In morphology and lexicography, a lemma (plural lemmas or lemmata) is the canonical form, dictionary form, or citation form of a set of words (headword). In English, for example, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, with run as the lemma. Lexeme, in this context, refers to the set of all the forms that have the same meaning, and lemma refers to the particular form that is chosen by convention to represent the lexeme.
In lexicography, this unit is usually also the citation form or headword by which it is indexed. Lemmas have special significance in highly inflected languages such as Arabic, Turkish and Russian.
The process of determining the lemma for a given word is called lemmatisation.
The lemma can be viewed as the chief of the principal parts, although lemmatisation is at least partly arbitrary.
So, in short … A lemma is the dictionary term for the word you’re looking up. If you were to look up the word “jumping” in an English dictionary, you wouldn’t find it as a headword. What you would find is “jump,” the word that represents “jump,” “jumping,” “jumped,” and “jumps.” In this case “jump” is the lemma.
Editor Note: “The More You Know…”
>> Took a linguistics class in college, and decided to share the craziness running around my head tonight. Enjoy!
PS: Sorry this isn’t Word Wednesday… SURPRISE.. it’s WORD THURSDAY?