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Lexeme

Lexeme

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Encyclopedia
A lexeme is an abstract unit
Unit
-Mathematics:* Unit , an element that is invertible with respect to ring multiplication* 1 , the unit number* Unit vector, a of the class of objects being studied-Science and technology:...

 of morphological
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 analysis
Semantic analysis (linguistics)
In linguistics, semantic analysis is the process of relating syntactic structures, from the levels of phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs to the level of the writing as a whole, to their language-independent meanings. It also involves removing features specific to particular linguistic and...

 in linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word
Word
In language, a word is the smallest free form that may be uttered in isolation with semantic or pragmatic content . This contrasts with a morpheme, which is the smallest unit of meaning but will not necessarily stand on its own...

. For example, in the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN. A related concept is the lemma (or citation form), which is a particular form of a lexeme that is chosen by convention to represent a canonical form of a lexeme. Lemmas are used in dictionaries as the headword
Headword
A headword, head word, lemma, or sometimes catchword is the word under which a set of related dictionary or encyclopaedia entries appear. The headword is used to locate the entry, and dictates its alphabetical position...

s, and other forms of a lexeme are often listed later in the entry if they are not common conjugations
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 of that word.

A lexeme belongs to a particular syntactic category
Syntactic category
A syntactic category is either a phrasal category, such as noun phrase or verb phrase, which can be decomposed into smaller syntactic categories, or a lexical category, such as noun or verb, which cannot be further decomposed....

, has a certain meaning (semantic value
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

), and in inflecting languages, has a corresponding inflectional paradigm
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

; that is, a lexeme in many languages will have many different forms. For example, the lexeme RUN has a present third person
Grammatical person
Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to a participant in an event; such as the speaker, the addressee, or others. Grammatical person typically defines a language's set of personal pronouns...

 singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

 form runs, a present non-third-person singular form run (which also functions as the past participle and non-finite
Non-finite verb
In linguistics, a non-finite verb is a verb form that is not limited by a subject and, more generally, is not fully inflected by categories that are marked inflectionally in language, such as tense, aspect, mood, number, gender, and person...

 form), a past form ran, and a present participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

 running. (It does not include runner, runners, runnable, etc.) The use of the forms of a lexeme is governed by rules of grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

; in the case of English verbs such as RUN, these include subject-verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 agreement and compound tense
Grammatical tense
A tense is a grammatical category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the situation takes place.Bernard Comrie, Aspect, 1976:6:...

 rules, which determine which form of a verb can be used in a given sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

.

A lexicon
Lexicon
In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. A lexicon is also a synonym of the word thesaurus. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes. Coined in English 1603, the word "lexicon" derives from the Greek "λεξικόν" , neut...

 consists of lexemes.

In many formal
Theoretical linguistics
Theoretical linguistics is the branch of linguistics that is most concerned with developing models of linguistic knowledge. The fields that are generally considered the core of theoretical linguistics are syntax, phonology, morphology, and semantics...

 theories of language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, lexemes have subcategorization frame
Subcategorization frame
In syntax, a subject within linguistics, the subcategorization frame of a word is defined to be the number and types of syntactic arguments that it co-occurs with...

s to account for the number and types of complements they occur with in sentences
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

 and other syntactic structures
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

.

The notion of a lexeme is very central to morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, and thus, many other notions can be defined in terms of it. For example, the difference between inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

 and derivation
Derivation (linguistics)
In linguistics, derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happi-ness and un-happy from happy, or determination from determine...

 can be stated in terms of lexemes:
  • Inflectional rules relate a lexeme to its forms.
  • Derivational rules relate a lexeme to another lexeme.

Decomposition


With languages whose orthography employs an alphabet, its Lexemes are often composed of smaller units with individual meaning called morpheme
Morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

s, according to root morpheme
Root (linguistics)
The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family , which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents....

+ derivational morphemes
Derivation (linguistics)
In linguistics, derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happi-ness and un-happy from happy, or determination from determine...

+ desinence (not necessarily in this order), where:
  • The root morpheme
    Root (linguistics)
    The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family , which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents....

     is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced to smaller constituents.
  • The derivational morphemes carry only derivational
    Derivation (linguistics)
    In linguistics, derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happi-ness and un-happy from happy, or determination from determine...

     information.
  • The desinence is composed of all inflectional morphemes, and carries only inflection
    Inflection
    In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

    al information.


The compound root morpheme + derivational morphemes is often called the stem. The decomposition stem + desinence can then be used to study inflection.

See also


  • Ending (linguistics)
  • Inflection
    Inflection
    In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

  • Lexical unit
  • Lexical word vs. grammatical word
  • Lexicography
    Lexicography
    Lexicography is divided into two related disciplines:*Practical lexicography is the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries....

  • Lexis (linguistics)
    Lexis (linguistics)
    In linguistics, a lexis is the total word-stock or lexicon having items of lexical, rather than grammatical, meaning. This notion contrasts starkly with the Chomskian proposition of a “Universal Grammar” as the prime mover for language...

  • Marker (linguistics)
    Marker (linguistics)
    In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word, phrase, or sentence. In analytic languages and agglutinative languages, markers are generally easily distinguished. In fusional languages and polysynthetic languages, this is often not...

  • Morpheme
    Morpheme
    In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

  • Morphology (linguistics)
    Morphology (linguistics)
    In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

  • Multiword expression
    Multiword expression
    A multiword expression is a lexeme made up of a sequence of two or more lexemes that has properties that are not predictable from the properties of the individual lexemes or their normal mode of combination....

  • Null morpheme
    Null morpheme
    In morpheme-based morphology, a null morpheme is a morpheme that is realized by a phonologically null affix . In simpler terms, a null morpheme is an "invisible" affix. It is also called a zero morpheme; the process of adding a null morpheme is called null affixation, null derivation or zero...

  • Root (linguistics)
    Root (linguistics)
    The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family , which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents....

  • Stem
  • Grammeme
    Grammeme
    A grammeme in linguistics is a unit of grammar, just as a lexeme is a lexical unit and a morpheme is a morphological unit.More specifically, a grammeme is a value of a grammar category. For example, singular and plural are grammemes of the category Grammatical number, noun and verb are grammemes of...