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?
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
What is the connection between Ogden Nash and James Thurber? Besides both being humorists, they published at The New Yorker during the same time period. In 1930, Nash’s first poem “Invocation” was published January 11. Did you know Nash contributed 329 poems to The New Yorker between 1930 and 1971?
Meanwhile, the magazine ran a drawing by James Thurber for the first time in the February 22, 1930 issue. E. B. White had rescued Thurber’s doodles from being discarded, and encouraged the writer to publish his art work.
Ogden Nash 37¢
Issue Date: August 19, 2002 City: Baltimore, MD Quantity: 70,000,000
American humorist and poet Ogden Nash wrote light-hearted, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical verse. He often used an extremely large poetic license to create comical rhymes and puns. Ogden Nash is the 18th honoree of the Literary Arts Series.
An interesting couple of notes about the Ogden Nash stamp. It is the first time the word ‘Sex’ has appeared on a stamp; and probably also is the first time a limerick has appeared on a U.S. stamp.
Nash poked fun at human foibles without cynicism. He wrote on many subjects, but all of his poems expressed his wry wit and demonstrated his playfulness with language. “I’m very fond of the English language. I tease it, and you tease only the things you love,” Nash reportedly said. He invented words and used puns, creative misspellings, irregular line lengths and unexpected rhymes to make his verse humorous and memorable. Because of his unique style, many consider Ogden Nash to have been one of the most accomplished American writers of light verse in the 20th century.
In a letter to the editor of The New York Times in 1969, Nash complained about stamps that would not stick to envelopes. He lamented, “The Post Office should supply a roll of Scotch tape with every 100 stamps, but mine won’t even sell me one. I’d like to go back to where I came from: 1902.”
Nash considered himself a ‘worsifier’. One of the most universally known verses is: “Candy is dandy/but liquor is quicker.” Others include: “If called by a panther, / Don’t anther,” and “In the vanities / No one wears panities.”
Did you know? Nash’s great-great-grandfather was governor of North Carolina during the Revolution, and that ancestor’s brother was General Francis Nash, for whom Nashville, Tennessee, was named.
James Thurber 29¢
Issue Date: September 10, 1994 City: Columbus, OH Quantity: 150,750,000
One of the most popular humorists of his time, James Thurber celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people. In Thurber-Land, the men are often sad, bewildered, and inept; the women are fierce and determined; and their dogs are indifferent to men a women alike, and are immersed in a fantasy world of their own. Thurber is the author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which portrays an oversensitive man who escapes from his nagging wife through his daydreams, and the creator of numerous New Yorker magazine cover cartoons. Writing nearly 40 books, he won a Tony Award for the Broadway play, A Thurber Carnival, in which he often starred as himself.
Thurber spent much time in and about the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. Though never a formal member of the Algonquin Round Table, he was a favorite among many of its members including, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.
Continuing on the Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamp week, today I will be featuring Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison. The connection between these two stamps is that they are the only two in the series that are intended for three-ounce letters.
Flannery O’Connor 93¢
Issue Date: June 5, 2015
City: McLean, VA
Flannery O’Connor’s stamp is 30th in the Literary Arts Series, released in 2015.
Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, she wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.
The stamp shows O’Connor surrounded by peacock feathers—an homage to O’Connor’s love for the birds that she cared for on her mother’s farm toward the end of her life. She wrote about peacocks in a 1961 essay called “The King of Birds.” Today, three of those peacocks that were her pets have been returned to her homeplace in Andalusia, which has become a visitor center.
All three birds are named after characters in O’Connor’s work. The strutting male bird is Manley Pointer, after the scheming Bible salesman from O’Connor’s story “Good Country People.” One of the hens is named Joy/Hulga, after the woman whose prosthetic leg Pointer steals in the same story. The second hen’s name is Mary Grace, the “raw-complexioned girl” from O’Connor’s story “Revelation” in her collection “Everything That Rises Must Converge.”
The setting of Andalusia, including the ever-present peafowl, figures prominently in her fiction. If it is true, as critics and scholars have noted, that Southern fiction is marked by the importance given to a sense of place, then a major force in shaping Flannery O’Connor’s work is landscape. Andalusia provided for her not only a place to live and write, but also a functional landscape in which to set her fiction.
While living at Andalusia, Flannery O’Connor completed Wise Blood, which was published in 1952. Then her highly acclaimed collection of short stories A Good Man Is Hard To Find was published in 1955. She also wrote another novel, The Violent Bear It Away, published in 1960. Her second collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published posthumously in 1965. A collection of nonfiction prose titled Mystery and Manners, edited by Robert and Sally Fitzgerald, was published in 1969. The Complete Stories, edited by Robert Giroux, won the 1971 National Book Award for Fiction. Then Sally Fitzgerald edited a large collection of O’Connor’s letters, The Habit of Being, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award after its publication in 1979. O’Connor’s Collected Works was published in 1988 as part of the Library of America series, the definitive collection of America’s greatest writers.
Ralph Ellison 91¢
Issue Date: February 18, 2014 City: Kansas City, MO Quantity: 30,000,000
Ellison’s stamp is 29th in the Literary Arts series, released in 2014.
With his 1952 novel Invisible Man, a masterpiece of 20th-century fiction, Ellison drew on a wide range of narrative and cultural traditions, shedding vivid light on the African-American experience while setting a new benchmark for all American novelists.
The stamp art is an oil-on-panel painting featuring a portrait of Ellison based on a black-and-white photograph by Ellison’s friend Gordon Parks, a renowned staff photographer for Life magazine. The photo appeared on the back of the dust jacket of the first edition of Invisible Man in 1952. The background of the stamp art shows a Harlem street at twilight.
Drawing deeply on European and American literature as well as jazz, the blues, African-American folklore, and popular culture, Invisible Man won the National Book Award in 1953. Ellison’s nonfiction writing, especially the 1964 collection Shadow and Act, has also been praised for providing touchstones for black artists who loved American culture but often felt excluded by it.
Inspiration comes from many places. Today’s blog post inspiration came from the Richard Wright quote of last week, when I went looking for an image of Mr. Wright to use as the focal point. His postage stamp led me to wonder what other literary wordsmiths had been immortalized on postage stamps.
The USPS started the Literary Arts series in 1979. According to the USPS, “These skillful wordsmiths spun our favorite tales — and American history along with them.”
Issue date: February 27, 1979 City: Salinas, CA Quantity: 155,000,000
John Steinbeck was the first to be honored on the Literary Arts series. Steinbeck’s novels mirrored America’s struggle and victory over the Great Depression. His most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. Other Steinbeck novels include Of Mice and Men, The Winter of Our Discontent, The Pearl, Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.
Issue date: August 22, 1992 City: West End, NJ Quantity: 105,000,000
Dorothy Parker is 10th in the Literary Arts series. Famous for her verses and her stories, she worked for Vogue and Vanity Fair, becoming their drama critic. She was published in Vanity Fair, Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Life (when it was still a comic magazine), and The New Yorker, run by her old friend, Harold Ross.
American journalist Vincent Sheean said: “Among contemporary artists, I would put her next to Hemingway and Bill Faulkner. She wasn’t Shakespeare, but what she was, was true.” John Keats in his biography of her, You Might as Well Live (1970) stated: “She wrote poetry that was at least as good as the best of Millay and Housman. She wrote some stories that are easily as good as some of O’Hara and Hemingway.”
A founding member of the legendary Algonquin Round Table, she was best known for her wit. Among her more memorable quotes are, “I don’t care what is written about me as long as it isn’t true” and “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”
Have you ever been stuck for a word? The meaning is clear in your head, but you can’t grasp the word you want? I am sure you have said, it’s on the tip of my tongue. This happens to everyone at some point. As a writer, an editor, a student, or just in everyday writing — you get frustrated and start pulling out your hair. This is where OneLook Reverse Dictionary can help you (and me, when I edit!)
How does it work?
OneLook explains it best, so I took this screenshot for you.
Keep your search short to get the best results. OneLook indexes online dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, and other reference sites for your search term returning conceptually similar words. They suggest utilizing only the first few terms, since it comes back with hundreds sometimes, as seen in the screenshot below where I searched for urge to travel.
The list you get back is broken up into Categories: General, Art, Business, Computing, Medicine, Miscellaneous, Religion, Science, Slang, Sports, Tech, and Phrases. I really like the Phrases category.
Doing this search, I learned a phrase that includes wanderlust is Broburn Wanderlust—which was a small, wooden, single-seat glider designed in the United Kingdom just after World War II. Only one was built in 1946, and it flew in 1947.
The Wanderlust is a single seat sailplane of wooden construction, with a cantilever shoulder-wing. The wing is covered with ply from the leading edge as far as the spar, aft of which it is fabric covered. Fitted along the whole span are aerofoil section flaps, which are split at about half span so that the outer section scan act as flaps or drooping ailerons. Accommodation in the cockpit is roomy and the pilot’s head is raised well above the wings and fuselage under a Perspex hood. A seat type parachute is provided, with a radio as possible additional equipment. Novel use has been made out of a cut motorcycle inner tube encased in canvas to provide an inflatable shock absorber.
– The Museum of Berkshire Aviation
Be sure to check out the other Editor’s Toolkit posts including The Punctuation Guide, and the Hemingway App. Hope you will come back for what’s upcoming the rest of the week, as I highlight what else is in my Editor’s Toolkit.
Know of other useful writing apps that aren’t included here? Let me know about them on Twitter!
Ernest Hemingway‘s writing style is known almost instantaneously by most readers. It is distinctive, recognizable, and influential. Critics believe his style was honed during his time being a cub reporter in Kansas City. Using short, rhythmic sentences, and selecting only those elements essential to the story, he created a clean style that works with having a journalistic background.
The Hemingway App shows you what is wrong with your writing in a clear and easy-to- follow method. Overly long sentences show up in yellow. Adverbs appear in blue. Words or phrases that can be simplified, purple. Green indicates passive voice. And red sentences are very hard to read.
Writer Ian Crouch of The New Yorker took Hemingway’s own writing and put it through the Hemingway App. The opening paragraph from Hemingway’s short story,”A Clean, Well-Lighted Place“, only scored Grade 15 (OK).
It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.
I hope this allows you to see how you can utilize different tools and websites to make your writing stronger and more concise. Be sure to check out the other Editor’s Toolkit posts including The Punctuation Guide and the OneLook Reverse Dictionary. Come back for what’s upcoming the rest of the week, as I highlight what else is in my Editor’s Toolkit.
Feel free to let me know what is in your Editor’s Toolkit in the comments and I will mention you if it becomes part of the series.
Know of other useful writing apps that aren’t included here? Let me know about them on Twitter!
In 1934, the word “Dord“appeared in the Second Edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary on page 771, between “dorcopsis” (“a genus of small kangaroos of Papau”) and “doré,” (“golden in color”).
It was defined as a noun meaning Density in Physics and Chemistry.
Before it came into the everyday lexicon, however, it was removed in the 1939 Edition. Why? It was found out to be a typist’s error, and not a real word, by an editor who noticed that it was missing its etymology (origin) and decided to follow up.
The following is an excerpt from The Story of Webster’s Third: Philip Gove’s Controversial Dictionary and Its Critics (Herbert C. Morton, 1994):
The lack of an etymology for dord, meaning “density,” was noted by an editor on February 28, 1939, when he was perusing the dictionary. Startled by the omission, he went to the files to track down what had happened and what needed to be done. There, he found, first, a three-by-five white slip that had been sent to the company by a consultant in chemistry on July 31, 1931, bearing the notation “D or d, cont/ density.” It was intended to be the basis for entering an additional abbreviation at the letter D in the next edition. The notation “cont,” short for “continued,” was to alert the typist to the fact that there would be several such entries for abbreviations at D. A change in the organization of the dictionary possibly added to the confusion that followed. For the 1934 edition, all abbreviations were to be assembled in a separate “Abbreviations” section at the back of the book; in the previous edition words and abbreviations appeared together in a single alphabetical listing (which is how they again appeared in the Third Edition.) But after the original slip was typed for editorial handling, it was misdirected. Eventually, it came to be treated with the words rather than with the abbreviations.
The editorial stylist who received the first typed version should have marked “or” to be set in italics to indicate that the letters were abbreviations (D or d). But instead, she drew a continuous wavy line underneath to signify that “D or d” should be set in boldface in the manner of an entry word, and a label was added, “Physics & Chem.” Since entry words were to be typed with a space between letters, the editorial stylist may have inferred that the typist had intended to write d o r d; the mysterious “cont” was ignored. These errors should have been caught when the word was retyped on a different color slip for the printer, but they were not. The stylist who received this version crossed out the “cont” and added the part-of-speech label n for noun.
“As soon as someone else entered the pronunciation,” Gove wrote, “dord was given the slap on the back that sent breath into its being. Whether the etymologist ever got a chance to stifle it, there is no evidence. It simply has no etymology. Thereafter, only a proofreader had final opportunity at the word, but as the proof passed under his scrutiny he was at the moment not so alert and suspicious as usual.”
The last slip in the file – added in 1939 – was marked “plate change imperative/urgent.” The entry was deleted, and the space was closed up by lengthening the entry that followed. In 1940 bound books began appearing without the ghost word but with a new abbreviation. In the list of meanings for the abbreviation “Dord” appeared the phrase “density,Physics.” Probably too bad, Gove added, “for why shouldn’t dord mean density?”
The first person one meets (either leaving or entering their house) after the start of the New Year.
Qualtagh is from a form of Gaelic known as Manx. It is spoken on the Isle of Man, a Literally the word qualtagh means “first foot”, as in the first person to set foot in the house on New Year’s Day, or the first person one met when they set foot outside on New Year’s Day.
In order to be the “first foot”, one cannot have been present in the house at the stroke of midnight. So being there and then going outside and coming back in does not make one the Qualtagh of the place.
It may also be used to refer to the first person a woman encounters after being confined to her house following the birth of a child.
Did You Know?
The new year’s qualtagh, for luck, is supposed to be a dark-haired man. A red-headed or female qualtagh is unlucky. Other things to bring luck to the house on New Year’s Day include serving black-eyed peas, having the qualtagh bring shortbread and whiskey (sounds fine for any day of the year), and sweeping all the garbage in the house out through the front door before midnight on New Year’s Eve (so that any of the misfortune of the past year is gone, not to return).
In Greece, the “first foot” is referred to as the Pothariko (pothari-KO). Their right foot needs to be the first one to cross the threshold, and they bring pomegranates to throw on the floor for good luck.
Taking a page (see what I did there? ) from the earlier blog post this week on Shakespeare, and bringing you, the reader, interesting information on how the characters die in Shakespearean plays, and their violent ends.
One does not have to look far to find the central theme of Death in Shakespeare’s plays. Stabbed, poisoned, stabbed and poisoned, snakebite, beheaded, lack of sleep (Lady Macbeth), a broken heart (Lady Montague), and smothered (Desdemona), are just a few of the ways the characters have died. There are 74 deaths in Shakespearean plays.
No, no, the drink, the drink, – O my dear Hamlet,- The drink, the drink! I am poison’d. Queen Gertrude, Hamlet Act V, Scene II
Arms, take your last embrace. And, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death.
(kisses JULIET, takes out the poison)
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide.
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy seasick, weary bark.
Here’s to my love! (drinks the poison) O true apothecary,
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
Romeo, Romeo and Juliet Act V, Scene III
Yea, noise? Then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger,
This is thy sheath. There rust and let me die.
(stabs herself with ROMEO’s dagger and dies) Juliet, Romeo and Juliet Act V, Scene III
Editor’s Note: this can also double in the category of Suicide
Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me. Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra Act V, Scene II
Editor’s Note: Cleopatra puts an asp to her breast and it bites her. She dies from its venom.
…his fiend-like queen, Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands Took off her life; Malcolm, Macbeth Act V, Scene VIII
Editor’s Note: Malcolm is talking about Lady Macbeth. We find out in Act V, Scene V that she is dead. In the last lines of Macbeth does the reader infer that she committed suicide.
Baked in a Pie
I think Lavinia’s death in Titus Andronicus is probably the most gruesome for me. First, she is raped by Chiron and Demetrius, then her tongue is cut out and her hands are cut off so she can’t incriminate them. Once she uses a staff in her mouth to spell out their names, her father, Titus, cuts their throats, and uses their blood in the meat pie. Titus then kills Lavinia.
Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee; [Kills LAVINIA] And, with thy shame, thy father’s sorrow die!
Editor’s Note: When Titus learns that Chiron and Demetrius have raped and dismembered his daughter, he not only kills them but bakes them into a pie that he feeds to their mother, Tamora.
Why, there they are both, baked in that pie; Whereof their mother daintily hath fed, Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred. ‘Tis true, ’tis true; witness my knife’s sharp point. Titus Andronicus, Titus Andronicus Act V, Scene III
In Twelfth Night, The FOOL sings in Act II, Scene IV:
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid.
Fly away, fly away breath, I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet
On my black coffin let there be strown.
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown.
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!
In short form, Shakespeare’s Tragedies: Everybody Dies.
Plus, the best death ever, in my opinion is the stage direction from The Winter’s Tale. [Exit, pursued by a bear], from Act III, Scene 3.
Did You Know?
Detailing all of the Bard’s 74 scripted deaths, there will be a play in May 2016 called The Complete Deaths. Performed by just four actors, it will open at the Northampton Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton, UK before heading to the Brighton Festival for its official premiere and touring the country.
Collective nouns are names used to represent a group of people, animals, or things.
All animals collect into groups at some point in their lives. Be it for the social interaction, mating season, or herd immunity (groups of animals are harder to attack than solitary ones wandering by themselves).
These names reflect our love of linguistics, and can be traced back to the fifteenth century when they were first published in The Book of St. Albans (1486), in three parts on hawking, hunting, and heraldry.
A murder of crows
A congress of baboons
A tower of giraffes
A parliament of owls
A rafter of turkeys
A shrewdness of apes
A zeal of zebras
A crash of hippopotami
A congregation of alligators
A pride of lions
An unkindness of ravens
A blessing of unicorns
A clowder of cats
A flamboyance of flamingoes
A conspiracy of lemurs
A volt of vultures
An implausibility of gnus
A celebration of polar bears
A mob of meerkats
A kaleidoscope of butterflies
A knot of frogs
A prickle of porcupines
A smack of jellyfish
A romp of otters
A sleuth of bears
An ostentation of peacocks (Do you think this is where the word ‘ostentatious’ comes from?)