Representing natural gender in multilingual databases

Noam Ordan, Shuly Wintner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural languages encode gender distinctions in various ways. We investigate the differences between English and Hebrew in this respect, our departure point being the relations that are defined between the feminine and the masculine realizations of nouns in the English WordNet. We define a number of distinct classes of English nouns which differ in the way they realize gender distinctions. We then define similar classes of Hebrew nouns and show how to map the Hebrew nouns (and relations defined over them) to the English structure. This establishes a systematic assignment of Hebrew nouns to WordNet synsets, which is consistent with the ideas underlying multilingual extensions of WordNet. The main result is a consistent Hebrew WordNet which is aligned with the English one, but an additional contribution is a set of desiderata for the correct encoding of (systematic) semantic differences among languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Lexicography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Emanuele Pianta and Iris Eyal for their continuous support and useful comments. Thanks are due also to Lusia Bentivogli, Sara Kaufman, Nurit Melnik and Danny Shacham. This research was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, under the auspices of the Knowledge Center for Hebrew Telecommunication, with additional support from the Caesarea Rothschild Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science at the University of Haifa.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'Representing natural gender in multilingual databases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this