FRAME. An organized knowledge structure stored in long-term memory; a data structure for representing stereotyped situations. The term is also used in psychology (E. Charniak), programming (P. Hayes), sociology and artificial intelligence theory (M. Minsky). The term was introduced into cognitive linguistics by Ch. Fillmore. Originally Fillmore’s analysis was used as an extension of generative and transformational grammar methods to study syntactic and semantic roles (primarily of verbs), but later it became a method of describing cognitive structures. Another contribution to the frame analysis by Fillmore was the typology of real-life situations not only from the point of view of their semantics, but their pragmatics as well (types of interaction between the addresser and the addressee). Ch. Fillmore defines frames as stable cognitive structures that are realized in the language and serve as the basis for new speech situation. For example, the frame COURT (TRIAL) includes not only the components of JUDGE, DEFENDANT, LAWYER, etc., but also knowledge of the potential situations of their interaction, results, and peculiarities of their interactions. The structure of a frame is originally described in terms of slots (cells, positions in the structure of the frame) and scenes (scripts) as culturally and experientially conditioned variants of the realization of the frame. In a particular speech situation frame is implemented through one of the possible scenarios. The frame analysis formed the basis for the theory of idealized cognitive models (ICM) by G. Lakoff (G. Lakoff describes five types of ICM: propositional, image-schematic, metaphoric, metonymic, and symbolic); the concept of domain in Cognitive Grammar (R. Langacker); the theories of cognitive metaphor and metonymy (G. Lakoff, M. Johnson).

In Cognitive Grammar frame is a semantico-syntactic structure, which helps to  arrange language units into classes (for example, the case frames). In Cognitive Semantics frame is a cognitive structure, which determines the interpretation of the information expressed in a language unit (similar to the term “schema” in the works by R. Shank and R. Abelson).  The notion of frame is also used in the theory of mental spaces and blends to analyze the structure of mental spaces and types of mappings between them (G. Fauconnier, M. Turner).

Further reading

Демьянков В. З.Фреймовая семантика // Краткий словарь когнитивных терминов / под общ. ред. Е. С. Кубряковой. М.: Филологический факультет МГУ им. М. В. Ломоносова, 1996. -С.189-191.

Cienki A.Frames, idealised cognitive models and domains // The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics. D. Geeraerts, H. Cuyckens (eds.). NY: Oxford UniversityPress, 2007. — P. 170-187.

Fillmore Ch. J.Frame semantics // Linguistics in the morning calm: Selected papers from the SICOL-1981. Seoul: Hanship, 1982. — P. 111- 137.

Lakoff G.Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Maria Kiose

Translated by Polina Strepekhova