FrameNet Frame Element Dictionary

A DIMAP dictionary has been created for the 1015 frame elements used in FrameNet 1.3 frames. Each frame element is an entry in this dictionary and consists of one sense (which is given a "none" part of speech, although they are essentially noun-like in name). The definition field for this sense is the number of frames in which the frame element is used. Most (992) of the frame elements have a hypernym which is another frame element name. As a result of the assignment of a hypernym for most of the entries, a digraph analysis of the dictionary results in a frame element hierarchy tree, i.e., a taxonomy. This tree has 12 roots or primitive frame elements from which all others are derived: Cause, State, Degree, Entity, Role, Purpose, Instrument, Phenomenon, Time, Path, Reason, and Topic.

The construction of this dictionary is based on an analysis of the FrameNet frame-to-frame relations and of the definitions of the frame elements as included in each frame. A detailed description of the steps followed in the analysis and construction of the dictionary is available at CL Research's blog (The Clog). The blog entries were posted over a two month period, with the final entry describing the end result. To view the steps in the order in which they were performed, use the following links:
  • Frame element hierarchy
  • Analyzing the frame element digraph: Initial steps
  • Circularities in the frame element hierarchy
  • Refining the frame element hierarchy: Application of initial steps
  • Analyzing frame element definitions

    The final frame element digraph consists of 1004 nodes, with the 12 primitive frame elements and 992 frame elements shown in a derivational path from the primitives.The resultant image is quite large (4.0 MB) and may take some time to load in a browswer.

    Many links in the digraph (particularly several arising from the frame-to-frame relations) appear to be incorrect and give rise to questionable and debatable hierarchical paths. Further analysis will be performed to make corrections in these links. To facilitate the improvement of the hierarchy, a web site has been developed to receive suggestions.

    Further details on the frame element hierarchy are provided in:
  • Frame Element Taxonomy
  • Frame Element MySQL Database
  • Frame Element Web Site

    Frame Element Taxonomy

    To facilitate use of the frame element hierarchy, the taxonomy has been been converted into a MySQL database with two tables, one containing the taxonomy itself and the other containing the "definitions" of the frame elements as they are given in each FrameNet frame in which they appear. The number of definitions ranges from one to as many as 483 (for the frame element Time).

    The taxonomy was created from the FrameNet Frame Element Dictionary using TAxonomy Validator (TAV) developed by Roberto Navigli. A text file was generated and downloaded from TAV; this file contains an identifier for each frame element, its name, its number of children (with a list of identifiers for the children, when non-zero), and its parent. 

    Definitions for each frame element were extracted from the FrameNet data, where a definition is given for each frame element in each frame. While many of the definitions are identical when a frame element appears in more than one frame, there is considerable variation since each frame was characterized on its own.

    Frame Element MySQL Database

    The Frame Element MySQL Database is constructed from three files: fetax.sql (creates the database and its two tables, fehier and fedefs); fehier.sql (provides values for the fehier table); and fedefs.sql (provides values for the fedefs table).

    The table fehier consists of the following four columns:
  • feid (the frame element identifier, a 10-digit number)
  • name (the frame element name)
  • parent (the identifier of the frame element parent, with the identifier equal to "0000000000" for the Top element)
  • numchild (the number of direct children for the frame element)
    The column feid is the primary key of this table.

    The table fedefs consists of the following five columns:
  • frame (the frame in which the frame element appears)
  • fename (the frame element name)
  • feid (the frame element identifier)
  • fetype (the type of the frame element in this frame, C for "core", P for "peripheral", and E for "extra-thematic")
  • fedef (the definition of the frame element in this frame)
    The primary key of this table is the combination (frame, feid).

    Frame Element Web Site

    The Frame Element Taxonomy web site provides an interactive environment that allows an examination of the details of the taxonomy and mechanisms for making suggestions for changing the links.

    The basic display shows the frame element name, its identifying number, its parent (if not the Top), the number of definitions, the number of children, and the parth from the node to the Top. The taxonomy can be examined by clicking on links to show the children or definitions of a particular node in the hierarchy. When clicking the children link, a table shows each child with a link to enable examination of each child. When clicking on the definitions link, a table shows each frame in which the frame element is used, the type of the frame element in this frame (core, peripheral, or extra-thematic), and the definition for this frame element in the frame. In providing the path to the Top, each node has a link to permit examination of that level of the taxonomy.

    Many of the links in the taxonomy are questionable and will be modified as suggestions for improvement are incorporated. The web site is intended to receive suggestions for changes. The following types of changes are envisioned:
  • moving a subtree: changing the hypernym for a frame element, so that the frame element and all its children are moved in the taxonomy to another location
  • splitting a node: creating subsets of the definitions of a given node, renaming the new subsets, and positioning the subsets at an appropriate place in the taxonomy,
  • deleting a node: removing a node from the taxonomy (not likely, since an objective is to retain synchrony with the FrameNet frame element names),
  • merging nodes: aggregating two or more nodes, possibly leading to the deletion of a node, or
  • adding a node: addition of a node usually arises from the analysis of a new frame by the FrameNet lexicographer.