Compiling Dictionaries Using Semantic Domains*

Ronald Moe

Abstract


Abstract: The task of providing dictionaries for all the world's languages is prodigious, re-quiring efficient techniques. The text corpus method cannot be used for minority languages lacking texts. To meet the need, the author has constructed a list of 1 600 semantic domains, which he has successfully used to collect words. In a workshop setting, a group of speakers can collect as many as 17 000 words in ten days. This method results in a classified word list that can be efficiently expanded into a full dictionary. The method works because the mental lexicon is a giant web or-ganized around key concepts. A semantic domain can be defined as an important concept together with the words directly related to it by lexical relations. A person can utilize the mental web to quickly jump from word to word within a domain. The author is developing a template for each domain to aid in collecting words and in de-scribing their semantics. Investigating semantics within the context of a domain yields many in-sights. The method permits the production of both alphabetically and semantically organized dic-tionaries. The list of domains is intended to be universal in scope and applicability. Perhaps due to universals of human experience and universals of linguistic competence, there are striking simi-larities in various lists of semantic domains developed for languages around the world. Using a standardized list of domains to classify multiple dictionaries opens up possibilities for cross-lin-guistic research into semantic and lexical universals.

Keywords: SEMANTIC DOMAINS, SEMANTIC FIELDS, SEMANTIC CATEGORIES, LEX-ICAL RELATIONS, SEMANTIC PRIMITIVES, DOMAIN TEMPLATES, MENTAL LEXICON, SEMANTIC UNIVERSALS, MINORITY LANGUAGES, LEXICOGRAPHY

Opsomming: Samestelling van woordeboeke deur gebruikmaking van se-mantiese domeine. Die taak van die voorsiening van woordeboeke aan al die tale van die wêreld is geweldig en vereis doeltreffende tegnieke. Die tekskorpusmetode kan nie gebruik word vir minderheidstale waarin tekste ontbreek nie. Om in die behoefte te voorsien, het die skrywer 'n lys van 1 600 semantiese domeine opgestel wat hy suksesvol gebruik het om woorde te versamel. In 'n werksessie-omgewing kan 'n groep sprekers tot soveel as 17 000 woorde in tien dae versamel. Hierdie metode lei tot 'n geklassifiseerde woordelys wat doeltreffend uitgebrei kan word tot 'n volledige woordeboek. Die metode werk omdat die mentale leksikon 'n groot web is wat rondom sleutelbegrippe gestruktureer is. 'n Semantiese domein kan gedefinieer word as 'n belangrike kon-sep saam met die woorde wat direk daarmee verband hou vanweë leksikale verwantskappe. 'n Persoon kan die mentale web gebruik om vinnig van woord tot woord binne 'n domein te spring. Die skrywer is besig om vir elke domein 'n profiel te ontwikkel om te help met die versameling van woorde en met die beskrywing van hul semantiek. 'n Ondersoek van semantiek binne die konteks van 'n domein lewer baie insigte. Die metode laat die totstandbrenging van sowel alfabeties as semanties gerangskikte woordeboeke toe. Die lys domeine is bedoel om univer-seel in omvang en toepassing te wees. Moontlik as gevolg van universalia van menslike ervaring en universalia van taalkundige vermoë, is daar treffende ooreenkomste tussen verskillende lyste semantiese domeine wat ontwikkel is vir tale oor die hele wêreld. Die gebruik van 'n gestandaardi-seerde lys domeine om veelsoortige woordeboeke te klassifiseer, skep moontlikhede vir kruislin-guistiese navorsing oor semantiese en leksikale universalia. Sleutelwoorde: SEMANTIESE DOMEINE, SEMANTIESE VELDE, SEMANTIESE KATE-GORIEË, LEKSIKALE VERWANTSKAPPE, SEMANTIESE PRIMITIEWES, DOMEINPROFIELE, MENTALE LEKSIKON, SEMANTIESE UNIVERSALIA, MINDERHEIDSTALE, LEKSIKOGRAFIE


Keywords


SEMANTIC DOMAINS; SEMANTIC FIELDS; SEMANTIC CATEGORIES; LEX-ICAL RELATIONS; SEMANTIC PRIMITIVES; DOMAIN TEMPLATES; MENTAL LEXICON; SEMANTIC UNIVERSALS; MINORITY LANGUAGES; LEXICOGRAPHY

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/13-0-731

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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