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Nouns in GermaNet




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 hyperonymy relations.

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: