Studying words with the WordNet lexical reference


Article from Issue 68/2006

The WordNet lexical reference maps connections between words. Check out this fascinating tool based on language data from two decades of research.

WordNet is a reference tool that lets you study the connections between words. In the words of its developers, WordNet is "… an online lexical reference system whose design is inspired by current psycholinguistic theories of human lexical memory. English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into synonym sets, each representing one underlying lexical concept. Different relations link the synonym sets." (http:// wordnet. princeton. edu/). In other words, since all the entries in WordNet are organized into synonym sets (synsets) and they contain definitions and examples, WordNet can be used both as a thesaurus and a conventional dictionary.

However, what makes WordNet a unique reference tool is that every synset is connected to other synsets via a number of relations. This means that for each word in WordNet, you can retrieve not only its synonyms, but also hypernyms, hyponyms, meronyms, and holonyms.

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