Lexical Dictionary

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A Lexical Dictionary is a reference book that is a lexical invenstory with dictionary items.



  • http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Dictionary
    • Noun
      • 1. A publication, usually a book, with a list of words from one or more languages, normally ordered alphabetically and explaining each word's meaning and sometimes containing information on its etymology, usage, translations, and other data.
      • 2. (computing) An associative array, a data structure where each value is referenced by a particular key, analogous to words and definitions in a physical dictionary.
  • (WordNet, 2009) ⇒ http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=dictionary
    • S: (n) dictionary, lexicon (a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words with information about them)


  • (Masse et al., 2008) ⇒ Blondin Masse, A, G. Chicoisne, Y. Gargouri, Stevan Harnad, O. Picard, and O. Marcotte. (2008). “How Is Meaning Grounded in Dictionary Definitions?.” In: TextGraphs-3 Workshop, 22nd International Conference on Computational Linguistics (Coling 2008).
    • QUOTE: At its most basic level, a dictionary is a set of associated pairs: a word and its definition, along with some disambiguating parameters. The word to be defined, [math]\displaystyle{ w }[/math], is called the definiendum (plural: definienda) while the finite nonempty set of words that defines [math]\displaystyle{ (w, d_w) }[/math], is called the set of definientes of [math]\displaystyle{ w }[/math] (singular: definiens). [1]

      Each dictionary entry accordingly consists of a definiendum [math]\displaystyle{ w }[/math] followed by its set of definientes [math]\displaystyle{ d_w }[/math]. A dictionary [math]\displaystyle{ D }[/math] then consists of a finite set of pairs [math]\displaystyle{ (w, d_w) }[/math] where [math]\displaystyle{ w }[/math] is a word and [math]\displaystyle{ d_w = (w_1, w_2,..., w_n) }[/math], where [math]\displaystyle{ n }[/math] >= 1, is its definition, satisfying the property that for all ([math]\displaystyle{ (w', d'_w) }[/math]) in D and for all d in d_w, there exists [math]\displaystyle{ (w; d_w) }[/math] in D such that [math]\displaystyle{ d = w' }[/math]. A pair ([math]\displaystyle{ (w, d_w)) is called an [[entry]] of \lt math\gt D }[/math]. In other words, a dictionary is a finite set of words, each of which is defined, and each of its defining words is likewise defined somewhere in the dictionary.



  • (Sag et al., 2003) ⇒ Ivan A. Sag, Thomas Wasow, and Emily M. Bender. (2003). “Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction, 2nd edition." CSLI Publications.
    • lexical entry Information about individual words [q.v.] that must be stipulated is put into the lexicon [q.v.] in the form of descriptions that we call lexical entries. They are ordered pairs, consisting of a phonological form (description) and partial feature structure description. Fully resolved lexical sequences [q.v.] consistent with lexical entries can serve as the INPUT values to lexical rules [q.v.].
    • lexical rule Lexical rules are one of the mechanisms (along with the type type hierarchy [q.v.]) used to capture generalizations within the lexicon. Families of related words - such as the different inflectional forms of a verb - can be derived from a single lexical entry [q.v.] by means of lexical rules. We formalize lexical rules as a type of feature structure with features INPUT and OUTPUT. There are three sybtypes of lexical rules: derivational (relating lexemes [q.v.] to lexemes), inflectional (relation lexemes to words [q.v.]), and post-inflectional (relating words to words).
    • lexicon The list of all words [q.v.] (or lexemes [q.v.]) of a language is called its 'lexicon'. The lexicon is the repository of all idiosyncratic information about particular words including syntactic, semantic, and phonological information. In some theories of grammar, the lexicon can also contain a great deal more systematic information organized by a type hierarchy [q.v.] and/or lexical rules.


  • (Fellbaum, 2002) ⇒ Christine Fellbaum. (2002). “On the Semantics of Troponymy.” In: The Semantics of Relationships: An Interdisciplinary. R. Green, C. Bean, and S. Myaeng (eds.). Dordrecht, Holland: Kluwer.
    • The lexicon contains all those concepts to which speakers of a language attach a label (a word).
    • If one examines the lexicalized concepts in relation to one another, it becomes clear that they differ in systematic ways that are characterizable in terms of similarities or contrasts. These consistent differentiations among concepts are what we call semantic relations.
    • Relations are very real, though speakers may be unaware of them and may be unable to articulate them (as it the case with most metalinguistic knowledge). But there are situations when one must consciously confront semantic relations. Building a lexical resource presents such a situation.
    • The structure of a lexical entry in a dictionary reflects the relatedness of words and concepts: The target word is usually defined in terms of related word and some differentiae.
    • The super-/subordinate relation, or hyponymy (or hyperonymy or ISA) relation works well to characterize the meaning of nouns, as does meronymy, the part-whose relation.
    • Defining meaning in terms of such relations reflects the paradigmatirc organization of the lexicon. Many dictionaries also supply syntagmatic relations between the target and other words by means of illustrative sentences. Syntagmatic relations constrain the contexts in which a word may be used and can be seen as a complementary way of representing speaker's lexical knowledge.


  • (M-W Colleg. Dict., 1999) ⇒ Merriam-Webster. (1999). “Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition.
  • (Manning and Schütze, 1999) ⇒ Christopher D. Manning and Hinrich Schütze. (1999). “Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing." The MIT Press.
    • Normally the various parts of speech for a words are listed in an online dictionary, otherwise known as a lexicon.
    • Word categories are systematically related by morphological processes such as the formation of the plural form (dog-s). from the singular form of the noun (dog). Morphology is important in NLP because language is productive: in any given text we will encounter words and word forms that we haven't seen before and that are not in our precompiled dictionary. Many of these new words are morphologically related to known words. So if we understand morphological processes, we can infer a log about the syntactic and semantic properties of new words.
  • (M-W Colleg. Dict., 1999) ⇒ Merriam-Webster. (1999). “Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition.
    • NOTES: Its introduction describes some of the challenges of Word Meaning Representation.
    • NOTES: It describes the role of an Entry Definer.
    • QUOTE: If one function of a dictionary is more important than its many others, surely that function is to define the meaning of words.
    • QUOTE: … our understanding of the semantic system is very imperfect, and much of what we do know about it does not come very obviously into play in a dictionary.
    • QUOTE: Perhaps the first thing that we need to remind ourselves of is that when we speak of the meaning of a word we are employing an artificial, if highly useful, convention. Meaning does not truly reside within the word but in the minds of those who hear or read it. This fact alone guarantees that the meaning will be to a great degree amorphous: no two people have had exactly the same experience with what a word refers to and so the meaning of the word will be slightly or greatly different for each of us.
    • QUOTE: So dictionary editors involve the traditional distinction between denotation - the direct and specific part of meaning which is sometimes indicated as the total of all the referents of a word and is shared by all or most people who use the word - and connotation - the more personal association and shades of meaning that gather about a word as a result of individual experience and which may not be widely shared. The dictionary concerns itself essentially with the denotations of words.
    • QUOTE: The kind of definition that you would write in most cases is called an analytical definition. It consists in its purest form of the statement of a class to which the term being defined is assigned and a number of characteristics which differentiate the individual from members of the class.
    • QUOTE: Defining by synonym tends to be inexact because even true synonyms do not have just the same meaning and is perhaps most useful in cases like the one just mentions where one kind of referent has two or more names, a situation that occurs frequently with the common names of plants and animals.
    • QUOTE: It is worth nothing briefly that in the course of your work as a definer you would have been concerned with what the citations reveal about a word in addition to its meaning. The definer is initially responsible for most of the framework of the entry including not only spelling variants and run-ons but also inflected forms, usage notes, verbal illustrations, and temporal, regional stylistics, and subject labels.


  • (Carter, 1998) ⇒ Ronald Carter. (1998). “Vocabulary: Applied Linguistic Perspectives; 2nd edition." Routledge.
    • One theoretical notion which may help us to resolve some of the above problems is that of the lexeme. A lexeme is the abstract unit which underlies some of the variants we have observed in connection with 'words'. Thus BRING is the lexeme which underlies different grammatical variants: 'bring', 'brought', 'brings', 'bringing' which we can refer to as word-forms (note a lexeme is conventionally represented by upper-case letters and that quotation marks are used for its word-forms). Lexemes are the basic, contrasting units of vocabulary in a language. When we look up words in a dictionary we are looking up lexemes rather than words. That is, 'brought' and 'bringing' will be found under and entry for BRING. The lexeme BRING is an abstraction. It does not actually occur itself in texts. Instead, it realizes different word-forms. Thus, the word-form 'bring' is realized by the lexeme BRING; the lexeme GO realizes the word-form 'went'. In a diction each lexeme merits a separate entry or sub-entry.
    • The term lexeme also embraces items which consist of more than one word-form. Into the category come lexical items such as multi-word verbs (to catch up on), phrasal verbs (to drop in) and idioms (kick the bucket). Here, KICK THE BUCKET is a lexeme and would appear a such in a single dictionary entry even though it is a three-word form. ...
    • We can also see that the notion of lexeme helps us to represent the polysemy - or the existence of several meanings - in individual words: that, far (n.). “fair (adj. as in good, acceptable) and fair (adj. as in light in colour, expecially of hair), would have three different lexeme meanings for the same word-form. The same applies to the different meanings of lap … But there are numerous less clear-cut categories. For example, in the case of line (draw a line; rail line; clothes line) is the same surface form realized by one, two, or three separate underlying lexemes? And are the meanings of chair (professional appointment; seat) or paper (newspaper; academic lecture) or dressing (sauce; manure; bandages) specialization of the same basic lexeme or not.


  1. In the context of this mathematical analysis, we will use “word” to mean a finite string of uninterrupted letters having some associated meaning.