[B-Greek] Lexemes, lemmata, and word forms
jtauber at jtauber.com
Fri Apr 22 18:12:44 EDT 2005
Your usage is correct for the most part.
"dictionary form" and "inflected form" are also good terms in themselves. I
wouldn't use the unmodified term "form" to mean the latter because of
possible confusion with the former.
The inflected form is often just referred to as a "word".
Another term for the dictionary form would be "lexical form".
Note that, as a formal linguist, I would call the form "METERCOMAI" the
"dictionary form", "lexical form" or "lemma" but NOT the "lexeme". The
reason is that to a linguist, the "lexeme" is the underlying linguistic
object not the form used to name it. Hence there is a lexeme corresponding
to METERCOMAI, and I might even refer to the lexeme METERCOMAI, but I am
referring then to the linguistic object and not merely the sequence of
letters used to name it.
Or put another way, if one were to write a Greek dictionary that used the
infinitive rather than the first person singular for the verbs, then that
person has changed their choice of dictionary form (and lexical form and
lemma) but the lexemes remain the same. The lexeme is independent of the
choice of which form to use for the dictionary form / lexical form / lemma.
Hopefully I've made the subtle but important distinction clear.
On 22/4/05 3:00 PM, "Ken Penner" <pennerkm at mcmaster.ca> wrote:
> Can I get a quick confirmation that I am using these words aright:
> The dictionary form of a word (e.g., METERCOMAI μετέρχομαι) is called a
> "lexeme" (though some call it a "lemma").
> The inflected form of a word (e.g., METHLQEN μετῆλθεν) is called a "form" or
> "word-form" (but not a "lemma" or "lexeme").
> Ken Penner
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