Descriptions of Inquirer
Categories and Use of Inquirer Dictionaries
This document describes General Inquirer tag categories from
four sources: (1) the Harvard IV-4 dictionary, (2) the Lasswell value
dictionary, (3) several categories recently constructed, and (4)
primarily developed as a resource for disambiguation, but also
available to users. The entries in any category (with a cutoff after
the first 100 entries to save on download time) will be displayed
upon clicking on a category name. Complete listings for the Harvard IV-4
categories can be found at the Maryland Webuse site.
The categories are described here in the order they appear in
the columns across the master spreadsheet. See the Inquirer
dictionary master spreadsheet
guide for directions on
downloading this complete spreadsheet in any of several
The Inquirer has no limit on the number of categories it can
handle, providing each category has a unique name. Inquirer category
names may be of any length and are case sensitive. For easy
identification, marker categories are in upper case while others are
in mixed case. Some categories have "Lw" (for "Lasswell") appended to
distinguish them from similar Harvard dictionary categories. Also
some Harvard categories have an "@" sign appended, usually in order
to distinguish them from marker categories of identical spelling
(which is important for case-insensitive statistical software such as
The Lasswell dictionary
entries remain exactly those developed by Namenwirth and Weber, as
described in their book Dynamics of Culture. The Harvard
dictionary shown in the spreadsheet was expanded in 1998 to include
almost all words, except for special cases such as proper names, that
occur 4 or more times per million according to the Thorndyke-Lorge
counts. To avoid confusion, we recommend that new category names
always be created for any modified categories, including those
categories that just have new entries added.
1) Two large valence categories (new)
1,915 words of positive
outlook. (It does not contain words for yes,
which has been made a separate category of 20
2,291 words of negative
outlook (not including the separate category no
in the sense of refusal).
We plan to develop further
subcategories of these categories.
Harvard IV-4 categories:
2) "Osgood" three semantic dimensions.
These categories reflect
Charles Osgood's semantic differential findings regarding basic
language universals. An earlier version had three different
"intensity" levels for each category, but these were combined. A
word may be more than one dimension, if appropriate. For example,
"celebration" in the Harvard dictionary is PositivPstvAffilActiveRitual
1045 positive words, an
earlier version of Positiv.
A subset of 557 words are
also tagged Affil
for words indicating
affiliation or supportiveness.
1160 negative words, an
earlier version of Negativ.
A subset of 833 words are
also tagged Hostile
for words indicating an
attitude or concern with hostility or
1902words implying strength.
A subset of 689 words are
indicating a concern with power, control or authority.
755 words implying
A subset of 284 words are
also tagged Submit,
connoting submission to authority or power, dependence on
others, vulnerability to others, or withdrawal.
2045 words implying an active
911 words indicating a passive orientation
3) Words of pleasure, pain, virtue and
These categories are usually
also classified positive or negative, with virtue indicating
strength and vice indicating weakness. They provide more focus
than the categories in the first two sections.
Pleasur168 words indicating the
enjoyment of a feeling, including words indicating confidence,
interest and commitment.
254 words indicating suffering, lack of confidence, or commitment.
49 words describing
particular feelings, including gratitude, apathy, and optimism,
not those of pain or pleasure.
166 words indicating
excitation, aside from pleasures or pains, but including arousal
of affiliation and hostility.
311 words related to
emotion that are used as a disambiguation category, but also
available for general use.
Virtue719 words indicating an
assessment of moral approval or good fortune, especially from the
perspective of middle-class society.
Vice685 words indicating an
assessment of moral disapproval or misfortune.
4) Words indicating overstatement and
understatement, often reflecting presence or lack of emotional
words indicating emphasis in realms of speed, frequency,
causality, inclusiveness, quantity or quasi-quantity, accuracy,
validity, scope, size, clarity, exceptionality, intensity,
likelihood, certainty and extremity.
"Understated", 319 words
indicating de-emphasis and caution in these realms.
5) Words reflecting the language of a
These categories reflect a
sociological perspective, especially as reflected in the writings
of Talcott Parsons. A high score reflects use of the language of
that institution, talking like a lawyer, professor, or military
153 words relating to
academic, intellectual or educational matters, including the names
of major fields of study.
217 words referring to
organized systems of belief or knowledge, including those of
applied knowledge, mystical beliefs, and arts that academics
510 words of an economic,
commercial, industrial, or business orientation, including roles,
collectivities, acts, abstract ideas, and symbols, including
references to money. Includes names of common commodities in
60 words concerned with
buying, selling and trading.
There is also a related
category with 502 words
(269 in common with Econ@)
that is used by the General Inquirer in disambiguating.
205 words associated with the
arts, sports, and self-expression.
(186 words) and
(138 words) categories have recently been created and will be
added to the spreadsheet.
Legal192 words relating to
legal, judicial, or police matters.
Milit88 words relating to
263 words having a
clear political character, including political roles,
collectivities, acts, ideas, ideologies, and symbols.
Caution: There is also a
broader category of 507
words that is used in disambiguation.
Relig103 words pertaining to
religious, metaphysical, supernatural or relevant philosophical
6) Words referring to roles,
collectivities, rituals, and forms of interpersonal relations, often
within one of these institutional contexts.
Role569 words referring to
identifiable and standardized individual human behavior patterns,
as used by sociologists.
COLL191 words referring to all
human collectivities (not animal). Used in
Work261 words for socially
defined ways for doing work.
134 words for non-work
577 words for
socially-defined interpersonal processes (formerly called
"IntRel", for interpersonal relations).
7) Ascriptive social categories as well
as general references to people and animals
Race15 words (with important
use of words senses) referring to racial or ethnic
Kin@50 terms denoting
MALE56 words referring to men
and social roles associated with men. (Also used as a marker in
Female43 words referring to
women and social roles associated with women.
NonAdlt25 words associated with
infants through adolescents.
HU795 general references to
humans, including roles
ANI72 references to animals,
fish, birds, and insects, including their
8) References to places, locations and
routes between them.
category with 318
words subdivided into Social(111 words for created
locations that typically provide for social interaction and occupy
limited space), Region(61
Land(63 words for places
occurring in nature, such as desert or beach)
andSky(34 words for all aerial
conditions, natural vapors and objects in outer space).
9) References to
category with 661 words subdivided into Tool,
words),BldgPt(46 words for buildings,
rooms in buildings, and other building parts),
ComnObj(104 words for the tools
of communication) and NatObj(61 words for natural
objects including plants, minerals and other objects occurring in
nature other than people or animals). Last, a list of 80 parts of
the body (BodyPt)
10) Processes of
ComForm895 words relating to the
form, format or media of the communication transaction.
Note: there is also a
of 412 communications
words used in disambiguation.
Say4 words for say and tell.
11) Motivation-related words:
76 words related to the expression of need or
Goal53 names of end-states
towards which muscular or mental striving is directed.
Try 70 words indicating
activities taken to reach a goal, but not including words
indicating that the goals have been achieved.
Means244 words denoting
objects, acts or methods utilized in attaining goals. Only 16
words overlap with Lasswell dictionary 77-word category
64 words indicating "stick to it" and endurance.
Complet81 words indicating that
goals have been achieved, apart from whether the action may
continue. The termination of action is indicated by the category
Fail137 words indicating that
goals have not been achieved.
12) Other process or change
217 words for processes found in nature, birth to death.
Change process categories
Vary(98 words indicating
change without connotation of increase, decrease, beginning or
ending), Increas(increase, 111 words)),
Decreas(decrease, 82 words) and
Movement categories, including
words),Fetch(79 words, includes
carrying) Travel(209 words for all
physical movement and travel from one place to another in a
horizontal plane) andFall(42
13) Cognitive orientation (knowing,
assessment, and problem solving)
81 words referring to the presence or absence of rational thought
348 words indicating awareness or unawareness, certainty or
uncertainty, similarity or difference, generality or specificity,
importance or unimportance, presence or absence, as well as
components of mental classes, concepts or ideas.
112 words denoting presumption that occurrence of one phenomenon
is necessarily preceded, accompanied or followed by the occurrence
26 words indicating moral imperative.
Perceiv192 words referring to the
perceptual process of recognizing or identifying something by
means of the senses.
21 words of comparison.
205 words which imply
judgment and evaluation, whether positive or negative, including
Note: there is also a
broader, different EVAL
category with 314
evaluative words that is used in disambiguation.
Solve189 words (mostly verbs)
referring to the mental processes associated with problem solving.
Abs@185 words reflecting
tendency to use abstract vocabulary. There is also an
category (276 words) used as a marker.
Quality344 words indicating
qualities or degrees of qualities which can be detected or
measured by the human senses. Virtues and vices are separate.
314 words indicating the
assessment of quantity, including the use of numbers. Numbers are
also identified by the NUMBcategory (51 words) which
in turn divides into ORDof 15 ordinal words and
CARDfor 36 cardinal words.
FREQ46 words indicating an
assessment of frequency or pattern of recurrences, as well as
words indicating an assessment of nonoccurrence or low frequency.
(Also used in disambiguation)
words referring to distance and its measures. (Used in
Time@273 words indicating a
time consciousness, including when events take place and time
taken in an action. Includes velocity words as well. There is also
a more restrictive TIME
category (75 words) used as a marker for disambiguation.
Space302 words indicating a
consciousness of location in space and spatial relationships.
There are also two more specialized marker categories for
(35 words for position) and DIM
(49 words for dimension).
Rel136 words indicating a
consciousness of abstract relationships between people, places,
objects and ideas, apart from relations in space and time.
21 words of color, used in
14) Pronouns reflecting an "I" vs. "we"
vs. "you" orientation, as well as names:
Self7 pronouns referring to
the singular self
Our6 pronouns referring to
the inclusive self ("we", etc.)
You9 pronouns indicating
another person is being addressed directly.
only contains 86 names identified in the Harvard IV dictionary.
More names are recognized by the Lasswell dictionary, as in the
15) "Yes", "No", negation and
is 20 words directly indicating agreement, including word senses
"of course", "to say the least", "all right".
is 7 words directly indicating disagreement, with the word "no"
itself disambiguated to separately identify absence or negation.
Note: These two
categories only occur frequently enough to be of interest in
Negatehas 217 words that
refer to reversal or negation, including about 20 "dis" words, 40
"in" words, and 100 "un" words, as well as several senses of the
word "no" itself; generally signals a downside view.
has 42 words and includes exclamations as well as casual and slang
references, words categorized "yes" and "no" such as "amen" or
"nope", as well as other words like "damn" and "farewell".
New categories based social
work of G. Semin
(Univ. Sussex) and K. Fiedler (Univ. Giessen)
See J. of Personality and
Social Psychology, 1988, 54, 558-568 for details.
16 Verb types.
1947 verbs giving an interpretative explanation of an action, such
as "encourage, mislead, flatter".
540 straight descriptive verbs of an action or feature of an
action, such as "run, walk, write, read".
102 state verbs describing mental or emotional states. usually
detached from specific observable events, such as "love, trust,
17 Adjective types.
117 adjectives referring to relations between people, such as
"unkind, aloof, supportive".
637 adjectives describing people apart from their relations to one
another, such as "thrifty, restless"
Lasswell value dictionary
This dictionary divides language into
four deference domains: power, rectitude, respect, affiliation,
and four welfare domains: wealth, well-being,
enlightenment and skill. Within each domain, there may be
such subcategories as gains, losses,
participants, ends, and arenas. In addition to
subcategory counts, there is a total count for each domain. The
dictionary authors avoided categorizing a word or word sense in more
than one domain and one subcategory in that domain, even though more
than one domain or more than one subcategory may be relevant.
However, a few consistency errors have been uncovered by the
18) Power: A valuing of having the
influence to affect the policies of others.
= Power Gain, 65 words about power increasing
= Power Loss, 109 words of power decreasing.
= Power Ends, 30 words about the goals of the power process.
= Power Arenas, 53 words referring to political places and
environments except nation-states.
PowCon= Power conflict, 228
words for ways of conflicting.
= Power cooperation, 118 words for ways of
= Power authoritative participants, 134 words for individual and
collective actors in power process
= Power ordinary participants, 81 words for non-authoritative
actors (such as followers) in the power process.
= Power doctrine, 42 words for recognized ideas about power
relations and practices.
= Authoritative power, 79 words concerned with a tools or forms of
invoking formal power.
= Residual category of 332 power words not in other
= 1,266 words for the whole domain
19) Rectitude is concerned with moral
values and has fewer subcategories:
= Ethics, 151 words of values concerning the social
= Religion, 83 words that invoke transcendental, mystical or
supernatural grounds for rectitude.
= Rectitude gain, 30 words such as worship and
= Rectitude loss, 12 words such as sin and denounce.
= Rectitude ends, 33 words including heaven and the high-frequency
= Rectitude total, 310 words for the whole domain.
20) Respect is the valuing of status,
honor, recognition and prestige.
= 26 words for the garnering of respect, such as
= 38 words for the losing of respect, such as shame.
= 182 words regarding respect that are neither gain nor
= 245 words in the domain.
21) Affection is the valuing of love and
= 35 words for reaping affect.
= 11 words for affect loss and indifference
= Affect participant, 55 words for friends and family.
= 96 affect words not in other categories
= 196 words in the affect domain
22) Wealth is the valuing of having it.
= Wealth participant, 52 words for various roles in business and
= Wealth transaction, 53 words for pursuit of wealth, such as
buying and selling.
= 271 wealth-related words not in the above, including economic
domains and commodities.
= 378 words in wealth domain.
23) Well-being refers, according to
Lasswell, to the "health and safety of the organism".
= 37 various words related to a gain in well
= 60 words related to a loss in a state of well being, including
= 226 words connoting the physical aspects of well being,
including its absence.
= 139 words connoting the psychological aspects of well being,
including its absence.
= 27 roles that evoke a concern for well-being, including infants,
doctors, and vacationers.
= 487 words in well-being domain.
24) Enlightenment refers, according to
Lasswell, to "knowledge, insight, and information concerning personal
and cultural relations".
= Enlightenment gain, 146 words likely to reflect a gain in
enlightenment through thought, education, etc.
= Enlightenment loss, 27 words reflecting misunderstanding, being
misguided, or oversimplified.
= Enlightenment ends, 18 words "denoting pursuit of intrinsic
= Enlightenment participant, 61 words referring to roles in the
secular enlightenment sphere.
= 585 other enlightenment words
= total of about 835 words
25) Skill categories reflect the valuing
of skills. especially those of the arts in the aesthetics
= Skill aesthetic, 35 words mostly of the arts
= Skill participant, 64 words mainly about trades and professions.
= 158 other skill-related words
= 257 skill words in all.
26) Remaining Lasswell dictionary
categories not specific to one of the value domains.
Note: a few of the remaining
Lasswell categories (an example being "Aud" for Audience) have
been dropped because they had too few entries. The Lasswell
category "Food" was merged with the P category of the same name.
= Transaction gain, 129 general words of accomplishment
= Transaction loss, 113 general words of not accomplishing, but
having setbacks instead.
= 334 words of transaction or exchange in a broad sense, but not
necessarily of gain or loss.
= The Lasswell Means category, 78 general words referring to means
and utility or lack of same. Overlaps little with
= 270 words of desired or undesired ends or goals.
= 34 words for settings, other than power related arenas in
= A list of 68 actors not otherwise defined by the dictionary.
= A list of 169 nations, which needs updating.
= 30 words that usually show "a negation of value preference",
nihilism, disappointment and futility.
= 193 words of negative affect "denoting negative feelings and
= 126 words of positive affect "denoting positive feelings,
acceptance, appreciation and emotional support."
= 175 words indicating "a feeling of sureness, certainty and
= 132 words "denoting feelings of uncertainty, doubt and
= 25 words "that show the denial of one sort or another.
= "a general space-time category" with 428 words,
= 368 words referring to formats, standards, tools and conventions
of communication. almost entirely a subset of the 895 words in
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