A hapax legomenon (Greek: “what is said once”) is a word that appears only a single time in a given context, be it a single document, the complete works of an author, or the written record of an entire language. You usually don’t go looking for hapax legomena. You usually find one by accident and don’t realize what it was until it’s gone and you can’t find it again–much like whatever force it is that moves me to write things on the internet.
I’ve had this blog thing installed on my website for about two years now and have barely done anything with it. I think I wrote a grand total of four posts, got swamped with spam, and effectively gave up. But that’s all gone now. It’s become clear that I can’t persist in writing anything if I don’t have a goal. Previously, I had none. There was no narrative, no structure to fill. Hopefully that’s changed now, so it felt better to start over. I’ve just learned that I’ve been accepted into the doctoral program at my university, studying computational linguistics, and I’ve officially begun work on my Master’s thesis in the same, which is, in theory, the beginning of my doctoral research: in other words, the next five years or more of my life. What I tell myself is that I’ll use this space to post periodic updates on whatever work I’m doing, because if there’s one thing I need to do more of, it’s write things that no one else will read. What will probably happen is a little bit of that along with random raving about current events, music, science, language, and whatever happens to flit through my cobweb-infested brain.
So perhaps these things, things that I’m frantically committing to bytes before they fly away forever and I realize they weren’t as witty and insightful and brilliant as they seemed when they first materialized at the crusty edges of my consciousness, aren’t things said just once, but things thought just once, that I’m trying to get to stick around. Hapax skepsikon, maybe? I don’t know. I don’t speak Greek. Stay tuned.