Merging Specialist Taxonomies and Folk Taxonomies in WordNets - a Case Study of Plants, Animals and Foods in the Danish WordNet

In this paper we investigate the problem of merging specialist taxonomies with the more intuitive folk taxonomies in lexical-semantic resources like wordnets; and we focus in particular on plants, animals and foods. We show that a traditional dictionary like Den Danske Ordbog (DDO) survives well with several inconsistencies between different taxonomies of the vocabulary and that a restructuring is therefore necessary in order to compile a consistent wordnet resource on its basis. To this end, we apply Cruse?s definitions for hyponymies, namely those of natural kinds (such as plants and animals) on the one hand and functional kinds (such as foods) on the other. We pursue this distinction in the development of the Danish wordnet, DanNet, which has recently been built on the basis of DDO and is made open source for all potential users at Not surprisingly, we conclude that cultural background influences the structure of folk taxonomies quite radically, and that wordnet builders must therefore consider these carefully in order to capture their central characteristics in a systematic way
Published in 2010