Recent Advances in EcoLexicon
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Recent Advances in EcoLexicon1

EcoLexicon is a multilingual terminological knowledge base concerning the environment. It is the practical application of Frame-based Terminology, a cognitive approach to the representation of specialized knowledge. Recent enhancements include the EcoLexicon English corpus, a phraseological module, and a flexible approach to terminological definitions.


EcoLexicon ( (Faber et al. 2011; Faber and Buendía 2014; Faber et al. 2016) is a multilingual terminological knowledge base concerning environmental science; it was developed by the [End Page 96] LexiCon research group ( at the University of Granada, Spain. Initially designed and implemented in 2003, it contains 3,631 concepts and 20,342 terms in English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, and Modern Greek.

EcoLexicon is the practical application of Frame-based Terminology (FBT) (Faber et al. 2006; Faber 2012, 2015), a theory of specialized knowledge representation that uses certain aspects of Frame Semantics (Fillmore 1982; Fillmore and Atkins 1992) to structure specialized domains and create non-language-specific representations. FBT focuses on the following: (i) conceptual organization; (ii) the multidimensional nature of specialized knowledge units; and (iii) the extraction of semantic and syntactic information through the use of multilingual corpora.

The users targeted by this knowledge base include language specialists, domain experts, and the general public. Its representations are designed to help translators, technical writers, and environmental experts who need to access and better understand specialized environmental concepts with a view to writing or translating specialized and semi-specialized texts.

The rest of this report is organized as follows. The second part provides a short description of the EcoLexicon interface and its various modules. The third part concisely outlines the latest advancements in EcoLexicon, namely, its new English corpus, the revamped phraseological module, and a flexible approach to terminological definition. Finally, the conclusion treats the contributions of EcoLexicon to terminography.


Users interact with EcoLexicon through a visual interface with various modules that provide conceptual, linguistic, and graphical information. Instead of viewing all information simultaneously, users can browse through the windows and select the most relevant data for their needs.

Figure 1 shows the EcoLexicon entry for fan. When users open the application, three zones appear. The top horizontal bar gives access to the term/concept search engine. The vertical bar on the left of the screen provides information regarding the search concept, namely, its definition, term designations, associated resources, general conceptual role, and phraseology. [End Page 97]

Figure 1. User Interface
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Figure 1.

User Interface

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The topmost box shows the definition of the concept (see the discussion "Flexible terminological definitions," below). The words in each definition also have hyperlinks to their corresponding concept in the knowledge base. The box directly below shows the terms designating the search concept in various languages. The list is organized according to language and term type (main entry term, synonym, variant, acronym, etc.). A click on the term provides further linguistic information regarding language, term type, gender, part of speech, and concordances.

The third box provides resources (images, documents, URLs, audiovisual material, etc.) associated with each concept. The fourth box indicates the very general conceptual role that the concept normally has within the environmental domain.

The phraseology box is currently under construction and shows a list of verbs most commonly used with the term within different phraseological patterns (see the discussion "Phraseology" below). The central area has tabs that access the following: (i) the history of concepts/terms visited; (ii) the results of the most recent query; (iii) an alphabetical list of all of the terms; (iv) the shortest path between two concepts; and (v) concordances for the search term.

At the center of the screen are a conceptual map and icons that permit users to configure and personalize it for their needs. The standard representation mode shows a multi-level semantic network whose concepts are all linked in some way to the search concept at the center. When users click on any of the concepts...