Building a Multilingual Wordnet Database with Semantic Relations between Words

Type of project: European  |  Start date: 01/03/1996  |  End date: 28/02/1999

EuroWordNet is a multilingual database with wordnets for several European languages (Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German, French, Czech and Estonian).

The wordnets are structured in the same way as the American wordnet for English (Princeton WordNet) [Miller et al 1990], in terms of synsets (sets of synonymous words) with basic semantic relations between them.

Each wordnet represents a unique language-internal system of lexicalization.

In addition, the wordnets are linked to an Inter-Lingual Index, based on the Princeton WordNet.

Through this index, the languages are interconnected so that it is possible to go from the words in one language to similar words in any other language.

The index also gives access to a shared top-ontology of 63 semantic distinctions.

This top-ontology provides a common semantic framework for all languages, while language specific properties are maintained in the individual wordnets.

The database can be used, amongst other things, for monolingual and cross-lingual information retrieval, which was demonstrated by the users in the project.

The EuroWordNet project was completed in the summer of 1999.

The design of the database, the defined relations, the top-ontology and the Inter-Lingual Index are now frozen.

Nevertheless, many other institutes and research groups are developing similar wordnets in other languages (European and non-European) using the EuroWordNet specification.

If compatible, these wordnets can be added to the aforesaid database and, through the index, connected to any other wordnet.

The EuroWordNet format is defined by the EuroWordNet Database Editor Polaris.

A specification can be found in the user-manual of the database.

To the best of our knowledge, wordnets are currently developed for Swedish, Norway, Danish, Greek, Portuguese, Basque, Catalan, Romanian, Lithuan, Russian, Bulgarian and Slovenic.

The cooperative framework of EuroWordNet has continued through the Global WordNet Association.

This is a free and public association that builds on EuroWordNet and the Princeton WordNet.

Its aim is to stimulate further building of wordnets, further standardization and interlinking, the development of tools and the dissemination of information.


Funding programme:
4th Framework Programme

Funding body:
European Commission

Grant agreement:


CNR-ILC role:

Adriana Roventini
Rita Marinelli
Francesca Bertagna