Multilingual conceptual access to lexicon based on shared orthography : an ontology-driven study of Chinese and Japanese

Chu-ren Huang, Y.M. Chou

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


In this paper we propose a model for ontology-driven conceptual access to multilingual lexicon taking advantage of the cognitive-conceptual structure of radical system embedded in shared orthography of Chinese and Japanese. Our proposal rely crucially on two facts. First, both Chinese and Japanese use Chinese characters (hanzi/kanji) in their orthography. Second, the Chinese character orthography is anchored on a system of radical parts which encodes basic concepts. Each character as an orthographic unit contains radicals which indicate the broad semantic class of the meaning of that unit. Our study utilizes the homomorphism between the Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji systems, but goes beyond the character-to-character mapping of kanji-hanzi conversion, to identify bilingual word correspondences. We use bilingual dictionaries, including WordNets, to verify semantic relation between the cross-lingual pairs. These bilingual pairs are then mapped to ontology of characters structured according to the organization of the basic concepts of radicals. The conceptual structure of the radical ontology is proposed as the model for simultaneous conceptual access to both languages. A study based on words containing characters composed of the “口 (mouth)” radical is given to illustrate the proposal and the actual model. It is suggested that the proposed model has the conceptual robustness to be applied to other languages based on the fact that it works now for two typologically very different languages and that the model contains Generative Lexicon (GL)-like coercive links to account for a wide range of possible cross-lingual semantic relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage production, cognition, and the lexicon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)3319080431, 9783319080437
ISBN (Print)9783319080420
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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