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Linguistic Database CLICS Just Got a Huge Update

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Those immersed in the study of linguistics have at least heard of the database CLICS, or Database of Cross-Linguistic Colexifications. That's a big name to describe a very simple purpose: one place where colexifications are contributed, studied, and standardized. Researchers can now use the tool on a larger than ever scale in the ever-evolving study of language.

What are colexifications? You're probably already familiar with the concept! Essentially, there are words in every language that express more than one concept. For example, in English, 'bank' can refer to either a river bank or a place in which you store money. Does that sound like a homonym? Yes; colexification is a catch-all term that describes homonymy and its fellow, polysemy, which function the same, but differ in how words originate. Sound complicated? Well, that's where CLICS comes in.

The main problem with a pot of linguistic research is that it has been too subjective. The work of individual researchers is hard to reproduce, because there was not much of a set standard for compiling and reproducing data. And as any good data scientist knows, research is most helpful when it can be reproduced by another scientist. With the new update to CLICS, the way in which the database gains new linguistic concepts has been improved, and allows more users to contribute and map their data processes using the same system. Then others can use their process in their own collections, building on existing, standardized, quantitative research, as opposed to beginning from scratch using whatever method the user might prefer.

Hopefully, linguistic research through CLICS will improve understanding and communication internationally very soon!

Photo: Pixabay