Lexical Resources

A lexicon, or lexical resource, is a collection of words and/or phrases along with associated information, such as part-of-speech and sense definitions. Lexical resources are secondary to texts, and are usually created and enriched with the help of texts. For example, if we have defined a text my_text, then vocab = sorted(set(my_text)) builds the vocabulary of my_text, whereas word_freq = FreqDist(my_text) counts the frequency of each word in the text. Both vocab and word_freq are simple lexical resources. Similarly, a concordance like the one we saw in Section 1.1 gives us information about word usage that might help in the preparation of a dictionary. Standard terminology for lexicons is illustrated in Figure 2-5. A lexical entry consists of a headword (also known as a lemma) along with additional information, such as the part-of-speech and crtTmo Sense de^tion.

jl ¡t or gloss saw, [verb], past tense of see. saw, [noun], cutting instrument.

\ Part of speech, or lexical category

Lexical entry


Figure 2-5. Lexicon terminology: Lexical entries for two lemmas having the same spelling (homonyms), providing part-of-speech and gloss information.

the sense definition. Two distinct words having the same spelling are called homonyms.

The simplest kind of lexicon is nothing more than a sorted list of words. Sophisticated lexicons include complex structure within and across the individual entries. In this section, we'll look at some lexical resources included with NLTK.

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