Semantically speaking: Does meaning structure unite languages?
This work is a dead end waiting to happen. Of course it will attract much interest, money, and perhaps even yield new insights into the commonality of language, but there's better ways to get there.
What's even more sad is that they, who should know better, will see my intentions in making this clear as destructive criticism instead of a siren warning regarding research governed/originating through a false paradigm. These people cannot see or overlook the costs humanity pays for the misunderstandings research like this causes and is based upon.
It's even worse in the field of genetic engineering with their chimera research. The people wasting public money funding this research need to be gotten under control again.
I don't want to criticize the researcher's intentions. It's their framing and methodology that I see as primitive, naive, and incomplete.
I'm not judging who they are nor their ends; rather, their means of getting there.
"Quantification" is exactly the wrong way to 'measure/compare semantics; not to mention "partitioning" them!
1) The value in this investigation that they propose is to extrapolate and interpolate ontology. Semantics are more than ontology. They possess a complete metaphysics which includes their epistemology.
2) You cannot quantify qualities, because you reduce the investigation to measurement; which itself imposes meaning upon the meaning you wish to measure. Semantics, in their true form, are relations and are non-physical and non-reducible.
3) Notice also, partitioning is imposed upon the semantics (to make them 'measurable/comparable'). If you compare semantics in such a way then you only get answers in terms of your investigation/ontology.
4) The better way is to leave the semantics as they are! Don't classify them! Learn how they are related. Then you will know how they are compared.
There's more to say, but I think you get the idea... ask me if you want clarification...