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Key terms for the Glossary

The following terms have been identified as challenging to translate into the vernacular, but are important if the participants are to understand the process of Rapid Word Collection.  They are listed here with explanations and suggestions for how to translate them into languages which may not have these concepts.  It is suggested that you print out the entire list and translate them into the language that you will be collecting words in.

Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.


borrowed word

a word commonly used in a given language, but whose origins are in a different language

Synonyms: loan word



A word written with the first letter in upper case, as is commonly the practice in many languages for names of people and places.

citation form

the form of a word most easily recognized by native speakers as its "fundamental" form; the form used to look up a word in a dictionary


a word formed by joining two or more words (e.g., homework)


the person who oversees all that goes on in a RWC workshop



a detailed explanation of the meaning of a word


an alphabetized list of the words of a language which includes definitions, parts of speech, example sentences, pictures, etc.

Synonyms: dictionaries lexicon lexicons


any of the 9 top-level units into which the semantic domain templates are broken down, numbered 1 through 9

Synonyms: divisions section sections

domain name

the term (or title) that summarizes the content of a particular semantic domain

domain number

the outline-style number that indicates the relationship of a particular domain to others within the semantic domain hierarchy

domain template

the explanatory prose, questions, and example words that make up the prompts for the elicitation of words in a particular semantic domain

Synonyms: domain templates


example word

a suggestion provided in the language of the semantic domain templates to serve as a guide for the search for vocabulary in the target language

Synonyms: example words



a subset of the Questionnaire that is treated as a unit during a RWC workshop

Synonyms: folders



a short (one word, if possible) translation equivalent

Synonyms: glosses


a "dictionary" consisting of little or no more than an alphabetized list of words in one language and their glosses in a second language


a person who writes short (usually 1-2 words) translation equivalents (glosses) in a more widely known language for the words collected during a RWC workshop

Synonyms: glossers



(in RWC context) a ranked system of semantic domains, where certain domains are subdivided into multiple others


words with identical orthographies



a multi-word expression whose meaning cannot easily be guessed simply by knowing the meaning of each of the words that comprise it

Synonyms: idiomatic expression idiomatic expressions idioms


language expert

a native speaker who is intimately acquainted with both the language which is the subject of a RWC workshop and its culture

language of wider communication

a language used by multiple ethnic groups for communication between speakers of different mother tongues; a trade language

Synonyms: LWC

lexical database

a set of words and expressions which comprise the basic components of a language, in electronic format

list of semantic domains

the set of linguistic and cultural categories used to classify words and expressions relative to the area(s) of life in which they are used



semantic content associated with a word or phrase

mental network of semantic relations

the set of interconnected relationships between semantic domains as they relate to a language and culture


incorrect application of a language's orthography

multi-word expression

a lexical unit of a language that is made up of more than one word (e.g., kick the bucket, start over)

Synonyms: idiom idiomatic expression



the way a language is written


progress spreadsheet

a spreadsheet which facilitates reporting the number of words already collected at any given time during a word-collection workshop, as well as helping to monitor the performance of each word-collection group

Synonyms: spreadsheet



(in the RWC context) a prompt to facilitate the collection of words which belong in a particular semantic domain

Synonyms: questions


response sheet

the sheet of paper where the scribe writes down the words that are collected by a word-collection group in a Rapid Word Collection workshop

Synonyms: response sheets



the member of a word-collection group who writes down words as the other members of the group say them

semantic domain

an area of meaning which relates to a certain concept or a particular context in life For more information about the semantic domains used in Rapid Word Collection go to semdom.org.

Synonyms: semantic domains domain domains


one of (potentially) multiple meanings of a word

Synonyms: senses


language-usage that is informal, not typical of speakers of the language in general, and is usually identified with a particular subset of the society; often described in pejorative terms by those who consider their way of speaking to be "correct"

specialized domain

a semantic domain dealing with an aspect of life about which only certain individuals have in-depth knowledge


a portion of a division

Synonyms: subsection subdomain



a list of words in a given language that is organized by semantic theme


someone who enters data into a computer

Synonyms: typists


word-collection group

a group of 3-5 language experts who work together to cite words from their language in the context of a Rapid Word Collection workshop

Synonyms: word-collection groups word collection group word collection groups