Talk:hapax legomenon

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The Wikipedia article states that the term is strictly only applicable to the corpus of a language, but is commonly loosely used in other senses. This is, of course, a red flag. Even if there were such a thing as the corpus of a language, it's a basic rule of lexicography that when the incorrect use is the common use, it's not incorrect, however much logic or predisposition may argue otherwise (see decimate).

In the present case (unlike decimate), there doesn't seem to be any obvious etymological reason to prefer one particular corpus. Given that both language usage and our knowledge of it vary over time and space, there is no such thing as "the corups of a language", so even this supposedly definitive usage is relative. The relative definition given thus captures all known usages without making distinctions that in any case don't appear to hold up to actual usage. -dmh 15:41, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I know it's been almost seven years since the above was written, but I still want to respond to it. When linguists speak of "the corpus of a language" they are almost always referring to a long-dead language attested in a closed set of documents. Examples include Sumerian, Akkadian, Ancient Egyptian, Tocharian, Old Irish, etc. I don't think anyone would speak of "the corpus of English" or any other modern language. —Angr 20:05, 19 May 2011 (UTC)


This is a dictionary, correct? Where's the phonetic spelling? I would submit one but I don't know what it is. Ltreachler 17:13, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I’ve added an IPA transcription of the RP standard pronunciation for you — I doubt that it will differ considerably from region to region. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 22:33, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Usage notes[edit]

Are they actually usage notes for the word hapax legomenon? I'd say this is discussion of the topic not the word which is Wikipedia's job, and we have a link to Wikipedia already. Renard Migrant (talk) 21:38, 4 October 2016 (UTC)