Cross-language comparison of vocabulary items

Several times I’ve mentioned my glossary preparation and study and how it is interesting to compare the way different languages treat a vocabulary item and how we define an item.

An example came to mind. In English, we use “under” in both a positional and metaphorical sense: the cat is under the table and McGeorge Bundy worked under Lyndon Johnson. In Urdu, the former, bili mez ke nice hay, uses nice for under; in the latter, McGeorge Bundy Lyndon Johnson ke takht kam karta tha, uses takht for under. So when making up a vocabulary list, if you use English as the base, you have to note this for under.

What is interesting is coming up with a base not aligned with a specific language, more like a concept base.

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