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LEXIGRAMS

What is a Lexigram

One definition of a Lexigram is "a phrase composed of words which contain only letters found within an original expression."  As a form of word-play, Lexigrams generally use a personal name as the source phrase, and words are found within it by re-arranging the letters of that name.  Those words are then organized to make a phrase which describes the person whose name is being lexigrammed.  While lexigrams can be constructed from expressions, or even dates, it is most common to create these descriptive phrases based on a personal name.  Many lexigram-phrases can be constructed from the same name, date, or phrase.

Associating the word 'lexigram' with this form of word-play was first done by Linda Goodman, in her book Star Signs.  Ms. Goodman described several criteria which she believed were necessary for uncovering the spiritual meaning of a person's name, based the "vibration" of the letters.  While word-play lexigrams can reveal hidden codes or messages within a person's name, the veracity of any spiritual value is subject to personal interpretation.  Linda Goodman did not invent the word Lexigram, she merely associated it with a particular form of word-play.

The term Lexigram has also been used scientifically for several decades by linguists.  In this context, the word means "a sign representing a word."  This image, icon, or glyph represents an object or a concept.  Iconic Lexigrams are used in behavioral  science, particularly where scientists are studying animal communication and intelligence.  For example, animals learn to associate the image of a red triangle with food.  When the animal indicates this symbol, the researcher provides it with a treat.  Gorillas (and their human researchers) have used this method of communication successfully since the 1970s.

The word "lexigram" comes to us from the Greek "lexikos," meaning "pertaining to words" and "gramma," meaning "letter, or writing."  Hence, it can mean "a letter (or symbol) describing words," and it can also mean "words describing another word."  A lexigram can be used in both the iconic and word-play contexts.


How Are Lexigrams Made?

Creating a lexigram is a two-part process.  The first step is identify words "hidden" in a name by re-arranging letters.  The second step is to combine those words into lexigram-phrase which describes that person.

Identifying Words
There are several methods of finding words within a name.  The simplest, and most literal, guidelines are that each word in the Lexigram phrase:
1. Must be composed of letters found within the original phrase.
2. Must not use those letters more frequently than they occur in the original phrase.

Not every letter in the name needs to be used.  Any word that can be made from letters in the original phrase can be used in the Lexigram phrase.

For example, consider lexigramming a simple word rather than a name.  Look a the word

NORTH

By taking individual letters and re-arranging them, other words can be created.  Do you see these words hidden within NORTH?

NOT    OR    THOR    HOT    TON    HORN

This is how words can be found within a single word.  (By the way, NORTH contains over 15 common English words - how many can you find?)

Of course, when examining a name or phrase longer than a handful of letters, there can be hundreds, to even thousands of words discovered.  One can use a personal dictionary, they provide a broad base of words found within a name from which to construct lexigram phrases - without being limited by your own vocabulary!  Most people have difficulty finding words of five-or-more letters. 

Combining Words
To construct an actual lexigram, words found within a name are combined into sentences.  This is where intuition and entertainment come into play!  

In our example above, consider making this sentence  from the list of words found within NORTH:

"NOT HOT"

This phrase is a lexigram because it describes the original word.  One could also make the sentence "THOR HORN NOT HOT."  That phrase, however, does not describe the original word, so it is not a proper lexigram.  Remember that he Lexigram phrase should, ideally, have a semantic relationship with the original name or phrase.



Examples of Lexigrams

Lexigrams can be based upon words or names.  Remember that it is expected that a single word will turn into an entire sentence, unlike Anagrams which are limited in length by the number of letters in the original phrase.

EXAMPLE, BASED ON A WORD
DIPLOMACY contains MY CALM POLICY PAID OIL
(as well as over 80 other words.)

EXAMPLE, BASED UPON A NAME
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE contains more than 800 words.
Several descriptive lexigrams can be made from this name.
(Lexigrams are capitalized)

"GO, ANGELIC HEROINE, HEAL IN THE FIGHTING."
"LET NO TRAGIC ROT GREET ANCIENT IGNORANCE!"
"I CLOTHE AN ACHING FIGHTER IN CLEAN LINEN!"
"IF THOR CAN REIGN, THEN GO FORTH, HEALER!"
(Nightingale led a nursing squad during the Crimean War
and pioneered sanitation in military field-hospitals.)

"GET FINANCING, THEN ORIGINATE A COLLEGE OF HEALING."
(Nightingale obtained a grant to start the first nursing college.)

"FINAL FAINT IN NINETEEN-TEN"
(Nightingale died in 1910.)

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