"For its use in the context of Computer Science, see Lexical analysis".

A lexeme (audio|En-us-lexeme.ogg|pronunciation) is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word. For example, in the English language, "run", "runs", "ran" and "running" are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN. [RUN is here intended to display in small caps. Software limitations may result in its display either in full-sized capitals (RUN) or in full-sized capitals of a smaller font; either is anyway regarded as an acceptable substitute for genuine small caps.] 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 headwords, and other forms of a lexeme are often listed later in the entry if they are unusual in some way.

A lexeme belongs to a particular syntactic category, has a certain meaning (semantic value), and in inflecting languages, has a corresponding inflectional paradigm; that is, a lexeme in many languages will have many different forms. For example, the lexeme RUN has a present third person singular form "runs", a present non-third-person-singular form "run" (which also functions as the past participle and non-finite form), a past form "ran", and a present participle "running". (It does not include "runner, runners, runnable," etc.) The use of the forms of a lexeme is governed by rules of grammar; in the case of English verbs such as RUN, these include subject-verb agreement and compound tense rules, which determine which form of a verb can be used in a given sentence.

A lexicon consists of lexemes.

In many formal theories of language, lexemes have subcategorization frames to account for the number and types of complements they occur with in sentences and other syntactic structures.

The notion of a lexeme is very central to morphology, and thus, many other notions can be defined in terms of it. For example, the difference between inflection and derivation can be stated in terms of lexemes:
* Inflectional rules relate a lexeme to its forms.
* Derivational rules relate a lexeme to another lexeme.


Lexemes are often composed of smaller units with individual meaning called morphemes, according to root morpheme + derivational morphemes + desinence (not necessarily in this order), where:

* The root morpheme is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced to smaller constituents. [ [http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsARoot.htm SIL dictionary of linguistic terms: What is a root?] ]
* The derivational morphemes carry only derivational information. [ [http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsADerivationalAffix.htm SIL dictionary of linguistic terms: What is a derivational affix?] ]
* The desinence is composed of all inflectional morphemes, and carries only inflectional information. [ [http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAnInflectionalAffix.htm SIL dictionary of linguistic terms: What is an inflectional affix?] ]

The compound root morpheme + derivational morphemes is often called the stem. [ [http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAStem.htm SIL dictionary of linguistic terms: What is a stem?] ] The decomposition stem + desinence can then be used to study inflection.

ee also

* Ending (linguistics)
* Inflection
* Lexical unit
* Lexical word vs. grammatical word
* Lexicography
* Lexis (linguistics)
* Marker (linguistics)
* Morpheme
* Morphology (linguistics)
* Multiword expression
* Null morpheme
* Root (linguistics)
* Stem


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lexeme — Lexème Le lexème (aussi appelé unité lexicale par le Conseil supérieur de la langue française et de nombreux grammairiens et lexicographes) est le morphème lexical d’un lemme, c est à dire une unité de sens et de son qui n est pas fonctionnelle… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • lexème — [ lɛksɛm ] n. m. • av. 1950; de lex(ique), d apr. morphème ♦ Ling. Morphème lexical libre (⇒ mot), ou lié (⇒ racine). ● lexème nom masculin (de lexique, d après morphème) Unité minimale de signification appartenant au lexique. ● lexème… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • lexeme — 1937, from LEXICON (Cf. lexicon) + eme, ending abstracted from MORPHEME (Cf. morpheme). Related: Lexemic …   Etymology dictionary

  • lexeme — [lek′sēm΄] n. [< Gr lexis, word (see LEXICON) + EME] Linguis. a word or stem that is a meaningful unit in a language and coincides with the abstract unit underlying a given set of inflected forms lexemic [leks′ē′mik] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Lexème — Le lexème (aussi appelé unité lexicale par le Conseil supérieur de la langue française et de nombreux grammairiens et lexicographes) est le morphème lexical d’un lemme, c est à dire une unité de sens et de son qui n est pas fonctionnelle ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • lexeme —  Unite de base du lexique, dans une opposition lexique / vocabulaire, ou le lexique est mis en rapport avec la langue et le vocabulaire avec la parole.  Selon les theories, cependant, le lexeme sera assimile au morpheme (morpheme lexical) ou a l… …   Glossaire de linguistique computationnelle

  • lexeme — UK [ˈleksiːm] / US [ˈleksɪm] noun [countable] Word forms lexeme : singular lexeme plural lexemes linguistics a word or group of words that has a meaning that cannot be understood from the meaning of the parts of which it consists …   English dictionary

  • lexeme — noun /ˈlɛksiːm/ Roughly, the set of inflected forms taken by a single word, such as the lexeme including as members run (lemma), running (inflected form), or ran , and excluding runner (derived term) …   Wiktionary

  • lexeme — A word, in the sense of a dictionary entry. Distinct string of letters may be forms of the same lexeme (‘fills’, ‘filled’, ‘filling’); conversely, identical strings of letters (bank, the institution, bank of the river) may be forms of different… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • lexeme — noun Etymology: Greek lexis word, speech + English eme more at lexicon Date: 1940 a meaningful linguistic unit that is an item in the vocabulary of a language • lexemic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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