Improving the representation of word-formation in multilingual lexicographic tools: the MuLeXFoR database

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorBruno Cartoni, Marie-Aude Lefer
TitleImproving the representation of word-formation in multilingual lexicographic tools: the MuLeXFoR database
AbstractThis paper introduces a new lexicographic resource, MuLeXFoR, which aims to present word-formation processes in a multilingual database designed for both language specialists (e.g. linguists, terminologists, lexicographers, NLP specialists) as well as second-language (L2) learners and trainee translators. Morphological items (e.g. affixes, compound parts, combining forms) and processes (prefixation, suffixation, compounding, conversion, etc.) pose major challenges for lexicographic work, especially with respect to the design of bilingual and multilingual resources. It is well-known that derivational affixes can take part in several word-formation rules and that, conversely, rules can be realised by means of a variety of affixes. In view of this complexity, it is often difficult to (1) provide enough information to help users understand the meaning(s) of an affix and the (near-)synonymy relations between affixes and (2) become familiar with the most frequent strategies used to translate the meaning(s) conveyed by these affixes. In fact, traditional dictionaries often fail to achieve this goal. The MuLeXFoR database tries to take advantage of recent advances in morphological description and the development of electronic multiaccess database systems. The database relies on the lexematic approach to word-formation, which is especially helpful to represent morphological processes cross-linguistically. In addition, it has been entirely implemented in a multi-access database interface. The prototype described in this paper so far centres around prefixation in English, French and Italian. Two interfaces are currently available: a comprehensive interface aimed at morphological and lexicographic investigations by language specialists (MuLeXFoR-Linguists) and a second interface designed for second-language learners or trainee translators (MuLeXFoR-Learners).
Section 1 first briefly discusses the ways in which word-formation processes are currently presented in dictionaries and brings to light some of the shortcomings involved in these procedures. Section 2 then describes the theoretical approach that has been adopted to formalise word-formation processes from a multilingual perspective, viz. the lexematic approach. Section 3 introduces the MuLeXFoR database and provides a detailed description of the ways users can browse the tool. Section 4 presents the ways in which the database was adapted to second-language learners, mainly by simplifying labels and menu names and by adding information specific to the production of new words in L2. Finally, Sections 5 and 6 deal with the various implementation and data collection issues raised by our approach. The paper ends with some concluding remarks in Section 7.
SessionReports on Lexicographical and Lexicological Projects
author = {Bruno Cartoni, Marie-Aude Lefer},
title = {Improving the representation of word-formation in multilingual lexicographic tools: the MuLeXFoR database},
pages = {581-591},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 14th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2010},
month = {jul},
date = {6-10},
address = {Leeuwarden/Ljouwert, The Netherlands},
editor = {Anne Dykstra and Tanneke Schoonheim},
publisher = {Fryske Akademy},
isbn = {978-90-6273-850-3},