Past projects: RELISH



When a lexicon constitutes the only record of a dying or already extinct language, it can contribute unique linguistic and cultural information to our store of scientific knowledge. And making it interoperable with other lexical data becomes a critical research priority. However, despite the support accorded to initiatives to develop digital standards for language documentation within both the US and Germany, there still exist major barriers to lexicon interoperability. The most significant barrier is that standards-setting bodies have arrived at different standards for format and markup on the two sides of the Atlantic. Additionally, within each national community, divergences exist in lexicon format and markup, in part because field linguists have hitherto relied on software which does not offer the linguist adequate support in choosing structural or linguistic categories.

The project proposed here will promote language-oriented research by addressing a two-pronged problem: (1) the lack of harmonization between digital standards for lexical information in Europe and America, and (2) the lack of interoperability among existing lexicons of endangered languages, in particular those created with the Shoebox lexicon- building software. The project will harmonize key European and American digital standards whose divergence has hitherto impeded international collaboration on language technology for resource creation and analysis, as well as web services for archive access. Focusing on six to eight lexicons of endangered languages, the project will establish a unified way of referencing lexicon structure and linguistic concepts, and develop a procedure for migrating these heterogeneous lexicons to a standards-compliant format. Once developed, the procedure will be generalizable to the large store of lexical resources involved in the LEGO and DoBeS projects.



  1. RELISH LL LMF schema
  2. RELISH LMF schema


RELISH lexica are available in

  1. LEGO
  2. LEXUS (login with Username “RELISH-guest” and Password “guest”)

Data Categories

The RELISH ISOcat group has made the following Data Category Selections public:

  1. GOLD 2010
  2. MDF


  1. Windhouwer, M., Petro, J., Nevskaya, I., Drude, S., Aristar-Dry, H. Gippert, J. Creating a Serialization of LMF: The experience of the RELISH project. In LMF: Lexical Markup Framework, Theory and Practice , Gil Francopoulo (ed). Iste (Europe)/Wiley (US). 2013.
  2. Nevskaya, I. Standards of creating electronic dictionaries of endangered languages: the RELISH project, Proceedings of the 4th International Turkish Studies Symposium. Endangered Turkic Languages and Cultures , Ankara, Turkey, May 23-26, 2012.
  3. Aristar-Dry, H., Drude, S., Windhouwer, M., Gippert, J., Nevskaya, I. Rendering Endangered Lexicons Interoperable through Standards Harmonization: The RELISH Project. In Calzolari, N. et al (eds), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2012), (pp. 766-770). European Language Resources Association (ELRA). Istanbul, Turkey, May 23-25, 2012.


  1. Schuurman, I., Windhouwer, M. ISOcat in daily life: possible uses of a large repository of widely used linguistic concepts . Tutorial at the Eight International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2012), Istanbul, Turkey, May 21, 2012


  1. Nevskaya, I. Issues of harmonization of digital standards: the RELISH project, lecture given at the International Conference on Turkish Linguistics , Ankara, August 18-23, 2012.

TEI Workshop: Tightening the Representation of Lexical Data, a TEI Perspective (TEI MM 2011), Würzburg, Germany, October 12, 2011:

  1. Aristar-Dry, H., Petro, J., Miller, B., Wicks, E. and Aristar, A. TEI and the LEGO Lexicons
  2. Nevskaya, I. Standardization of Data Categories through Linking Them to the ISOcat Data Registry in the RELISH project
  3. Windhouwer, M. ISOcat -> LMF -> TEI

RELISH Symposium: RELISH meets LOEWE: Rendering Endangered Lexicons Interoperable through Standards Harmonization, Frankfurt, Germany, October 10, 2011:

  1. Gippert, J. RELISH meets LOEWE
  2. Miller, B. The LEGO Project
  1. Aristar-Dry, H. LEGO and RELISH 2: Harmonizing Lexicon Structure
  2. Drude, S. The Language Archive at the MPI
  3. Windhouwer, M., Nevskaya, I. On the way to a Relation Registry for ISOcat data categories
  4. Good, J. Wordlists as a test case for semantic and structural interoperation
  5. Simons, G. Endangered languages and endangered language families: A global assessment

2nd International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation – Strategies for moving forward (ICLDC 2011), Honolulu, Hawai’i, Februari 11-13, 2011:

  1. Ringersma, J., Drude, S., Nevskaya, I., Aristar-Dry, H. Making Endangered Language Dictionaries Interoperable: The RELISH Project.

RELISH Workshop: Lexicon Tools and Lexicon Standards , Nijmegen, The Netherlands, August 4-5, 2010

  1. Drude, S. Nevskaya, I. MDF and its Applications
  2. Aristar-Dry, H. LIFTing LEGO with RELISH: Lexicon Standards and the LEGO Project
  3. Aristar, A. Principles of the GOLD Ontology
  4. Good, J. Models and technologies to facilitate wordlist interoperation
  5. Windhouwer, M. Principles of ISOcat, a Data Category Registry
  6. Ringersma, J. Mirzayan, A. The Wichita lexicon in LEXUS (LMF, ISOcat)
  7. Simons, G. Tools, FieldWorks
  8. Kemps-Snijders, M. LMF Tools
  9. Wittenburg. P., Moreira, A. Standards and Tools; The CLARIN and DOBES perspectives

LREC Workshop: 7th SaLTMiL Workshop on “Creation and use of basic lexical resources for less-resourced languages” (LREC 2010), Malta, May 23, 2010:

  1. Kemps-Snijders, M. Relish: rendering endangered languages lexicons interoperable through standards harmonisation (invited talk)

LREC Workshop: Language Resource and Language Technology Standards – state of the art, emerging needs, and future developments (LREC 2010), Malta, May 18, 2010:

  1. Ringersma, J., Drude, S., & Kemps-Snijders, M. Lexicon standards: From de facto standard Toolbox MDF to ISO standard LMF

RELISH Symposium: RELISH meets D-SPIN , Frankfurt, Germany, April 26, 2010:

  1. Gippert, J. RELISH Meets D-SPIN
  2. Kemps-Snijders, M. Working Out Interoperability Between Lexical Approaches in the RELISH
  3. Nevskaya, I. MDF-LEXUS Import: Standardizing Lexicon Structures using LMF




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