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A phrasal template is a phrase-long collocation that contains one or several empty slots which may be filled by words to produce individual phrases. Often there are some restrictions on the grammatic category of the words allowed to fill particular slots. An example is the phrase "common stocks rose <Number> to <Number>", e.g., "common stocks rose 1.72 to 340.36".[1]

Phrasal templates are akin to forms in which blanks are to be filled with data.

There is as word game, Mad Libs, that makes use of phrasal templates.

The notion is used in natural language processing systems[2] and in language generators, such as application-oriented report generators.[3][4]

The neologism "snowclone" was introduced to refer to a special case of phrasal templates that "clone" popular clichés. For example, a misquotation of Diana Vreeland's "Pink is the navy blue of India"[5] may have gaven rise to the template "[X] is the new black," which in turn evolved into "[X] is the new [Y]".

The term "phrasal template" first appeared in a linguistic study of prosody in 1983[6] but doesn't appear to have come into common use until the late 1990s.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Susan Armstrong (1994) Using Large Corpora, ISBN 0-262-51082-0, p. 149
  2. ^ Joseph D. Becker, The phrasal lexicon, Proceedings of the 1975 workshop on Theoretical issues in natural language processing, June 10-13, 1975, Cambridge, Massachusetts, [1]
  3. ^ Karen Kukich. "Knowledge-Based Report Generation: A Knowledge Engineering Approach to Natural Language Report Generation." Ph.D. Thesis, Information Science Department, University of Pittsburgh, 1983.
  4. ^ L. Boubeau, D. Carcagno, E. Goldberg, R. Kittredge, and A. Polguere. "Bilingual generation of weather forecasts in an operations environment." In Proceedings of the 13 th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING-90), Volume 1, pages 9—92, Helsinki, 1990.
  5. ^ ON THE TRAIL OF "THE NEW BLACK" (AND "THE NAVY BLUE"), Language Log, December 28, 2006
  6. ^ Cutler, Anne; Ladd, D. Robert; Brown, Gillian (1983-01-01). Prosody: models and measurements. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 9783540124283.
  7. ^ Meeting, Association for Computational Linguistics (1997-01-01). Proceedings of the Conference. Association for Computational Linguistics.