Can you define yourself in two words

Syntactic word, word form or lexeme?

If one carelessly speaks of Words can speak, a little differentiation must be made in the linguistic terminology. wordStrictly speaking, the way it is used in everyday language does not appear in linguistics. A distinction is made between syntactic word, Word form and Lexeme. If we continue from word or from Words speak, we mean it - for the sake of simplicity - in the everyday linguistic sense.

Syntactic words

Syntactic words are all possible words that actually appear in sentences. I. E. every concretely occurringword a sentence of written or oral communication is a syntactic word.

The sentence

[1] He always sold newspapers from the day before.

is therefore made up of six syntactic words.

In the linguistic description, syntactic words can be noted as pairs. The syntactic word and the corresponding categories are specified, through which the syntactic word is categorized in the specific use.

<syntactic word, {categories}>

The syntactic words Newspapers and sold from sentence

[1] He always sold newspapers from the day before.

are then noted as follows:

<Newspapers, {acc, pl, FEM}>
<sold, {3.Pers, Sg, Ind, Akt, Prät}>

If syntactic words of the same form appear twice in a sentence, then there are two syntactic words. As a rule, these also have different syntactic functions.

The sentence

[2] Today's newspapers write about yesterday's newspapers.

contains two syntactic words Newspaperswhich, however, also have to be categorized differently:

<Newspapers, {nom, pl, FEM}> and<Newspapers, {acc, pl, FEM}>

Even if the categories are identical, two syntactic words must be assumed as in

[3] A newspaper is a newspaper.

<Newspaper, {Nom, Sg, FEM}> and >

Although both syntactic words newspaper appear in the nominative singular, they are two syntactic words.

Word forms

Syntactic words with the same structure have only one word form, although - as you could see above - they can have different functions in the syntactic context.

So z. B. the word form sold in:

[4] He always sold newspapers from the day before.
[5] The sold bride read newspapers.
[6] The sold dream was offered in the newspapers.

All potentially possible word forms together form aWord paradigm.
Word paradigms are noted as follows:

newspaperWP: {Newspaper, newspapers}
dreamWP: {Dream, dream (s) s, dreams, dreams}
to sellWP: {sell, sell, sold, ... sold, sold, ...}
inWP: {in}

Word paradigms of inflexible parts of speech like the preposition in our examplein can logically only contain one word form.


The Lexeme is an abstract quantity, which is not realized in terms of expression in the linguistic context. The meaning of the lexeme is the sum of the meanings of all word forms of a word paradigm.
Lexemes are described in dictionaries. In lexicography, there are conventions for the forms of the lemmas / dictionary headings in a lexicon article. Nominal lemmas are implemented as nominative singular; in verb lemmas, the lexicographers use the respective infinitive. In dictionaries for the Latin language, e.g. B. In verbs, the 1st person singular indicative active present tense is used.