I am trying to extract all components ("atoms") of meaning of the concept "friendship" in a certain language (actually in Russian). By components of meaning I mean, for example: "girl"="human"+"female"+"young". But the concept "friendship" is more complex. One possible way is to use explanatory dictionaries (but entries may not be complete). The other way is to review proverbs and idioms used in Russian. What other linguistic methods may be useful here? Any ideas are welcome.
The Natural Semantic Metalanguage is a controversial approach to semantics. The idea is that there is a limited set of semantic primes which are themselves undefinable and also universal. But with that set of primes, every other meaning can be defined/explicated.
Conveniently, someone has already made an NSM definition for friend! These definitions are always a work in progress, but it might give you a good place to start your investigation.
(my) friend =
I think about this person like this:
I know this person well
when I do things with this person, I feel something good
when I am with this person, I feel something good
I know this person thinks the same about me