Friday, January 30, 2009

A word for having a word for...

Geoff Pullum has just pointed out that "the general reading public loves the idea that your lexicon measures your life." In other words, he means that they think a language without a particular word for x (hand for example as distinct from arm) is somehow impoverished. As I read this, it struck me that English, mean and ineffectual language that it is, actually has no word for this idea. So, as my humble way to enrich the language I offer the following:
  1. alexemic: The state of lacking a word for a particular notion.
  2. lexemic: The state of having a word for a particular notion.
  3. lexemifilia: The fetish belief that a single word ought to exist for any given concept
  • English, though lexemic with respect to hand is alexemic with respect to warm water where Japanese is exactly the opposite.
  • A: Did you see the article in today's paper saying language X had no word for snow?
    B: Yeah, another journalist suffering from lexemifilia.
If you don't like those words, I have alternatives that are a little less grandiose.
  1. gouth
  2. perd
  3. dern
(no real motivation for these particular words, I just liked the sound of them)

1 comment:

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