Walenty – valence dictionary of Polish predicates


The Polish Valence Dictionary (Walenty) is an electronic dictionary of subcategorisation frames for Polish verbs and quasi-verbal predicates. Valence relations are in other words restrictions imposed on the way in which particular words (or rather their paradigmatic classes called lexemes) bind to their subordinates. The rules of such binding are called valence by analogy with chemical bonds.

Such relations can be described at two strongly related levels: syntactic and semantic. Examples will be illustrated through the verbs tłumaczyć ‘translate’ and wysyłać ‘send’. At the syntactic level, in both cases there is a nominal subject in the structural case subj{np(str)} (someone), a nominal complement in the structural case obj{np(str)} (something, someone) and a third syntactic item which is a nominal phrase in the head case np(dat) (to someone): ktoś tłumaczy/wysyła coś komuś ‘someone translates/sends something to someone’. However, in the case of wysyłać ‘send’ the third argument can be expressed by a prepositional phrase prepnp(to,gen), which is not allowed for tłumaczyć ‘translate’: ktoś wysyła coś do kogoś ‘someone sends something to someone’, but not *ktoś tłumaczy coś do kogoś ‘someone translates something to someone’. Tłumaczyć ‘translate’, on the other hand, may have a more elaborate complement position, in particular sentence phrases may appear there, e.g. cp(that): ktoś tłumaczy komuś, że… ‘someone translates to someone that…’.

On the other hand, at the semantic level, the roles (called semantic or thematic) taken by the individual semantic arguments are also similar: Initiator (someone) initiates, Theme (something) is subject to, and Recipient receives tłumaczenie ‘translation’ or przesyłkę ‘shipment’. On the other hand, the lexical-semantic constraints on Theme are different: one can tłumaczyć ‘translate’ concepts or situations, while wysyłać ‘send’ physical objects.

Auxiliary materials:

Examples of applications

Alicja Wójcicka (2019) Między wymaganiami walencyjnymi a operacjami: czasowniki wykluczające korelat to. Polonica XXXVIII, PL ISSN 0137-9712,