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New PhD course – UiT The Artic University of Norway – Spring 2023

Course name:

“Constructicography: Advanced Topics in Construction Grammar”

Course type:

PhD course (5 ECTS)


Spring 2023; The course will be arranged as a series of 8 digital weekly webinars that will take place over two months (February 28 to April 25) at 17:00 CET followed by a two-day intensive part that will contain teaching and tutoring sessions. 


Constructicography is offered as an online course and students can attend the classes via zoom meetings.

Summary of the course:

Constructicography is a new rapidly developing sub-discipline of Construction Grammar that lies at the intersection of usage-based constructionist approaches to language, computational linguistics, and language technology. The course will explore various theoretical, methodological, empirical, and practical issues of building an open-access electronic constructicon resource for a natural language.

The course will provide an overview of the existing constructicon resources for German, Swedish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, (British) English, and Russian with the focus on the scope of each resource, organization and representation of constructions, electronic platform, etc.

The lectures will also address how to explore, define and represent both hierarchical and lateral relationships of constructions that facilitate the structured inventory of constructions in a constructicon resource, how to promote constructicography as a field, and what research projects can support constructicon-building.

The course will address the issues of open access data and code, archiving and licensing, portable architecture and user-friendly interface design.

Overall, the course will cover both broad-ranging issues of constructicography and Construction Grammar as well as research findings of the instructors. Each instructor will hold a lecture, and the instructors from UiT and HSE will hold the tutoring sessions for the students.



Course schedule:

The course will be arranged as a series of 8 digital weekly webinars (90 min each) that will take place over two months (February 28 to April 25) at 17:00 CET followed by a two-day intensive part (8 academic hours of teaching + 4 academic hours of tutoring). Overall, the course will offer 12 lectures (90 min each) and 2 tutoring sessions (90 min each):

  • Day 1: 4 academic hours of teaching and 2 academic hours of tutoring
  • Day 2: 4 academic hours of teaching and 2 academic hours of tutoring

Target students and admission requirements:

The target group of the course includes PhD students in languages and linguistics from Norway or other countries. Any PhD student with an interest in Construction Grammar and/or Constructicography is encouraged to attend. Prior knowledge of Construction Grammar is recommended, but not required.

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian Master´s Degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. PhD students must upload a document from their university stating that they are registered PhD students.

Holders of a Master´s Degree must upload a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. Applicants from listed countries must document proficiency in English. To find out if this applies to you see the following list:

Language Requirements

For more information on accepted English proficiency tests and scores, as well as exemptions from the English proficiency tests, please see the following document:

English Proficiency Tests

The course has a maximum of 25 seats. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available on the PhD course, applicants will be ranked from category 1 to 4.

  • Category 1: Students admitted to the PhD Program at UiT
  • Category 2: Participants in the Associate Professor Program that fulfil the educational requirements
  • Category 3: Doctoral students from other universities
  • Category 4: Applicants with a minimum of a Master´s Degree (or equivalent). (A Norwegian Master´s Degree of 5 years or 3 (Bachelor Degree) + 2 years (Master’s Degree).


Overall, the course will offer 12 lectures (90 min each) and 2 tutoring sessions (90 min each). Each lecture is accompanied with a reading assignment (one or two scholarly articles) that has to be completed prior to the lecture. At the end of the course, the students are required to make a presentation of their project that will also serve as the topic of their course paper. The presentation should be delivered via zoom at one of the two tutoring sessions. PowerPoint slides is a requirement for the presentation. The students will present their projects to the local course instructors and their peer students. This way the students will receive the maximum feedback and learn from each other. The course paper assignment (15 pp.) has to be completed after the course. The course will be taught in English and students should write their course papers in English. The course can be taken as a single course by doctoral students from Norway and other countries.

Assessment and exam:

PhD students will be awarded 5 ECTS if they

  • read the required scholarly articles prior to the classes;
  • attend 80% of teaching sessions;
  • make a short presentation of their project that will also serve as the topic of their course paper.
    (The presentation will be delivered idigitally via zoom at one of the two tutoring sessions (PowerPoint slides required);
  • submit a course paper on the topic discussed with course instructors (approx. 15 pages (6000 words), 12 point font, Times New Roman, line spacing 1.5). The course paper will be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis.

Any student with an interest in Construction Grammar and/or Constructicography is encouraged to attend. If the student’s research does not concern Construction Grammar, the topic of his/her presentation should be discussed individually prior to the course.


Amount of pages: 477 pp. of scholarly publications

Registration for the course:

UiT students should register for the course in Studentweb while students from other universities should apply at Applicationweb and in addition send an email to Reza Soltani (reza.soltani@uit.no). Registration for the course is open and the course is available in the on-line catalogue of UiT courses. Students from countries outside Scandinavia might need to provide certificates on their English language proficiency (see this link). Do not hesitate to contact organizers if you have any questions.

Important dates

December 1, 2022
  • Deadline for registration for this course for external applicants (the applicants not enrolled in the study program at UiT)
February 1, 2023
  • Deadline for registration for this course for internal applicants (the applicants enrolled in the study program at UiT)
February 28 – April 25 2023
  • 8 digital weekly webinars
Early May 2023
  • Two-day intensive part (teaching and tutoring)

Financial support:

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (https://hkdir.no, UTFORSK grant, 2021-2025) in the organization of this PhD course.

Contact person:

Reza Soltani (reza.soltani@uit.no)

Content of digital lectures

Constructing the German Constructicon: why frame semantics matter

Alexander Ziem (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany)

February 28, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 16:00 (GMT)

The lecture will focus on the representation of meaning in the German Constructicon, more specifically the role and function of frames for (a) identifying (networks of) constructional meanings, (b) analyzing constructional meanings, (c) capturing relations among them, and (d) determining the organization and structure of the constructicon as such. In the first part, the lecture will introduce the cornerstones of the German Constructicon, including both construction and frame entries, with a specific focus on the German FrameNet as an integral part of the constructicon. Taking different construction families (such as exclamative, quantification, negation) as a starting point, the second part introduces various ‘levels’ of investigating constructional meanings. On the most specific level, construction elements map on elements of the frame evoked by the construction; on an intermediate level, a construction is defined by its productivity, constraints on its slots, among other factors; finally, related constructional meanings map on related frames organized in family structures of varying complexity. Using annotated corpus data, the lecture ends by illustrating the semantic relevance of all these levels of analysis by way of example.


  • Boas, Hans / Ziem, Alexander (2018): Constructing a constructicon for German: Empirical, theoretical, and methodological issues. In: In: Lyngfelt, Ben et al. (ed.): Constructicography: Constructicon development across languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 183-223.
  • Fillmore, Charles J./Baker, Collin (2010): A Frames Approach to Semantic Analysis. In: Heine, Bernd/Narrog, Heiko (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. Oxford u.a.: Oxford University Press, S. 313-339.
  • Lyngfelt, Ben (2018): Introduction: Constructicons and constructicography. In: Lyngfelt, Ben et al. (2018): Constructicography: Constructicon development across languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1-18. 
  • Ziem, Alexander / Johanna Flick (2019): Constructicography at work: implementation and application of the German Constructicon. Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association 7 (1), 201-214.


Please make yourself familiar with (resp. browse through) the Berkeley FrameNet resource (https://framenet.icsi.berkeley.edu) and the preliminary prototype of a Berkeley constructicon (http://sato.fm.senshu-u.ac.jp/frameSQL/cxn/CxNeng/cxn00/21colorTag/). Both projects have inspired the German Constructicon (www.german-constructicon.de), whose data structure and web interface is currently re-launched.

A community of constructions in the Russian Constructicon

Olga Lyashevskaya (Higher School of Economics, Russia)

March 07, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 16:00 (GMT)

This lecture shares the journey of the Russian Constructicon project from a pilot yet-another-language constructicographic database to arguably the largest digital resource in the field. In the first part, I will discuss our strategies for collecting and filtering the list of the multiword form-meaning pairings, identifying their variants and homostructions, and describing the properties of each construction at different levels. In the second part, I will introduce the key notions of linguistic typology that help us to structure the large amount of heterogeneous information and organize the constructions into families, clusters, and networks based on their functional and structural similarities. Finally, I will take a pedagogical perspective to consider the notion of construction complexity in its relation to language proficiency.


  • Janda, Laura Alexis, Olga Lyashevskaya, Tore Nesset, Ekaterina Rakhilina, and Francis Morton Tyers. (2018). A constructicon for Russian: Filling in the gaps. In: B. Lyngfelt, L. Borin, K. Ohara & T. T. Torrent (Eds.) Constructicography: Constructicon Development across Languages, 165-181, Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/cal.22.06jan
  • Janda, Laura A., Anna Endresen, Valentina Zhukova, Daria Mordashova, and Ekaterina Rakhilina. (2020). How to build a constructicon in five years: the Russian example. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 34, no. 1 (2020): 161-173. doi:10.1075/bjl.00043.jan
  • Endresen, Anna, and Laura A. Janda. (2020). Taking Construction Grammar One Step Further: Families, Clusters, and Networks of Evaluative Constructions in Russian. Frontiers in Psychology 11: 574353. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.574353

The Japanese FrameNet Constructicon and how to align constructions across typologically distinct languages

Kyoko H. Ohara (Keio University, Japan)

March 14, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 16:00 (GMT)

This lecture will introduce the Japanese FrameNet constructicon project, which focuses on analyzing relations between constructions and frames. We will see that in describing constructions, especially those in Japanese, it is crucial to pay attention to their functions and that interactional frames that Fillmore (1982) proposed are relevant to various functions of constructions. The lecture will also discuss how constructions across typologically distinct languages, such as those in Japanese and English, can be aligned using a framework called Frames-and-Constructions Analysis.


  • Ohara, Kyoko. (2018). Relations between frames and constructions: A proposal from the Japanese FrameNet Constructicon. In: B. Lyngfelt, L. Borin, K. Ohara & T. T. Torrent (Eds.) Constructicography: Constructicon Development across Languages, 141-164, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Ohara, Kyoko. (Forthcoming). Frames, functions, and constructional meanings: Aligning constructions across typologically distinct languages. In Alexander Ziem, Alexander Willich and Sascha Michel (Eds.) Constructing constructicons. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

The Swedish ConstructiCon and Beyond

Benjamin Lyngfelt (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

March 21, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 16:00 (GMT)

This seminar will address both monolingual and multilingual constructicography from the viewpoint of the Swedish ConstructiCon. We will go over the development of the Swedish ConstructiCon, reviewing some methodological choices and their consequences. We will also discuss the relation between applied constructiCon resources and the theoretical Construction Grammar conception of a (mental) constructiCon as a network of constructions. Going beyond Swedish, we will address possibilities for connecting constructions across languages, with a particular focus on comparative concepts of the sort employed in language typology.


  • Borin, Lars & Benjamin Lyngfelt (forthc.): Framenets and constructiCons. Forthcoming in M. Fried & K. Nikiforidou (Eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Construction Grammar. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Lyngfelt, Benjamin, Linnéa Bäckström, Lars Borin, Anna Ehrlemark & Rudolf Rydstedt (2018). Constructicography at work. Theory meets practice in the Swedish constructicon. In: B. Lyngfelt, L. Borin, K. Ohara & T. T. Torrent (eds.) Constructicography. Constructicon development across languages (pp. 41–106). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Lyngfelt, Benjamin, Tiago Timponi Torrent, Ely Edison da silva Matos & Linnéa Bäckström (2022). Comparative Concepts as a resource for Multilingual Constructicography. In: Blensenius, K. (Ed.) Valency and constructions (pp. 101–129). Gothenburg: Meijerbergs institut.

On discovering networks of constructions and hierarchies of frames: How to find different connections between form and meaning/function

Hans Boas (The University of Texas at Austin, USA)

March 28, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 15:00 (GMT)

This lecture articulates different strategies for identifying and analyzing constructions in an electronic corpus based on their different forms and/or their meanings/functions. Constructional research over the past two decades has taken different views on identifying different types of constructions, see, e.g. Fillmore & Kay 1993, Goldberg 1995/2006, Kay & Fillmore 1999, Croft 2001, Boas 2011, Lyngfelt 2018, Diessel 2019.  The main part of this lecture compares the different strategies for identifying and analyzing constructions, including their advantages and disadvantages. This comparison serves as the basis for discussing how constructicography can benefit from insights from Construction Grammar (and vice versa).


  • Boas, Hans C., Benjamin Lyngfelt, Tiago Timponi Torrent. (2019). Framing constructicography. Lexicographica 35(1): 41-85.
  • Boas, Hans C. 2010. Linguistically relevant meaning elements of English communication verbs. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 24, 54-82.

Building the English Constructicon

Florent Perek (University of Birmingham, UK)

April 11, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 15:00 (GMT)

This lecture will introduce the English Constructicon project, whose initial aim is to build a comprehensive database of English argument structure constructions from the COBUILD Grammar Patterns. After discussing the goals and scope of the project, I will outline the organising principles of our constructicon with a special focus on how constructions are represented, and describe how the patterns of COBUILD are turned into inheritance networks of constructions at various levels of generality. I will then turn to various issues encountered in the English Constructicon data regarding the description of constructional meaning and its representation, in particular with respect to its relation with the semantic frames evoked by lexical items.


  • Perek, Florent & Amanda Patten. (2019). Towards an English constructicon using patterns and frames, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 24(3), 354-384. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.00016.per
  • Perek, Florent (forthc.). Beyond evocation: Frames and constructional meaning in the English Constructicon. In Alexander Ziem, Alexander Willich and Sascha Michel (eds.) Constructing constructicons. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Reframing the Brazilian Portuguese Constructicon for Multilinguality

Tiago T. Torrent (Federal U of Juiz de Fora, Brazil)

April 18, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 15:00 (GMT)

This lecture will explore how the database structure and user interface of the Brazilian Portuguese Constructicon has been developed to allow for (i) deeper integration of the Constructicon into the network of frames in FrameNet Brasil and (ii) possible connections of the resource with other constructicons via a myriad of interfacing data structures such as Universal Dependencies and Comparative Concepts. The lecture will cover the analytical principles and implementation strategies used in FN-Br Constructicon and discuss the extent to which they are capable of addressing key aspects of constructions, such as partial productivity, analogical extension and partial correspondence to constructions in other languages.


  • Torrent, T. T., Matos, E., Lage, L., Laviola, A., Tavares, T., Almeida, V. G., Sigiliano, N. (2018). (2018). Towards continuity between the lexicon and the constructicon in FrameNet Brasil. In: Lyngfelt, B., Borin, L., Ohara, K. H., Torrent, T. T. (Eds.). Constructicography: Constructicon development across languages [Constructional Approaches to Language 22]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Pp. 107-140.
  • Laviola, A., Matos, E., Torrent, T. T. (forthcoming). Connecting Constructicons: a flexible infrastructure for constructional alignment. In: Ziem, A., Willich, A., Michel, S. (Eds.). Constructing constructicons: issues, approaches and cross-linguistic perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Discourse formulae as constructions

Ekaterina Rakhilina (HSE, Moscow)

April 25, 2023 – 17:00 (CET) / 15:00 (GMT)

The idiomatic inventory of a language, or “constructicon” is by no means homogeneous. It is known to include constructions with grammatical and lexical meanings. As adjacent to them, we can consider idiomatic items with a designated pragmatic function, such as discourse formulae (DF). Somewhat simplified, DF are multiword formulaic synonyms of YES or NO, with more nuanced pragmatics, like Why not! or No way! Discussing the properties of DF, the lecture shows that they could be viewed as non-standard constructions, requiring special tools for collection and classification. However, DF are often connected with standard constructions via pragmaticalization process. A multilingual database of DF (Buzanov et al., 2022), as well as Pragmaticons describing systems of DF for certain languages (like https://pragmaticon.ruscorpora.ru/ ) could provide means for further studies in this area.


  • Buzanov, A., Bychkova, P., Molchanova, A., Postnikova, A., & Ryzhova, D. (2022). Multilingual Pragmaticon: Database of Discourse Formulae. Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, 3331–3336. https://aclanthology.org/2022.lrec-1.355
  • Bychkova, P., & Rakhilina, E. (forth.). Towards pragmatic construction typology: The case of discourse formulae. To appear in A. Barotto & S. Mattiola (Eds.), Discourse phenomena in typological perspective. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Intensive two-day part

Friday April 28 

Time slots (CET)

Instructors Topics


Anna Endresen

How to build, expand, and systematize the inventory of constructions: the path of the Russian constructicon


Radovan Bast

The importance of open code and open data: the case of the Russian Constructicon


Discussion and break

18:00- 19:00 Laura Janda &Tore Nesset

Exploring relationships between constructions: Allostructions in Equilibrium


Discussion and break
19:30-21:30 All instructors

Breakout for tutoring

Saturday April 29 

Time slots (CET)




Ekaterina Rakhilina

Pragmaticon: Construction Grammar of split constructions


Discussion and break


Olga Lyashevskaya

Universal Dependencies schema as a means to structure the Constructicon and link linguistic resources


Discussion and break


All instructors

Breakout for tutoring

How to build, expand, and systematize the inventory of constructions: the path of the Russian constructicon

Anna Endresen (UiT, Norway)

April 28, 2023 – 15:30-16:30 (CET)

I will start this lecture with walking you through the interface of the Russian Constructicon (https://constructicon.github.io/russian/), highlighting the major properties of its architecture, design, and our way of representation of constructional entries. After that I will discuss our methodology of how we turned a list of collected constructions into a structured inventory by means of multi-level semantic classification of constructions into 55 typologically verified semantic types and their 182 subtypes. I will further explain how a large-scale inventory of constructions can be highly beneficial for systematization and harmonization of the resource, what methods of growing the inventory we tried and found most promising. I will also present our understanding of how constructions form families, clusters, and networks, and why we find it most fruitful to focus on horizontal relationships among constructions rather than vertical ones.


  • Endresen, Anna, Laura A. Janda, Valentina Zhukova, Daria Mordashova, Ekaterina Rakhilina. Turning a list into a network via family-based expansion of the Russian Constructicon (Forthcoming). In Alexander Ziem, Alexander Willich and Sascha Michel (eds.) Constructing constructicons. [The Constructional Approaches to Language (CAL) series]. John Benjamins.
  • Janda, Laura A., Anna Endresen, Valentina Zhukova, Daria Mordashova, Ekaterina Rakhilina. From data to theory: an emergent semantic classification based on the large-scale Russian constructicon. Forthcoming in Constructions and Frames. In print.

The importance of open code and open data: the case of the Russian Constructicon

Radovan Bast (UiT, Norway)

April 28, 2023 – 16:30-17:30 (CET)

In this lecture we will motivate the importance of open and freely available code and data and talk about authorship and licenses, and discuss technical as well as practical aspects of open sourcing and code and data licensing. We will discuss why these matter for students and researchers, and the research community. As an example, we will discuss the Russian Constructicon (https://constructicon.github.io/russian/). Both the code and the interface architecture of the Russian Constructicon are portable to additional languages, and we will address how this could be done in practice.


  • Bast, Radovan, Laura A. Janda, Anna Endresen. (Under preparation) The Russian Constructicon: an interface design for learners, linguists, and NLP engineers.
  • Janda, Laura A., Anna Endresen, Valentina Zhukova, Daria Mordashova, Ekaterina Rakhilina. 2020. “How to build a constructicon in five years: The Russian Example”. In Frank Brisard, Timothy Colleman, Astrid De Wit, Renata Enghels, Nikos Koutsoukos, Tanja Mortelmans, and María Sol Sansiñena (eds.) “The Wealth and Breadth of Construction-Based Research” [a thematic issue of Belgian Journal of Linguistics 34], 162-175. https://doi.org/10.1075/bjl.00043.jan

Exploring relationships between constructions: Allostructions in Equilibrium

Tore Nesset, Laura A. Janda (UiT, Norway)

April 28, 2023 – 18:00-19:00 (CET)

This lecture will address non-trivial issues of Construction Grammar, historical linguistics, and Russian linguistics through an in-depth corpus study of predicate agreement in constructions with quantified subjects. We will show that these constructions constitute a closely-knit network of constructions (“allostructions”) with different preferences for singular or plural agreement. We argue that a number of factors pulling in opposite directions create a stable situation that we refer to as an “allostructional equilibrium”. This equilibrium lends empirical support to the idea that “lateral” relations among allostructions are important in Construction Grammar. With regard to historical linguistics, our study contributes to an understudied field, viz. language stability. We show how the interplay of diverging factors may create an equilibrium that may resist language change and thereby remain stable over time.


  • Nesset, Tore, Laura A. Janda. (Under submission) Allostructional equilibrium: quantifier constructions in Russian. 28 pp.
  • Nesset, Tore. 2020. A long birth: The development of gender-specific paucal constructions in Russian. Diachronica 37(4), 514-539. doi: 10.1075/dia.18057.nes.

Pragmaticon: Construction Grammar of split constructions

Ekaterina Rakhilina (HSE, Moscow)

April 29, 2023 – 15:00-16:00 (CET)

The lecture concerns the so-called DISCOURSE FORMULAS: a class of formulaic multiword expressions, acting as isolated responses in dialogues, like English You bet, No way, You dont say. They are triggered by a stimulus utterance of the interlocutor and semantically are mostly equivalent to YES or NO. Yet these formulas reveal that the world’s languages have dozens, if not hundreds of possibilities to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, with a specific semantic additive (as emotional component, evaluation, intensification, etc.) or some presumptions about the speaker’s knowledge or about the content of the message. In CxG terms, the discourse formulas are considered as a particular type of non-canonical constructions, notably, split constructions.


  • Gerasimenko, Ekaterina, Svetlana Puzhaeva, Elena Zakharova, & Ekaterina Rakhilina. 2019. Defining discourse formulae: computational approach. EPiC Series in Language and Linguistics (Proceedings of Third Workshop “Computational linguistics and language science”) 4, 61-69. https://doi.org/10.29007/k5q2

Universal Dependencies schema as a mean to structure the Constructicon and link linguistic resources

Olga Lyashevskaya (HSE, Moscow)

April 29, 2023 – 16:30-17:30 (CET)

Universal Dependencies (UD) is a popular framework for unified annotation of morphological and syntactic phenomena across typologically different languages. The UD scheme for Structures was first adopted in the Swedish Constructicon and then in the Russian Constructicon and can serve as a powerful tool to establish the similarities and differences among constructions. In the first part of the talk, we will discuss the ways to represent the syntactically regular patterns and syntactic idioms in Constructicons. The second part of the talk will address the retrieval of constructions in existing syntactically annotated corpora (UD treebanks), with a particular focus on structural variants.


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