By and large, the division of nouns into semantic fields is the same
as in WordNet (compare the contrastive table
of GermaNet and WordNet tops).
Besides synonymy and antonymy, the hyperonomy/hyponomy relation is the
most prominent relation for nouns, building up a taxonomy of the world
of noun concepts. Although this taxonomy has a clear hierarchical structure,
it is not a tree, since cross-classification is frequently used for noun
Meronymy is the other prominent relation for nouns. GermaNet does not
maintain WordNet's subclassification of meronymy into 'is a component of',
'is member of', and 'is stuff that x is made of". The only type of
meronymy recognized in GermaNet is the "is a component of" relation,
which is also the default value of WordNet's meronymy relation.
Lexical Gaps/Artificial Concepts
Lexical gaps are an additional device to group concepts within the taxonomy which do not have
a lexical realization in German (resp.in another language). Suppose that we have to build a taxonomy
for the concepts Mensch, Adelige/r, Fachkraft, MeisterIn, and AkademikerIn. With
all four terms being clear hyponyms of Mensch, the simplest way to achieve this is to build
the following flat hierarchy:
This is, however, not an optimal solution, since Adelige/r denotes an origin, while
Fachkraft, MeisterIn, and AkademikerIn are commonly related to some educational
status. Having no lexical realization in German for a person having some educational status or
some specific origin, we introduce lexical gaps, give them a name and mark them as artificial.
Then we use them to rebuild the hierarchy as follows:
Suppose that we need to introduce Laie and LernerIn into this hierarchy.
If we introduce an extended concept of ?ausgebildeter_Mensch to include its negation
(and intermediate stages) we could subsume these words under such a node. The special branching
status of that node is again specifically marked as artificial and we can finally build: