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) "marker" categories 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 formats.

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 SPSS).

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)

Positiv 1,915 words of positive outlook. (It does not contain words for yes, which has been made a separate category of 20 entries.)

Negativ 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

Pstv 1045 positive words, an earlier version of Positiv.

A subset of 557 words are also tagged Affil for words indicating affiliation or supportiveness.

Ngtv 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 aggressiveness.

Strong 1902words implying strength.

A subset of 689 words are tagged Power, indicating a concern with power, control or authority.

Weak 755 words implying weakness.

A subset of 284 words are also tagged Submit, connoting submission to authority or power, dependence on others, vulnerability to others, or withdrawal.

Active 2045 words implying an active orientation.

Passive 911 words indicating a passive orientation


3) Words of pleasure, pain, virtue and vice.

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.

Pain 254 words indicating suffering, lack of confidence, or commitment.

Feel 49 words describing particular feelings, including gratitude, apathy, and optimism, not those of pain or pleasure.

Arousal 166 words indicating excitation, aside from pleasures or pains, but including arousal of affiliation and hostility.

EMOT 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 expressiveness:

Ovrst "Overstated", 696 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.

Undrst "Understated", 319 words indicating de-emphasis and caution in these realms.


5) Words reflecting the language of a particular "institution"

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 officer

Academ 153 words relating to academic, intellectual or educational matters, including the names of major fields of study.

Doctrin 217 words referring to organized systems of belief or knowledge, including those of applied knowledge, mystical beliefs, and arts that academics study.

Econ@ 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 business.

Exch 60 words concerned with buying, selling and trading.

There is also a related ECON category with 502 words (269 in common with Econ@) that is used by the General Inquirer in disambiguating.

Exprsv 205 words associated with the arts, sports, and self-expression.

Note: Separate Sports (186 words) and Arts (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 military matters.

Polit@ 263 words having a clear political character, including political roles, collectivities, acts, ideas, ideologies, and symbols.

Caution: There is also a POLIT broader category of 507 words that is used in disambiguation.

Relig103 words pertaining to religious, metaphysical, supernatural or relevant philosophical matters.


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 disambiguation.

Work261 words for socially defined ways for doing work.

Ritual 134 words for non-work social rituals.

SocRel 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 characteristics.

Kin@50 terms denoting kinship.

MALE56 words referring to men and social roles associated with men. (Also used as a marker in disambiguation)

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 collectivities.


8) References to places, locations and routes between them.

Place category with 318 words subdivided into Social(111 words for created locations that typically provide for social interaction and occupy limited space), Region(61 words),Route, (23 words), Aquatic(20 words), 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 objects.

Object category with 661 words subdivided into Tool, (318 words), Food(80 words),Vehicle(39 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 communicating

ComForm895 words relating to the form, format or media of the communication transaction.

Note: there is also a category COM of 412 communications words used in disambiguation.

Say4 words for say and tell.


11) Motivation-related words:

Need 76 words related to the expression of need or intent.

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 MeansLw.

Persist 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 Finish.

Fail137 words indicating that goals have not been achieved.


12) Other process or change words:

NatrPro 217 words for processes found in nature, birth to death.

Change process categories Begin(56 words), Vary(98 words indicating change without connotation of increase, decrease, beginning or ending), Increas(increase, 111 words)), Decreas(decrease, 82 words) and Finish(87 words).

Movement categories, including Stay(125 words), Rise(25 words),Exert(194 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 words).


13) Cognitive orientation (knowing, assessment, and problem solving)

Think 81 words referring to the presence or absence of rational thought processes.

Know 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.

Causal 112 words denoting presumption that occurrence of one phenomenon is necessarily preceded, accompanied or followed by the occurrence of another.

Ought 26 words indicating moral imperative.

Perceiv192 words referring to the perceptual process of recognizing or identifying something by means of the senses.

Compare 21 words of comparison.

Eval@ 205 words which imply judgment and evaluation, whether positive or negative, including means-ends judgments.

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 ABS 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.

Quan 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)

DIST`19 words referring to distance and its measures. (Used in disambiguation)

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 disambiguation POS (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.

COLOR 21 words of color, used in disambiguation.


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.

Name only contains 86 names identified in the Harvard IV dictionary. More names are recognized by the Lasswell dictionary, as in the category Nation.


15) "Yes", "No", negation and interjections.

Yes is 20 words directly indicating agreement, including word senses "of course", "to say the least", "all right".

No 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 interviews.

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.

Intrj 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 cognition:

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.

IAV 1947 verbs giving an interpretative explanation of an action, such as "encourage, mislead, flatter".

DAV 540 straight descriptive verbs of an action or feature of an action, such as "run, walk, write, read".

SV 102 state verbs describing mental or emotional states. usually detached from specific observable events, such as "love, trust, abhor".

17 Adjective types.

IPadj 117 adjectives referring to relations between people, such as "unkind, aloof, supportive".

IndAdj 637 adjectives describing people apart from their relations to one another, such as "thrifty, restless"


Lasswell value dictionary categories.

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 spreadsheet conversion.

18) Power: A valuing of having the influence to affect the policies of others.

PowGain = Power Gain, 65 words about power increasing

PowLoss = Power Loss, 109 words of power decreasing.

PowEnds = Power Ends, 30 words about the goals of the power process.

PowAren = Power Arenas, 53 words referring to political places and environments except nation-states.

PowCon= Power conflict, 228 words for ways of conflicting.

PowCoop = Power cooperation, 118 words for ways of cooperating

PowAuPt = Power authoritative participants, 134 words for individual and collective actors in power process

PowPt = Power ordinary participants, 81 words for non-authoritative actors (such as followers) in the power process.

PowDoct = Power doctrine, 42 words for recognized ideas about power relations and practices.

PowAuth = Authoritative power, 79 words concerned with a tools or forms of invoking formal power.

PowOth = Residual category of 332 power words not in other subcategories

PowTot = 1,266 words for the whole domain


19) Rectitude is concerned with moral values and has fewer subcategories:

RcEthic = Ethics, 151 words of values concerning the social order.

RcRelig = Religion, 83 words that invoke transcendental, mystical or supernatural grounds for rectitude.

RcGain = Rectitude gain, 30 words such as worship and forgiveness.

RcLoss = Rectitude loss, 12 words such as sin and denounce.

RcEnds = Rectitude ends, 33 words including heaven and the high-frequency word "ought".

RcTot = Rectitude total, 310 words for the whole domain.


20) Respect is the valuing of status, honor, recognition and prestige.

RspGain = 26 words for the garnering of respect, such as congratulations

RspLoss = 38 words for the losing of respect, such as shame.

RspOth = 182 words regarding respect that are neither gain nor loss

RspTot = 245 words in the domain.


21) Affection is the valuing of love and friendship.

AffGain = 35 words for reaping affect.

AffLoss = 11 words for affect loss and indifference

AffPt = Affect participant, 55 words for friends and family.

AffOth = 96 affect words not in other categories

AffTot = 196 words in the affect domain


22) Wealth is the valuing of having it.

WltPt = Wealth participant, 52 words for various roles in business and commerce.

WltTran = Wealth transaction, 53 words for pursuit of wealth, such as buying and selling.

WltOth = 271 wealth-related words not in the above, including economic domains and commodities.

WltTot = 378 words in wealth domain.


23) Well-being refers, according to Lasswell, to the "health and safety of the organism".

WlbGain = 37 various words related to a gain in well being.

WlbLoss = 60 words related to a loss in a state of well being, including being upset.

WlbPhys = 226 words connoting the physical aspects of well being, including its absence.

WlbPsyc = 139 words connoting the psychological aspects of well being, including its absence.

WlbPt = 27 roles that evoke a concern for well-being, including infants, doctors, and vacationers.

WlbTot = 487 words in well-being domain.


24) Enlightenment refers, according to Lasswell, to "knowledge, insight, and information concerning personal and cultural relations".

EnlGain = Enlightenment gain, 146 words likely to reflect a gain in enlightenment through thought, education, etc.

EnlLoss = Enlightenment loss, 27 words reflecting misunderstanding, being misguided, or oversimplified.

EnlEnds = Enlightenment ends, 18 words "denoting pursuit of intrinsic enlightenment ideas."

EnlPt = Enlightenment participant, 61 words referring to roles in the secular enlightenment sphere.

EnlOth = 585 other enlightenment words

EnlTot = total of about 835 words


25) Skill categories reflect the valuing of skills. especially those of the arts in the aesthetics subcategory

SklAsth = Skill aesthetic, 35 words mostly of the arts

SklPt = Skill participant, 64 words mainly about trades and professions.

SklOth = 158 other skill-related words

SklTot = 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.

TrnGain = Transaction gain, 129 general words of accomplishment

TrnLoss = Transaction loss, 113 general words of not accomplishing, but having setbacks instead.

TranLw = 334 words of transaction or exchange in a broad sense, but not necessarily of gain or loss.

MeansLw = The Lasswell Means category, 78 general words referring to means and utility or lack of same. Overlaps little with Means category.

EndsLw = 270 words of desired or undesired ends or goals.

ArenaLw = 34 words for settings, other than power related arenas in PowAren.

PtLw = A list of 68 actors not otherwise defined by the dictionary.

Nation = A list of 169 nations, which needs updating.

Anomie = 30 words that usually show "a negation of value preference", nihilism, disappointment and futility.

NegAff = 193 words of negative affect "denoting negative feelings and emotional rejection.

PosAff = 126 words of positive affect "denoting positive feelings, acceptance, appreciation and emotional support."

SureLw = 175 words indicating "a feeling of sureness, certainty and firmness."

If = 132 words "denoting feelings of uncertainty, doubt and vagueness."

NotLw = 25 words "that show the denial of one sort or another. "

TimeSpc = "a general space-time category" with 428 words,

FormLw = 368 words referring to formats, standards, tools and conventions of communication. almost entirely a subset of the 895 words in ConForm category

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