Near-Synonymy and the Structure Of Lexical Knowledge

Graeme Hirst

Plesionyms, or near-synonyms, are words that are almost synonyms, but not quite. The need to deal adequately with plesionymy in tasks such as lexical choice is the basis for two alternatives to conventional models of lexical knowledge: a Saussurean approach and a prototype-theory approach. In this paper, I will discuss these approaches, showing that the latter is troublesome but the former is likely to succeed.

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