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In today’s multilingual lexical databases, the majority of the world’s languages are under-represented. Beyond a mere issue of resource incompleteness, we show that existing lexical databases have structural limitations that result in a reduced expressivity on culturally-specific words and in mapping them across languages. In particular, the lexical meaning space of dominant languages, such as English, is represented more accurately while linguistically or culturally diverse languages are mapped in an approximate manner. Our paper assesses state-of-the-art multilingual lexical databases and evaluates their strengths and limitations with respect to their expressivity on lexical phenomena of linguistic diversity.
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