word association and foreign language learning neural netowrks

Question which may sound silly:

Has there ever been a study done
which takes an 'average' of
"word associations" and used this
information for teaching related
vocabulary?

Example:

I'm learning Russian, and
I would like to see the
product of a native Russian's
(or a whole bunch of native
Russians) 'word association' -
something like "happy",
"sad", "mad", "glad", "sunny",
"warm", "cold", "old", "bold",
"mold", "mildew", "fungus" might
be in English...

There might be some words
which rhyme, other words which
are opposites, other words which
are similar in meaning, some
words which are the same
amount of syllables, etc.

I'm rather pedestrian, as far
as language acquisition goes,
but I tend to be "right brained",
as they say, and am a big fan
of the neural network concept of
how the brain is mapped, and
stores information.

If anybody knows of anything
like this, I would be quite
interested.

Thoughts?  Information?

-Kenneth

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