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Article

Word Sense Frequency of Similar Polysemous Words in Different Languages

Iomdin B., Lopukhina A., Лопухин К. А., Носырев Г. В.

When words have several senses, it is important to describe them properly in dictionary (a lexicographic task) and to be able to distinguish them in a given context (a computational linguistics task, WSD). Different senses normally have different frequencies in corpora. We introduced several techniques for determining sense frequency based on dictionary entries matched with data from large corpora. Information about word sense frequency is not only useful for explanatory lexicography and WSD, but it also may enrich language learning resources. Learners of a foreign language who encounter a word similar to one of their native language are often tempted to assume that the foreign word and its equivalent have the same meaning structure. Sometimes, however, this is not the case, and the most frequent sense of a word in one language may be much less frequent for its cognate. We proposed a method for detecting such cases. Having selected a set of Russian words included into the Active Dictionary of Russian which have more than two dictionary senses and have cognates in English, we estimated the frequencies for English and Russian senses using SemCor and Russian National Corpus respectively, matched the senses in each pair of words and compared their frequencies. Thus we revealed cases in which the most frequent senses and whole meaning structures are, cross-linguistically, substantially different and studied them in more detail. This technique can be applied not only to cognates, but also to pairs of words which are usually offered by the dictionaries as the translation equivalents of each other.