Associative relations and instrumentality in causality

Paul SambreCornelia Wermuth
Table of contents

Conceptual relations are “meaningful associations between two or more concepts, entities or sets of entities” (Khoo and Na 2006, 158). Terminological investigations into relations between concepts traditionally result in a trichotomy of conceptual relations specified as equivalent, hierarchical and associative. This classification is based on a logical criterion, in line with the pre-constructivist, realist ontology of Wüster’s time conception (Budin 2003, 75–76). Equivalent relations connect variants of terms (due to full logical overlap, often leading to a preferred term, next to a list of pseudo- and quasi-synonyms, in thesauri); hierarchical (also called static, vertical or snap) relations build connections between broader and narrower terms (the latter being logically included in the former, as in static terminological relations, and generally differentiated as generic links between type-instance or hypernym-hyponym on the one hand and so-called meronymic, partitive or whole-part relations on the other). Hierarchical relations, which are based on the Aristotelian intensional and partitive definition formats, are well described in detailed studies on concept systems and the (logical, set-theoretical) nature of generic and part-whole relations such as in thesauri or medical ontologies (Dahlberg 1978; Felber 2001, 61–65). In Wüster’s (1974) view, associative (also called horizontal, dynamic or span) relations, are considered secondary, as a residual ontological category that brings together two or more logically non-overlapping terms or concepts, situated in different temporal or locative zones. Given the fact that, traditionally, associative relations were defined negatively (Milstead 2001, 61) with respect to the two first types, as a single category wastebasket for marking all kinds of contiguity relations (Brdar-Szabó and Brdar 2004, 327; Maroto and Alcina 2009, 240), these relations have so far been less studied both from a theoretical-linguistic (Hebenstreit 2009, 15–16) and from a descriptive or terminographic perspective (Rogers 2005, 1852; Sager 1990, 53), even in concrete domains of application such as technology and medicine (Bodenreider, Aubry, and Burgun 2005, 91). This state of affairs is due to the priority given to taxonomic classifications in the study of lexicology and terminology, necessary to the corresponding standardization of lexical sub-classes on the one hand and to the impracticality of reducing associative relations to a limited set of semantic principles on the other. In contrast to static relations, associative relations cover indeed a potentially open array of semantic relations, where dynamicity and sequentiality of links between concepts may imply and integrate very different temporal, spatial, causal and other dimensions (Wright 1997, 90) based on the conceptual dissociated character of terms mentioned before and which is reflected in syntagmatic relations between terms. In the domains of terminology, general ontology and specific knowledge representations (Green, Bean, and Myang 2002, ix–x), the entire array of associative relationships has not actually been fully described and therefore we do not yet have a finite, uniform and complete list of associative relations, despite the fact that corpus studies on specialized language use convincingly show the limited pervasiveness of vertical relations with respect to horizontal ones in specialized corpora (Faber 2005; Faber et al. 2006). So importantly, authentic language use by experts does not only deal with ways of representing unitary concepts or objects as bounded regions or states alone, but also reflects the multidimensional nature of concepts, including also the many functions concepts fulfil, the ways in which they are used, the effects of their usage, as well as the ways in which concepts may be transformed (Grenon and Smith 2004; Smith 2012; Smith and Grenon 2004). The following example illustrates this co-occurrence of snap and span relations:

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Abbamonte, Lucia and Flavia Cavaliere
2012“Book Chapters in Academia: Authorship in Methods (Re-)Presentation and Conditional Reasoning.” In Genre Variation in Academic Communication. Emerging Disciplinary Trends, edited by Stefania M. Maci and Michele Sala, 199–229. Bergamo: CELSB.Google Scholar
Antia, Bassey E
2000Terminology and language planning: an alternative framework of practice and discourse. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Arntz, Reiner, Heribert Picht, and Felix Mayer
2004Einführung in die Terminologiearbeit. Hildesheim: Olms.Google Scholar
Auger, Alainn and Caroline Barrière
2008“Pattern-based approaches to semantic relation extraction.” Terminology 14(1):1–19. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Aussenac-Gilles, Nathalie and Marie-Paule Jacques
2008“Designing and evaluating patterns for relation acquisition from texts with Caméléon.” Terminology 14(1):45–73. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Barrière, Caroline
2001“Investigating the causal relation in informative texts.” Terminology 7(2):135–154. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
2002“Hierarchical refinement and representation of the causal relation.” Terminology 8(1):91–111. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Bittner, Thomas and Barry Smith
2003“Granular Spatio-Temporal Ontologies.” AAAI Symposium, 12–17.Google Scholar
Bodenreider, Olivier, Marc Aubry, and Anita Burgun
2005. “Non-lexical approaches to identifying associative relations in the gene ontology.” In Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing 2005, edited by Russ B. AltmanA. Keith Dunker, Lawrence Hunter, Tiffany A. Jung and Teri E. Klein, 91-102. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Bowker, Lynne
1996“Learning from cognitive science: developing a new approach to classification in terminology.” Euralex proceedings 1996(2):781–787.Google Scholar
Brdar-Szabó, Rita and Mario Brdar
2004“Predicative adjectives and grammatical-relational polysemy: the role of metonymic processes in motivating cross-linguistic differences.” In Studies in Linguistic Motivation, edited by Günter Radden and Klaus-Uwe Panther, 321–356. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.  MetBibGoogle Scholar
Budin, Gerhard
2003“Prospects of a philosophy of terminology.” Terminology Science & Research 14:71–80.Google Scholar
Budin, Gerhard and Hildegrund Bühler
1999“Grundsätze und Methoden der neueren Terminographie.” In Fachsprachen: ein internationales Handbuch zur Fachspracheforschung, edited by Lothar Hoffman, Hartwig Kalverkämper and Herbert Ernst Wiegand, 2096–2108. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Buendía Castro, Miriam
2012“Verb dynamics.” Terminology 18(2):149-166. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Buitelaar, Paul, Philipp Cimiano, Peter Haase, and Michael Sintek
2009“Towards Linguistically Grounded Ontologies.” In The Semantic Web: Research and Applications. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 5554/2009, 111–125. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Busse, Dietrich
2012Frame-Semantik. Ein Kompendium. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Cabré Castellví, M. Teresa
2003“Theories of terminology: their description, prescription and explanation.” Terminology 9(2):163–199. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Carstensen, Kai-Uwe
2011“Toward cognitivist ontologies. On the role of selective attention for upper ontologies.” Cogn Process 12, 379–393. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Condamines, Anne
2000“Chez dans un corpus de sciences naturelles: un marqueur de relation méronymique.” Cahiers de Lexicologie 77:165–187.Google Scholar
Dahlberg, Ingetraut
1978The referent-oriented analytical concept theory for interconcept. International classicifation 5: 142–151.Google Scholar
Dirven, René
2003“Radden’s search for conceptual structure.” In Motivation in language: studies in honor of Günter Radden, edited by Hubert Cuyckens, Thomas Berg, René Dirven and Klaus-Uwe Panther, xiii-xxvi. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Faber, Pamela
2005“Framing Terminology: A Process-Oriented Approach.” Meta 50(4). Retrieved November 15 2011 http://​id​.erudit​.org​/iderudit​/019916ar. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
2011“The dynamics of specialised knowledge representation. Simulational reconstruction or the perception-action interface.” Terminology 17(1):9–29. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
2012A Cognitive Linguistics View of Terminology and Specialised Language. Berlin:Walter de Gruyter. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Faber, Pamela, Pilar León Araúz, and Juan Antonio Prieto Velasco
2009“Semantic relations, dynamicity and terminological knowledge base.” Current Issues in Language Studies 1:1–23.Google Scholar
Faber, Pamela, Silvia Montero Martínez, María Rosa Castro Prieto, José Senso Ruiz, Juan Antonio Prieto Velasco, Pilar León Araúz, Carlos Márquez Linares, and Miguel Vega Expósito
2006“Process-oriented terminology management in the domain of Coastal Engineering.” Terminology 12(2):189–213. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Felber, Helmut
2001Allgemeine Terinologielehre, Wissenslehre und Wissenstechnik. Vienna: TermNet.Google Scholar
Fellbaum, Christiane
2005“Theories of semantic representation of the mental lexicon.” In Lexikologie: ein internationales Handbuch zur Natur und Struktur von Wörten und Wortschätzen, edited by Alan D. Cruse, Franz Hundsnurscher, Michael Job and Peter Rolf Lutzeier, 1749–1757. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Fillmore, Charles J
(1982) 2006 “Frame semantics.” In Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings, edited by Dirk Geeraerts, 373–400. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Fillmore, Charles, J
1985“Frames and the semantics of understanding.” Quaderni di Semantica, 6(2):222–254.Google Scholar
Fillmore, Charles J., Christopher R. Johnson, and Miriam R. L. Petruck
2003“Background to FrameNet.” International Journal of Lexicography 16(3):235–250. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Fried, Mirjam
To appear. “Construction Grammar.” In Handbook of syntax, 2nd ed. edited by Artemis Alexiadou and Tibor Kiss Berlin Walter de Gruyter DOI logo  BoP
Fried, Mirjam and Jan-Ola Östman
2004“Construction Grammar: A thumbnail sketch.” In Construction Grammar in a Cross-Language Perspective, edited by Mirjam Fried and Jan-Ola Östman, 11–86. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Galinski, Christian and Gerhard Budin
1998“Deskriptive und präskriptive Terminologieerarbeitung.” In Fachsprachen/Languages for Special Purposes. Ein internationales Handbuch zur Fachsprachenforschung und Terminologiewissenschaft, edited by Lothar Hoffmann, Hartwig Kalverkämper and Herbert Ernst Wiegand, 2183–2207. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Garcia, Daniela
1997“Structuration du lexique de la causalité et réalisation d’un outil d’aide au reprérage de l’action dans les textes.” Actes des deuxièmes rencontres - Terminologie et Intelligence Artificielle, TIA’ 97:7–26.Google Scholar
Geeraerts, Dirk
2010Theories of lexical semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Geeraerts, Dirk and Stefan Grondelaers
2002“Structuring of word meaning I: An overview.” In Lexikologie: ein internationales Handbuch zur Natur und Struktur von Wörten und Wortschätzen, edited by D. Alan Cruse, Franz Hundsnurscher, Michael Job and Peter Rolf Lutzeier, 304–318. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Goldberg, Adele
1995Constructions: A Construction Grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
2010“Verbs, constructions and semantic frames.” In Lexical semantics, syntax and event structure, edited by Malka Rappaport Hovav, Edit Doron and Ivy Sichel, 39–59. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Green, Rebecca, Carol A. Bean and Sung Hyon Myaeng
2002The Semantics of Relationships. An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Dordrecht: Kluwer. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Grenon, Pierre, and Barry Smith
2004“SNAP and SPAN: Towards Dynamic Spatial Ontology.” Spatial Cognition and Computation 4(1):69–103. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Halverson, andra
2003The cognitive basis of translation universals. Target 16(2): 197–241.Google Scholar
Hebenstreit, Gernot
2009“Defining patterns in Translation Studies: Revisiting two classics of German Translationwissenschaft.” In The metalanguage of translation, edited by Yves Gambier and Luc Van Doorslaer, 9–26. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Jansen, Ludger
2008“Categories: the top-Level Ontology.” In Applied Ontology. An Introduction, edited by Katherine Munn and Barry Smith, 173–196. Frankfurt: Ontos.Google Scholar
Kageura, Kyo
2002The Dynamics of Terminology: A Descriptive Theory of Term Formation and Terminological Growth. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Khoo, Christopher, and Jin-Cheon Na
2006“Semantic Relations in Information Science.” Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 40:157–228. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Langacker, Ronald W
2008Cognitive Grammar. A Basic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Langdon-Neuner, Elise
2007“Titles in medical articles: What do we know about them?” The Journal of the European Medical Writers Association 16(4):158–160.Google Scholar
Laurén, Christer, Johan Myking, and Heribert Picht
1998Terminologie unter die Lupe. Vienna: TermNet.Google Scholar
Lenci, Alessandro, Nuria Bel, Federica Busa, Nicoletta Calzolari, Elisabeth Gola, Monica Monachini, Antoine Ogonowski, et al.
2000“SIMPLE: A general framework for the development of multilingual lexicons.” International Journal of Lexicography 13(4):249–263. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Levin, Beth
1993English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Madsen, Bodil Nistrup, Bolette Sandford Pedersen, and Hanne Erdman Thomsen
2001. “Defining semantic relations for OntoQuery.” In Proceedings of the First International OntoQuery Workshop, Ontology-based interpretation of NP’s, edited by P. Anker Jensen and Peter Skadhauge. Kolding: Department of Business Communication and Information Science, University of Southern Denmark. Retrieved January 10 2012 http://​www​.ontoquery​.dk​/publications​/docs​/Defining​.doc.Google Scholar
Maroto, Nava and Amparo Alcina
2009“Formal description of conceptual relationships with a view to implementing them in the ontology editor Protégé.” Terminology 15(2):232–257. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Marshman, Elizabeth
2002“The cause relation in biopharmaceutical corpora: English and French patterns for knowledge extraction.” Unpublished MA thesis, Ottawa.
2006“Lexical Knowledge Patterns for Semi-automatic Extraction of Cause-effect and Association Relations from Medical Texts: A Comparative Study of English and French.” PhD diss., Université de Montréal.Google Scholar
2007Towards strategies for processing relationships between multiple relation participants in knowledge patterns: An analysis in English and French. Terminology 13(1):1–34. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Marshman, Elizabeth and Marie-Claude L’Homme
2006a“Disambiguating lexical markers of cause and effect using actantial structures and actant classes.” Proceedings of the 15th European Symposium on Language for Special Purposes, LSP 2005, Bergamo, Italy: 261–285.
2006b“Portabilité des marqueurs de la relation causale: étude sur deux corpus spécialisés.” Actes Corpus et dictionnaires de langues de spécialité, Lyon 2, September 28–29 2006 16 p.Google Scholar
Marshman, Elisabeth, Marie-Claude L’Homme, and Victoria Surtees
2008“Portability of cause-effect relation markers across specialised domains and text genres: a comparative evaluation.” Corpora 3(2):141–172. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
May, Paul
1996Aspirin. Bristol: School of Chemistry, University of Bristol. Retrieved January 12 2013 http://​www​.chm​.bris​.ac​.uk​/motm​/aspirin​/aspirin​.htm.Google Scholar
Milstead, Jessica
2001“Standards for the Relationships between Subject Indexing Terms.” In Relationships in the Organisation of Knowledge, edited by Carol A. Bean, 53–66. Dordrecht: Kluwer. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Nuopponen, Anita
1994“On Causality and Concept Relationships.” Terminology Science and Terminology Planning. IITF Workshop on Theoretical Issues of Terminology Science, Vienna, TermNet: 217–230.Google Scholar
2005“Concept Relations v2. An update of a concept relation classification.” In Terminology and Content Development, edited by Bodil Nistrup Madsen and Hanne Erdman Thomsen, 127–138. Copenhagen: Litera.Google Scholar
2007“Terminological modelling of processes: an experiment.” In Indeterminacy in Terminology and LSP, edited by Bassey E. Antia, 199-213. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
2010“Methods of concept analysis - tools for systematic concept analysis. Part 3.” LSP Journal: Professional Communication, Knowledge, Cognition 2(1). Retrieved June 5 2013 http://​lsp​.cbs​.dk.Google Scholar
Oeser, Erhard and Gerhard Budin
1999“Grundlagen der Terminologiewissenschaft.” In Fachsprachen/Languages for Special Purposes. Ein internationales Handbuch zur Fachsprachenforschung und Terminologiewissenschaft, vol. 2, edited by Lothar Hoffmann, Hartwig Kalverkämper and Herbert Ernst Wiegand, 2171–2183. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Östman, Jan-Ola
2004“Construction Discourse.” In Construction Grammar in a Cross-Language Perspective, edited by Mirjam Fried and Jan-Ola Östman, 121–144. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Palmer, Martha, Daniel Fildea, and Nianwen Xue
2010Semantic Role Labeling. S.l.: Morgan and Claypool.Google Scholar
Palmer, Martha and Nianwen Xue
2010“Linguistic Annotation.” In The Handbook of Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing, edited by Alexander Clark, Chris Fox and Lappin Shalom, 238–270. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Petruck, Mirjam R. L
2011“Advances in frame semantics.” Constructions and Frames (3)1:1–8. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Picht, Heribert
1998Eugen Wüster (1898-1977). Leben und Werk. Ein österreichischer Pioneer der Informationsgesellschaft. Vienna: TermNet.Google Scholar
Pozzi, Maria
2001“The Terminological Definition: Conflicts Between Theory and Practice.” In Language for special purposes: perspectives for the new millennium. Vol.: Linguistics and Cognitive Aspects, Knowledge Representation and Computational Linguistics, Terminology, Lexicography and Didactics, edited by Felix Mayer, 272–281.Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
Pustejovsky, James
1995The Generative Lexicon. Cambridge (Ma.): MIT Press.  MetBibGoogle Scholar
Radden, Günther and René Dirven
2007Cognitive English Grammar. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Ravichandran, C. and Eduard H. Hovy
2002“Learning surface text patterns for a question answering system.” Proceedings of ACL 2002. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 41–47.
Rogers, Margaret Ann
2005“Lexicology and the study of terminology.” In Lexikologie: ein internationales Handbuch zur Natur und Struktur von Wörten und Wortschätzen, edited by D. Alan Cruse, Franz Hundsnurscher, Michael Job and Peter Rolf Lutzeier, 1847–1854. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Ruppenhofer, Josef, Michael J. Ellsworth, Mirjam R. L. Petruck, and Christopher Johnson
2005FrameNet II: Extended Theory and Practice. Berkeley: ICSI Technical Report. Retrieved October 15 2009 http://​framenet​.icsi​.berkeley​.edu​/book​/book​.html.Google Scholar
Saeed, John
2003Semantics. Oxford: Wiley.Google Scholar
Sager, Juan C
1990A practical course in terminology processing. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Sambre, Paul
2013“’Usare strumenti’: la cause constructionnelle de l’instrumentalité en italien.” In Konstruktionsgrammatik in den romanischen Sprachen, edited by Sabine De Knop, Fabio Mollica and Julia Kuhn. Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
Sambre, Paul and Cornelia Wermuth
2010a“Instrumentality in cognitive concept modelling.” In Terminology in Everyday Life, edited by Marcel Thelen and Frieda Steurs, 231–52. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
2010b“Causal framing for medical instrumentality: applied ontology and frame-based construction grammar.” Belgian Journal of Linguistics 24:163–191.Google Scholar
Sierra, Gerard, Rodrigo Alarcón, César Aguilar, and Carme Bach
2008“Definitional verbal patterns for semantic relation extraction.” Terminology 14(1):74–98. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Smith, Barry
2012“Classifying processes; an essay in applied ontology.” Ratio (new series) XXV: 463–488.Google Scholar
Smith, Barry, Werner Ceusters, Bert Klagges, Jacob Köhler, Anand Kumar, Jane Lomax, Chris Mungall, Fabian Neuhaus, Alan L. Rector, and Cornelius Rosse
2005“Relations in biomedical ontologies.” Genome Biology6(5), Pubmed e-version. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Smith, Barry, Werner Ceusters, and Rita Temmerman
2005a“Wüsteria.” Stu Health Technol Inform 116:647–652.Google Scholar
Smith, Barry and Pierre Grenon
2004“The Cornucopia of Formal-Ontological Relations.” Dialectica 58(3):279–296. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Tabakowska, Elzbieta
1993Cognitive Linguistics and Poetics of Translation. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.  TSBGoogle Scholar
Talmy, Leonard
2000Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Volume I: Concept Structuring Systems. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT.  BoPGoogle Scholar
2011“Cognitive Semantics: An Overview.” In Semantics. An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, edited by Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger and Paul Portner, 622–642. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Temmerman, Rita
2000Towards New Ways of Terminology Description. The sociocognitive approach. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Tognini-Bonelli, Elena
2001Corpus Linguistics at Work. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Wright, Sue Ellen
1997“Representation of Concept Systems.” In Handbook of Terminology Management. Volume 1: Basic Aspects of Terminology Management, edited by Sue Ellen Wright and Gerhard Budin, 89–97. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Wüster, Eugen
1974“Die Allgemeine Terminologielehre. Ein Grenzgebiet zwischen Sprachwissenschaft, Logik, Ontologie, Informatik und den Sachwissenschaften.” Linguistics 119, 61–105.Google Scholar
Zawada, Britta E. and Piet Swanepoel
1994“On the Empirical Inadequacy of Terminological Concept Theories: A case for prototype theory.” Terminology 1(2):253–275. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar