Dictionary of Semantic Fields
A semantic field is a set of words whose members are linked together semantically. Antidote’s dictionaries already include several links of this type, e.g., combinations and synonyms. The dictionary of semantic fields goes further by bringing together the existing links and completing them with others.
To create this dictionary, we took our cue from the method previously employed for our combinations dictionary. We took our eight-billion-word corpus and put it under the magnifying glass of the Antidote analyzer to identify, for each noun, adjective, verb or proper noun, the words that appear most frequently in the vicinity of another.
The resulting dictionary of semantic fields offers an overview of each word’s lexical landscape. Or rather, two overviews, because the results are displayed in two ways: on the one hand, in a standard vertical list, and on the other, in an interactive word cloud. In the list, the results are grouped into three levels: first, by the meaning of the headword, if it is polysemous; then by category, so that the members listed are more cohesive; and finally, by statistical strength within each category. In the word cloud, the size of each word is proportional to the strength of its link to the headword. In both cases, a click on a word displays its semantic field in turn, allowing for easy navigation among related concepts.
Unlike combinations, two words do not have to be in a particular syntactic relationship in order to be considered neighbours. Consequently, certain words that appear in a semantic field may occasionally raise questions. Nonetheless, each included element does indeed occur frequently in the headword’s environment.
Semantic fields are often used in teaching to help students discover related vocabulary or to expand the range of their ideas. The two views of semantic fields provided by the dictionary are designed with these goals in mind.