Towards an Online Rhyming Dictionary for Mexican Spanish by Alfonso Medina
Rhyming dictionaries are a kind of reverse dictionaries. They group words according to rhyming patterns. Rhymes can share exact sequences of vowel and consonant sounds towards the end of a word (consonant rhyme) or just similar vowel sounds (assonant rhyme). Thus, these dictionaries are based on pronunciation, not on writing patterns. Also, since consonance and assonance depend on the stressed syllable, words which end with a stressed syllable are grouped together, those whose stressed syllable is the next to last appear together, and so on.
In addition, word pronunciation may vary with time and across geographical and social dialects. In Spanish, this is particularly clear when word loans (for instance, Anglicisms and Galicisms) are considered. In fact, they tend to keep their original writing, at least in the Mexican variant which is the most spoken one. For example, the following loan words, common in Mexican Spanish, rhyme: flash, collage, garage, cottage, squash. Their last syllable is stressed and they are ordered in reverse according to their sounds and not their letters: (respectively, /fláʃ/, /ko.láʃ/, /ga.ráʃ/, /ko.táʃ/ and /es.kwáʃ/).
The project described takes the current nomenclature of the Diccionario del español de México (http://dem.colmex.mx/) to generate automatically a rhyming dictionary. Also, since the results of an online query to such a dictionary can be quite large, a procedure was developed to rank them semantically. The idea is to measure the similarities of the query definition to each of the definitions of the rhyming words. These words are then ordered from highest to lowest similarity to the query.