with verbs e.g.: navigare (to sail), and adverbial phrases e.g.: col vento in poppa (before the wind). So we thought it necessary to represent the semantic code of metaphors and idiomatic expressions in the terminological database exploiting new semantic relations. They have been created to represent the sense extension phenomenon, as well as the linking with the equivalent or closest expressions in English, as allowed by the EWN/IWN model, by means of the “equivalence relations”.

The use of idiomatic expressions and metaphors of this domain (at key points in the texts) has been verified in a large corpus of Italian contemporary language, starting from a small set of terms (nouns and a few verbal forms), supporting the idea that there is a crucial level of conceptual structure for metaphor analysis, where it is possible to explain the experiential grounding of expressions and their extended meanings and uses (Heywood and Semino, 2005).

Our research in this field can actually be supported in the most effective way by computational resources, that help in codifying, translating and structuring particular meanings; at the same time, it can be fostered by the analysis and comparison with our linguistic resources namely by electronic corpora, showing actual situations of use, with many more “elaborations” than expected, that may have relevance “for anyone interested in the conceptual analysis of language and in conceptual structure” (Grady et al., 1999).



Croft W., Cruse D. A. Cognitive Linguistics. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Grady J., Oakley T., Coulson S., Blending and Metaphor. In Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics. Steen and Gibbs (Eds.). Benjamins, 1999.

Heywood J., Semino E., Source ‘scenes’ and source ‘domains’: insights from a corpus-based study of metaphors for communication, Lancaster University, 2005.

Marinelli R., Roventini A., (2005). Some Considerations about the Italian Maritime Lexicon Structuring. In Proceedings of IX Simposio Internacional de Comunicación Social, Santiago de Cuba, 2005.