From Michael Turner on the nsm-l list (copied here without permission):
Goddard & Wierzbicka have, moreover, posited "universal molecules" to
complement the "universal atoms" of the NSM prime set (perhaps only a
few hundred.) A good foreign-language learners dictionary might
therefore consist of three sections:
(1) An introduction to the NSM of that language, carefully delineating
the specific meanings intended, excluding the meanings of homophones and
(2) A "molecule" section, which would surely be comprehensible to
anyone who figures out the NSM introduction, because the meanings given
are not culture-bound. This section could be studied initially for
reading comprehension practice, then used later for reference, when
using (3), below.
(3) A general learner's dictionary, in the language itself, using the
language's NSM "atoms" and "molecules" as much as practical.
Avoiding more than two subsidiary lookups, in the worst case, might be a
I don't think any of this excludes adapting some other approaches shown
to be productive in learner's dictionaries, such as the Cobuild
technique of building up and reinforcing comprehension through examples.
This is very close to the idea I had when I started this group.