Directeur : Professor Hélène WLODARCZYK Home Page

Meta-Language and Conceptual Modelling

   The project aims at standardizing the European grammatical metalanguage. Grammatical concepts and terms in each language originate in national traditions (in connection with local or particular identity) giving the illusion of particularities that often reveal to be only of terminological nature.

    In order to verify whether either the national peculiarities of pedagogical grammars (terms and concepts) mirror real differences or they are merely due to terminological differences it is necessary to produce formalized descriptions of data on various languages using a finite number of elementary concepts arranged in feature structures in computerized databases. The SEMANA platform was designed at CELTA for analyzing such databases. This approach is conceived as “post-experimental” contrastive linguistics and it aims at verifying concepts used in national grammars using large corpora of uses.

    The problem is not simply terminological but it consists in formalizing and unifying grammatical theories concerning semantic categories (role, aspect, modality, gender, animacy, etc). In particular, the formalized ASMIC theory developped at CELTA makes it possible to conduct research on relations between semantics and pragmatics and to give account of what is specific and what is common in the linear form of expressions of various languages. Moreover, the semantic approach implemented in SEMANA is based on the distinction between the common domain models and the semantics, the latter being characteristic of each natural language (this may be represented as partial trees cut out of a common tree of semantic features describing categories).

    This theoretical research based on the intercomprehension between specialists of different languages can be applied to the elaboration of a standardized terminology for language teaching in order to improve the quality of teaching materials and grammars especially for Second Language Acquisition.

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