Language Resources and Evaluation

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 313–326 | Cite as

Challenges for a multilingual wordnet

  • Christiane FellbaumEmail author
  • Piek Vossen
Original Paper


Wordnets have been created in many languages, revealing both their lexical commonalities and diversity. The next challenge is to make multilingual wordnets fully interoperable. The EuroWordNet experience revealed the shortcomings of an interlingua based on a natural language. Instead, we propose a model based on the division of the lexicon and a language-independent, formal ontology that serves as the hub interlinking the language-specific lexicons. The ontology avoids the idiosyncracies of the lexicon and furthermore allows formal reasoning about the concepts it contains. We address the division of labor between ontology and lexicon. Finally, we illustrate our model in the context of a domain-specific multilingual information system based on a central ontology and interconnected wordnets in seven languages.


Multilingual wordnets Formal ontology Information system 



The work described here was funded by the European Union FP7 ICT Work Programme, Project ICT-211423.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer SciencePrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of ArtsVU University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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