Hi everyone!
I was wondering about the usage of two words that are used quite often when it comes to the problem of increasing one's vocabulary:

In German a "Wortfeld" is a collection of words that are thematically connected. Would "word field" be an acceptable English translation? I also came across the term "lexical field" but doesn't that just refer to a grammatical relation between words? None of the dictionaries I use lists either of them and a Google search doesn't bring up very helpful results.
Similarly, a "Schneeballsystem" ("snowball system") is used to find words that belong together: You look up one word in a dictionary, see which other words are mentioned in its context, look them up, and so on. At dict.leo.org they tell me that "Schneeballsystem" should be translated as "pyramid scheme", but again a Google search seems to indicate that this expression only refers to illegal redistribution of money, such as chain letters. Would "pyramid scheme" be acceptable in the context I mentioned?
Andreas "any help appreciated" Schlenger.
In German a "Wortfeld" is a collection of words that are thematically connected. Would "word field" be an acceptable English translation? I

Groups like this appear to be the organizing principle of Roget's Thesaurus, which first appeared in the 19th century. You can probably find a biography of Peter Mark Roget that explains his system in enough detail for you to decide whether his term fits your need for an equivalent to Wortfeld.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
In German a "Wortfeld" is a collection of words that are thematically connected. Would "word field" be an acceptable English translation?

(SOED5 and OED2):
word-field /Linguistics/: a group of lexical items seen as associated in meaning because occurring in similar contexts;
(citation in OED2)

1965 Amer. Speech XL. 62 Job is not identical with Arbeit; it standsat the lowest level of this word-field.
(SOED5)
semantic field: a lexical set of semantically related items (citation in OED2)

1971 J. B. Carroll et al. Word Frequency Bk. p. l, The basic colorterms have often been studied as a lexical set, or semantic field.

A distinction is usually made between conceptual field and lexical field.
I also came across the term "lexical field" but doesn't that just refer to a grammatical relation between words?

Here's what P.H. Matthews says in the
Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics :

semantic field. A distinct part of the lexicon defined by some general term or concept. E.g. in English the semantic field of colour includes words such as /black/ and /red/ that distinguish colours, or are hyponyms of the more general term /colour/.
A distinction can usefully be drawn between a lexical field*, as part of the vocabulary of a specific language at a specific stage in its history, and a *conceptual field, postulated either as a linguistic universal or established across a range of languages or stages in the history of a language. E.g. a conceptual field of kinship was represented in Latin by a lexical field which is different from any of those representing the same conceptual field in French or the other modern Romance languages.

The germinal work in field theory is German (see Jost Trier and Johann Weisgerber). We imported the words into English.
A short popular discussion of field theory can be found on pp.104-106 in David Crystal's The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language .
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Similarly, a "Schneeballsystem" ("snowball system") is used to find words that belong together: You look up one word in a ... refers to illegal redistribution of money, such as chain letters. Would "pyramid scheme" be acceptable in the context I mentioned?

No, I don't think it would be understood.
This is something like a "flooding algorithm", but I don't know if the term exactly fits here.

Mark Brader "That's what progress is for. Progress Toronto is for creating new forms of aggravation." (Email Removed) Keith Jackson
Hi everyone! I was wondering about the usage of two words that are used quite often when it comes to ... None of the dictionaries I use lists either of them and a Google search doesn't bring up very helpful results.

Someone else implies it is used in linguistics.
Similarly, a "Schneeballsystem" ("snowball system") is used to find words that belong together: You look up one word in a ... refers to illegal redistribution of money, such as chain letters. Would "pyramid scheme" be acceptable in the context I mentioned?

I agree that the "pyramid scheme" has inevitable connotations of fraud. However, "pyramid" alone, or modifying something else (a pyramid structure) does not. I don't think what you describe *is* a pyramid structure, though.
If there is not already an established term in linguistics, maybe you could introduce "snowball system." It would need a few words of explanation, as you have done, but the idea of a snowball gatherine size as it rolls or is pushed a common enough concept (from Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes comics, mostly!)
I think in English you would want something like "daisy chain".

Main Entry: daisy chain
Function: noun

1 : a string of daisies with stems linked to form achain

2 : an interlinked series
Main Entry: daisy-chain
Function: transitive verb
Date: 1955
to link (as computer components) together in series

Discussion here has shown that some know it as sexual slang, however, so you might get some adolescent sniggers.

Best wishes Donna Richoux
Similarly, a "Schneeballsystem" ("snowball system") is used to find words ... Would "pyramid scheme" be acceptable in the context I mentioned?

No, I don't think it would be understood. This is something like a "flooding algorithm", but I don't know if the term exactly fits here.

It sounds as though you're computing the transitive closure of a word with respect to its dictionary definition.
The transitive closure of a relation R is all pairs of elements x and y such that either (x,y) is in R or, for some z, (x,z) and (z, y) are both in the transitive closure. (The transitive closure of the "is a parent of" relation is the "is an ancestor of" relation.) Somewhat more casually, the transitive closure of x with respect to R is the set of all y such that (x,y) is in the transitive closure of R.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >"You can't prove it isn't so!" is
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >as good as Q.E.D. in folk logic asPalo Alto, CA 94304 >though it were necessary to submit
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I think in English you would want something like "daisy chain". Main Entry: daisy chain Function: noun 1 : a ... series Discussion here has shown that some know it as sexual slang, however, so you might get some adolescent sniggers.

It's wrong for a more important reason it implies a linear arrangement (or the topological equivalent) as opposed to a branching one. It means a series, when what we're talking about is a graph (in the graph-theory sense).

Mark Brader, Toronto > "The three dots '...' here suppress a lot of detail (Email Removed) > maybe I should have used four dots." Knuth