Experience Of Creating An Associative Dictionary Of The Uzbek Language


The article reports the experience of creating an innovative dictionary in Uzbek linguistics – the first associative dictionary. Opposing to other associative dictionaries, this one chooses national-cultural lexemes for stimulus words. The following issues connected with the structure of the dictionary are dealt with: the choice of the national-cultural lexemes as stimulus words, type of the associative experiment, and practical significance of the dictionary. The relations to the existing in the world associative dictionaries are expressed, the order of creating the dictionary, experimental methods justifying the dictionary have been studied. The difference between a free associative experiment and a contextual associative experiment are given, the choice of the contextual associative experiment is explained. There are data on correspondence to the tried and tested procedure of creating a dictionary. National and cultural peculiarities of some associations have been disclosed. Basing on the analysis a conclusion has been done that the Uzbeks have associative thinking, on their perception of the national-cultural lexemes, level of knowledge and relation to cultural values. The importance of the dictionary as a source of necessary examples of the folklore, Uzbek national traditions, national-cultural ideas studied in folklore science has been given. The reaction words represent socio-political, religious, historical terms which reflect political, religious views of the native speakers which are important for these fields. Important material for such spheres of linguistics as lexicology, semantics, grammar as well psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics, cultural linguistics, pragmalinguistics, sociological linguistics, ethnolinguistics has been shown.

Keywords: Associative dictionary, associative experiment, stimulus word, reactive word, national-cultural lexemes, individual associations


In the ХХth century there are different associative dictionaries which demonstrate the possibilities of the associative world view of native speakers. Conclusions have been made that the associative linguistics, which includes the branches of an associative lexicography, lexicology and grammar is still developing (Karaulov, 2010). In the Uzbek linguistics besides single works (Lutfullayeva & Saparniyazova, 2020), the research in this field and creating the associative dictionary are still acute.

The topical issue of the of the modern linguistics is study of the associative lexemes which are the product of the mental world view, linguistic consciousness and thinking of the Uzbeks, their education and lingvo-cultural peculiarities. “Associative dictionary of the Uzbek language (national-cultural lexemes)” is such a kind of a dictionary created via the associative approach to the language (Lutfullayeva et al., 2019). It gives information on lexemes connected with a stimulus word.

Problem Statement

Nowadays, the associative dictionaries are mostly created by a traditional method via a free associative experiment. Respondents write only the first answer which arises in their memory during listening (reading) a stimulus word. The world practice shows that the associative norm also arises via a chain associative experiment. In the method the respondents say any number of the answers to the stimulus words during a certain period of time (usually 1–3 min.).

The authors think that if the respondents write only one answer for the stimulus word, the respondent’s memory and his ideas about a lexeme will not be fully disclosed. During the experiments it was noted that despite the respondents had to write one word per a stimulus word, they wrote down several associations. It proves that human imagination is unlimited, and the memory recalls events and names of things and people in connection. For example, the word oila in the Uzbek reminds of not only a father but also a mother and children who are with him.

An important aspect of the chain associative experiment is that the number of reaction words is unlimited. That is why per one stimulus word collective and interesting individual associations are wrote down. The results show that per 3 minutes the respondents wrote down about 10 reactive words.

Some linguists say that in the chain associative experiment the associations of the last reactive words are so weak that do not correlate with the stimulus word. We think that it refers only to the semantic connection of the reactions to the stimulus word. The reactions are not always based on the semancis between the words. When forming the reactive words not only linguistic but also extralinguistic factors have an important role. In this connection we can speak not only about semantic connections between the stimulus and reaction but also about the logical connection of words. For example, the answer (my grandfather) for the word (a belt) is formed by an extralinguistic factor, the respondent remembered his grandfather who wore a This image recalled a reaction (my grandfather) for the word (a belt); So, there are examples when the reactions can not be logically separated from the stimulus word.

Basing on this “The associative dictionary of the Uzbek language (national-cultural lexemes)”, opposite to some associative dictionaries in the world is created by a non-conventional way: national – cultural lexemes have been chosen for a stimulus word but not highly frequent, neutral ones.

Research Questions

1. The article gives information on creating a new type of a dictionary in the Uzbek linguistics – the first associative dictionary.

2. Associative connections of the national-cultural lexemes in the Uzbek language have been analyzed.

Purpose of the Study

The prupose of the article is to give information on creating an associative dictionary of the Uzbek language, to deal with the issues of the structure of the dictionary, the choice of the national-cultural lexemes as stimulus words, the type of the conducted assotiative experiment, to disclose the national-cultural peculiarities of the associations.

Research Methods

The world linguistics creates the associative norms basing on the method of the chain associative experiment. The Dutch associative norm “Word associations: Norms for 1424 Dutch words in a continuous task” is based on this method. It contains the results of the associative experiment in which 10292 students from Leuven University in Belgium took part. The respondents wrote down first 3 reactions per 1424 stimulus-words (1266 nouns, 77 verbs, 80 ajectives and 1 numeral). 30311 reactions were received in the experiment (De Deyne & Storms, 2008).

For deeper understanding of the native speakers’ associations on natural-cultural words a chain associative experiment was applied when creating an associative dictionary of the Uzbek language. The respondents wrote down one or several reactions fpr one stimulus word. The associative experiment was conducted in the written form among the students and lecturers.


It is known that the lexemes reflecting the elements of the national culture are. These lexemes denote nationally peculiar ethnic, sociocultural views, national traditions, customs, etiquette and communication norms. Such lexemes are orТeliya (1996) states that these lexemes should be semantically differentiated. She denotes 2 tyes of cultural lexemes: where culturally important information is in the denotative meaning (these are words denoting the objects of the material culture or the concepts of the ethich and social culture), and words where culturally important information is in the connotative meaning. 

In the world linguistics there is an experience of creating associative dictionaries with national-cultural lexmes, when ethnocultural lexemes were chosen as stimulus words. In 1989, Manlikova prepared the “Associative dictionary of the Russian ethnocultural lexics”. In this dictionary 767 words were chosen as stimulus words on the topics: а) ethnographs-Russian wordsand others; b) historical Russian wordsand others); c) national Russian myph words and others; d) international historical wordsand others; e) everyday regionalisms, foreing common language borrowings, localismsand others); f) regional myth-ritual wordsand others); g) natural wordsand others. Also background connotative words: а) literary poetic words and “high-flown” lexics, solemn rethorically coloured lexicsand others.; b) folklore wordsand others.; c) common language and local-historical literary images-symbolsand others.); d) evaluative wordsand others); e) etiquette words – official adressings and their components ( and others); f) flattering – respective and familiarly slangy adressingsand others; g) onomastic lexemes: antroponyms (and others.) (Manlikova, 1989). 

100 lexemes were chosen for the associative dictionary of the Uzbek language as stumulative words which contained a national-cultural seme in the denotative meaning. They are divided into the following types:

: а) wedding ceremonies: beshiktui, nikokh tyui, sunnat tyui, fotikha tyui, muchal тўйи, kizoshi, maslakhatoshi, beshikkerti, charlar, uyga'rar, kizkurar, savzitoor, uzkurdi, kelinsalam; b) religious ceremonies: kurbonlik, chilla, kinna, otin (tineyi), ulimlik, tumor, kuzmunchok; c) words associated with customs and traditions: suunchi, tuena, tuihat, korhat, chimildik, sovchi, kuevnavkar, bahshi.

: atala, airon, susuma (taom), gujara, kholva, oklik, sut-katik, ahlik, palov, katlama, tolkon (talkon)), kuk somsa, kulchatoi, kurtava (kurtoba), sumalak.

: а) product names: angishvona, chakich, rapida, supra, ugir, urchuk, buira, poyandoz, olacha, kurpacha, suzana, luila estik, ertandir, uchok, hontahta, tandir; b) national craddle: beshik.

: а) names of clothes: chakmon, chopon, nimcha, yaktak, duppi, rumol, makhsi, chorik, zhiyak, belbog; b) name of fabric: atlas, bekasam, duhoba, kashta (mato).

: childirma, dutor, tanbur, karnai-surmnai.

: a) melodies:b) songs:

7. National dances:

Narvuz, Khaii, sail.

: aivon, bolohona, busaga, guvala, loisuvok, pakhsa, suri.

: а) sport games:b) children game:

: а) jewelry:; b) national cosmetics:

12. National enterprise, organization:

These stimulus words collected for the dictionary differ in literary language and usage. Some of the words are widely and actively used, for example, and so on. With the account of national cultural peculiarities, history and the past of the people, some words denoting past things, traditions, customs, and rituals have been chosen as stimulus words. For example,(a thing for grinding grain),(a clay wall),(national cloth) and so on.

Usage and activity of stimulus words influences the number of reactions. There were numerous reactions to stimulus words actively used in everyday life and denoting things, rituals, national and cultural events. For example, the Uzbeks often turn to such words as (lullaby, cradle, marriage). Almost 90 % of Uzbek native speakers use these words. That is why the respondents gave many reactions to these stimulus words. There were little or even no reactions to stimulus words denoting things, traditions, rituals which turn into the things of the past.

Most reactions were collective associations. It evidences that the level of perception and understanding national-cultural lexemes by the Uzbeks are nearly the same. The reactions included dialect words which, as repeated many times, were considered collective.

In a free associative experiment there were individual reactions in the form of sentences and word combinations. They showed that there are some differences in usage, perception, and understanding of the national-cultural lexemes by the Uzbeks. For example, the lexeme(cradle) there were a lot of reactions as(baby, mother), but the reactions(stove) given to this lexeme were considered as individual associations given by a certain person. Singular reactions as sentences or word combinations were individual associations. They evidence a necessity for some respondents to express their views in a full way.

One more important feature of the dictionary – it reflects positive and negative attitude of the respondents. For example, the word which means a ritual, evokes some negative feelings in the respondents as they believe that this ritual can cause misfortune. Whereas, some respondents have positive ideas on this word as it reflects friendship and family bounds. Some reactions to the stimulus word(chapan – national cloths), as(penitentional, sable) evokes some negative memeories. Such reactions as(wedding, marriage, circumcission, best men, my birthday), evidenced that these words evoke the most positive memories.

When reflecting the associative field of every stimulus word the authors of the dictionary follow the traditional instruction, determined in the existing associative dictionaries. The collected reactions were classified according to the frequency of repetition and were consequetively placed in the associative field by its decrease. The number of similar reactions was denoted by the Arabic figures (for example,;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;).

Reactions equal in number are placed in the alphabetic order in the associative field. The reactions as sentences were separated from other lexemes with quotes and written in italics.

The dictionary was created in several stages. At the first stage the authors chose stimulus words of the national character. When listing the stimulus words the sphere of application, theme, degree of activity and uniquiness of the national–cultural units were taken into account. In particular, the most actively used words from the synonymous chains were chosen. For example, from the synonymous chain, a word was chosen; from the paradigm(belt) a lexemewas chosen; from the lexeme row (a tent for the first night of the newly-wed after the ceremony) a word was chosen.

Nowadays some national-cultural words (.) are rarely used, but they were chosen as stimulus words as they are easy to understand and had an important role in the cultural life of the Uzbeks. Taking into account national-cultural peculiarities of the regional words (a national dish)(a type of a pillow)(palace) they were also in the list of the stimulus words.

Taking into account the fact that single family words are associatively alike, the most frequently used words were chosen as stimulus words. Among the wordsa word was chosen. A word was chosen among(peanut, rasing);

From the national-cutural words related as a whole – a part a word denoting a whole was chosen. From the lexical rowa lexeme(cradle) was chsen.

From the national cultural stimulus words with hypo-hyperonimic bounds the words were chosen by both ways. When denoting a stimulus word the stress was on the dominating of the national cultural meaning. From the paradigm (national cloths) a lexeme with a generic meaning was chosen.

In the paradigm(types of weddings) the lexeme(wedding) is a hyperonym and it does not have national cultural meaning that is why it was not chosen as a stimulus word. Similarly, from the row of words with the meaning(samsa) denoting its types a nationally cultural lexeme (somsa with greens) was chosen as a stimulus word.

Taking into account that polysemantic national cultural lexemes evoke repeated reactions, a lexeme with a main meaning was chosen. For example, a lexeme(fest) was used in the main meaning. If the national-cultural connotation is in other meanings of the word then it is in the list with the same meanings. For example, the word(embrodiery) was in the meaning (flower, an embroidered cloth).

Homonimous national-cultural lexemes can distract respondents, that is why an implicative meaning of such words was in the brackets. For example

Despite having stylistic peculiarities, some nationally-culturaly marked dialectisms are not clear to the respondents, that is why, they were not chosen as stimulus words. Different grammatical and stylistical variants were not included as stimulus words either.

After making the list of stimulus words, a questionnaire was created. The first page contains personal information: name, age, sex, occupation, education, time and place of filling the questionare. The main criterion in choosing the respondents was their native spoken language: it had to be Uzbek.

The second page contained a table. The first column contained the counting number. The counting number denotes the number of the stimulus word in the list. The next column contains the list of the stimulus words in the alphabetic order; the last column is for writing the reaction words. Every page contains 25 stimulus words.

After creating the questionnaire, the respondents were chosen. They were students of the Tashkent State University of Uzbek Language and Literature Named After Alisher Navoi (2016–2019), students of the Teachers’ Developmental Training Center (2017–2018), students of the Pre-School Department of the Navoi State Pedagogical Institute.

The next stage was the associative written experiment. 273 respondents took part in the experiment. It was in the Uzbek language.

Such factors as worldview, a social position, sex, mental state, professional interests and a dialect of the respondents were not taken into account. The respondents’ age was important; they had to be not younger than 18 years; as well as place of residence (Uzbekistan) and a spoken language (the Uzbek language).

Before the experiment, the respondents were informed in details about the method, purpose of the associative experiment and expected results. After that the instruction was given: “As you hear a stimulus word, without thinking about it, write down as many lexemes as you can remember (1 and more)”.

1 minute was given to write down all the reactions. During this time the respondents wrote down the reactions. It was explained that if the word does not evoke any reaction the respondents can give no answer. The test conductor controlled the time for writing down the reactions. The associative written experiment was in 2016 –2019 in Tashkent and Navoi.

The results were printed on the computer and analysed. The records not corresponding to the stimulus word were excluded and spelling mistakes corrected. In order to reflect the internal possibilities of the language, all dialect materials have been preserved. The summarized results were statistically analyzed.

In the statistical analysis the total number of reactions, frequency of every answer have been determined, as well as different reactions, separate reactions and no answers have been determined. These data are in figures after the reactions to every stimulus word. Let’s have a look at the statistics of the associative field for the word:

. These figures denote: total number of reactions is 506; different reactions are 352, repeated answers are 42, individual answers are 310, 5 cases without answers.

There is an alphabetic list of stimulus words at the beginning of the dictionary. There is a list of stimulus words by the number of reactions at the end of the dictionary. “The Associative dictionary of the Uzbek language (national-cultural lexemes)” contains 100 stimulus words and 42 645 reactions.

What is this dictionary good for referring sciences studying a human factor in different spheres? It should be noted that a famous scientist Karaulov called such dictionaries “a ghrammar-dictionary, a textbook dictionary” (as cited in Karaulov et al., 1994).

“The Associative dictionary of the Uzbek language (national-cultural lexemes)” is a valuable source for lexicological, semantic and grammar spheres of the system-structiral linguistics. The dictionary is a valuable material for the spheres of the anthropocentric linguistics, such as psycholinguistics, cultural linguistics, pragmalinguistics, social linguistics, ethnolinguistics.

The dictionary contains information for knowledge engineering: how the Uzbeks perceive national-cultural events, what are their attitudes to these events. Mental state of the native speakers relative to national-cultural lexemes and their verbal expression in the psychology are the object of analysis when studying the human mental changes.

Precedent lexemes, methaphors in the number of reactions are a valuable material for literature studies when studying the artistic associative thinking. Original folklore examples given in the associative field (proverbs, puzzles and so on) are a new analytical material for the folklore.

The dictionary includes a wide scope of knowledge about national culture. In other words, the dictionary reflects national consciousness which is a national culture. The dictionary enumerates national customs, people’s cultural views. The reactions give information about the ethnic and cultural values of the Uzbek nation, on the perception and views, negative and positive estimations of the respondents. For example, the reactions to the lexeme(a lullaby)(patience, self-devotion, happiness, gratitude, happy life, happy family, healing…) reflect positive attitude of the native speakers to this national-cultural value. Reactions(beautiful, pretty, nice, elegant pattern … “Useful for health”) of the associative field for (scull-cap) demonstrate the positive attitude to this object. The reactions:(“If you say take a skull-cap, he will bring a head”, dirty scull-cap …) – show a negative attitude.

The dictionary is based on the national-cultural lexemes of the Uzbek language, that is why reactions contained associatively similar national-cultural words. For example, the reactions for the word were phonetically and lexically different dialect words denoting different ceremonies, such as “”. These examples show that the dictionary is an important source for ethnic and cultural studies.

The dictionary includes social-political, religious and historic concepts which refer to social studies, politics, and religion. For example, the stimulus word (a clay brick) evoke reactions:(ancient, ancient monuments, ancient uzbek houses); the word(a decorative band for women’s clothes)(ancient clothes, antiquity); the word(grinding machine)(ancient, ancient heritage, ancient tool for wheat grinding); the word (a ritual) –(one more ancient Uzbek ritual, ancient customs, ancient rituals, antiquity). These reactions show that the dictionary is important for history.

The results of the chain associative experiments, conducted with the Uzbek language speakers, showed that in associative connections, especially in case of closely connected national-cultural lexemes there is no great difference. The reactions to the word():(milk, dairy dishes, type of a dish, a thick porridge, a process of cooking porridge, my mom, a woman cooking porrige, a plate for porridge, a road, maternity clinic, birthing mother).

It is interesting that a respondent wrote down 11 reactions per 3 minutes for the stimulus word(the Uzbek national dish); The words(road, autobus) are semantically irrelevant reactions to the the stimulus wordHowever, they are directly connected with the stimulus-word The respondent remembered how his mother cooked for her daughter who bore a child, poured it into a container and brought it to the hospital by bus. It proves that extralinguistic factors play an important role in reactions to the stimuli. In reactions a personality of the respondent is very important: how a person perceives a stimulus word, what is own individual image, recalled by the stimulus word.


In conclusion we can say that “The Associative dictionary of the Uzbek language (national-cultural lexemes)” contains a detailed information on national-cultural lexemes of the Uzbek language, explaines their lexical, semantical, associative meanings, denotes semantic, logical and associative connection with other lexemes; reflects social, cultural, pragmatic, cognitive peculiarities.

This dictionary is a database on the Uzbeks language consciousness, their perception of the outer world, their worlview, interests and views, mental state, life experience and problems.

The dictionary is important as a source of knowledge about national-cultural lexemes, widely used at the present level of the Uzbek language, their associative connections with other lexemes, linguistic pecularities.


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17 May 2021

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Lutfullayeva, D. E., Tajibayev, B. R., Nasirova, M. A., Davlatova, R. H., & Ibragimova, U. Y. (2021). Experience Of Creating An Associative Dictionary Of The Uzbek Language. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization - ISCKMC 2020, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1002-1010). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.134