0

Is there a single English word for the singular and plural form of the word? I want to write a java function that gets the singular or plural form of the word based on the count. If count is greater than 1 then plural els singular word. To name the method, I wanted to know if there is any such word.

Is it called the forms of noun?

  • For the given purpose and context, I'd say word is the hypernym that works and works well enough. – Kris Oct 14 at 8:45
  • If you want to be rigorous, remember that a 'plural form noun' like 'data', 'headquarters' may take a singular verb-form (the headquarters is half a mile away), a 'singular form noun' like 'police', 'team' may take a plural verb-form (the team/police are doing well), some plurals and singulars are identical (sheep, deer), some nouns don't normally have singular (cattle) or plural (wealth) forms.... – Edwin Ashworth Nov 13 at 11:57
  • "Grammatical number" is the term for whether a noun is singular or plural. In this case, I don't think it's any better than "forms of noun" or "singular or plural" though. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_number – Stuart F Nov 13 at 13:35
0

Lexeme is the term coined by Crystal to cover this, though it is not specific to inflections of nouns.

A lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection. It is a basic abstract unit of meaning,[1] a unit of morphological analysis in linguistics that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single root word. For example, in English, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, which can be represented as run.

One form, the lemma (or [base form or] citation form), is chosen by convention as the canonical form of a lexeme. The lemma is the form used in dictionaries as an entry's headword. Other forms of a lexeme are often listed later in the entry if they are uncommon or irregularly-inflected.

[Wikipedia]

Lexeme An alternative term is lexical item. Lexemes (or lexical items) are the basic units of meaning in a language. Dictionaries list them. There’s no harm, of course, in following the long-established tradition, and continuing to say ‘look the word up in a dictionary’, as long as students realise that what they’re really doing is looking up a lexeme. Most of the time, you can carry on talking about ‘words’, and there’ll be no ambiguity. But lexeme is a handy term to have available when students need to talk about such matters as variant forms (the go problem) and idioms.

An idiom is a lexeme, because regardless of the number of words it contains it expresses a single meaning, as in the case of kick the bucket (which incidentally derives from old pig-slaughtering practices, when pigs were hung from beams).

Other examples of variant forms: plurals (boy and boys are the same lexeme), comparison (big, bigger, and biggest are the same lexeme), possession (girl and girl’s are the same lexeme).

[David Crystal]

  • Should have been the perfect thing for the purpose, but for the fact that lexeme is way way broad to be a hypernym for just grammatical number. It's not even limited to single words but extends to phrases, expressions, idioms, and what else I do not know of. – Kris Oct 14 at 8:43
  • Lexeme does not only mean the singular or plural form of the word. So I cannot make use of it. – Mendon Ashwini Oct 14 at 12:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.