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Creation of the Verbal Association Thesaurus of the French language

Linguists all over the world approve the existence of a «world vision» reflected by the words produced by the speakers of this or that language. The conventional dictionaries don’t always hold these connotations. To study them psycholinguists propose «the method of fixation of the first response to one lexical stimulus»: creating so-called «dictionaries of association norms».

The specialists of Novosibirsk State University aim to highlight the association norms of French speakers, which will paint a portrait of the French language personality compared with that of speakers of other languages already studied in this way (the method developed at Moscow Institute of Linguistics). Knowledge of associations evoked by a particular word is essential for translators, lexicographers, specialists in semantics, psycholinguists.

Data was collected through a survey on the Internet from 11 November 2008 to 12 December 2009. Each interviewee received a questionnaire of 100 words randomly selected from a list of 1100 stimuli (incentives). 5500 questionnaires were received from all parts of France. The results were published in the dictionary of verbal associations in 2010: the specialists now continue creating the Word Association Thesaurus of the French language and the dictionary of its Swiss, Canadian, Belgian and African variants. By the end of this year (october-november 2014) we’ll see the difference between these linguistic communities and the community of native French speakers and understand if they share the same «world vision».


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2 thoughts on “Creation of the Verbal Association Thesaurus of the French language

  1. As far as I understand, Swiss, Canadian, Belgian and African French speakers still constitute native speakers communities. Has any researsch into association norms of non-native French speakers been carried out?

  2. Yes, the scientists of the Institute of Linguistics (Russian Academy of Sciences) have already made some research on comparison of association norms of the French and the Russians residing in France. Next time I’ll inform our readers of these results.

    The problem is that most of them compare associations that the Russians and the French give in their native languages, so we have to compare, for example, a Russian “lyubov” to a French “amour”. It would be much more interesting compare “the French part” of their bilingualism

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