Using Word Sketch to Investigate the Lexical and Grammatical Environment of Cognates across English and Italian

Dominic Stewart


Word Sketches are automatic, corpus-based summaries – one or two pages in length – of a word’s grammatical and collocational behaviour. Word Sketch is one of the many facilities offered by Sketch Engine and has been extensively adopted by lexicographers in view of its detailed and visually friendly features. However, dictionaries can provide only a limited amount of information and therefore may not necessarily report specific grammatical and/or semantic features – in particular semantic prosodies – of the word in question. This paper offers a critical analysis of examples of Bilingual Word Sketch searches across English and Italian, with particular reference to cognates of the two languages with apparently similar meanings, in an attempt to shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of Word Sketch to investigate cross-language near-synonym differentiation.

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