"Run" vs. "Set"

Enid Pearsons e.pearsons at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Apr 7 16:31:13 UTC 2003

For those who don't have the Random House Unabridged, set has 119 numbered
definitions; take has 126; run has 179.  This count does not include various
lettered subdefinitions.

As I recall, when Random House first moved to a computerized
conversion/typesetting system, run broke the initial conversion, stopping
everything in its tracks, and had to be split before the magic could
continue.  This did not happen with any other word.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank Abate" <abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET>
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2003 2:39 AM
Subject: Re: "Run" vs. "Set"

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Frank Abate <abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Run" vs. "Set"
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In reply to Fred S's query, I would not recommend counting dictionary
senses as an absolute way to determine relative polysemy.  Reasons:
> 1. Different lexos and dict houses will handle the same word differently,
as regards number of senses, and other things.  Some lexos are "lumpers";
some are "splitters".
> 2. What is polysemy really?  I think one might get a better sense for this
by looking at the studies done in linguistics.  Dictionaries do mirror
linguistic reality, but they only mirror it.  And some of those mirrors have
not been cleaned recently, and have scratches and cracks in them.
> 3. What to count?  In some houses (like Merriam), the verb and noun senses
of a word will be in two different entries.  Watch for that, too.  Also,
does one count the phrasal verbs that are built on words like _run_ and
_set_, or not?
> I WOULD say that one can get some clue by comparing entries within a
single dictionary.  Look, say, at the Random House Unabridged for the
American side, and at Shorter Oxford for the British.  These are both fairly
recently edited and are "unabridged" -- unlike big OED, many parts of which
date back to Murray's time, or the Amer Heritage, which is not unabridged.
> The words _run_ and _set_ are good candidates, but I would also take a
look at _take_.
> Frank Abate
> Frank Abate
> (860) 349-5400
> abatefr at earthlink.net

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