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Encyclopedia > Word

A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. Typically a word will consist of a root or stem and zero or more affixes. Words can be combined to create phrases, clauses, and sentences. A word consisting of two or more stems joined together is called a compound. // Look up word in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, meaning is the content carried by the words or signs exchanged by people when communicating through language. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... Phonetic (pho-NET-ic) is a nationwide voicemail-to-text messaging service available for most digital mobile phones in which a subscriber is provided a custom voice mailbox for the purpose of receiving all incoming voice messages as actual transcribed text for reading via short messaging (also known as SMS... The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. ... This article is in need of attention. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up phrase in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In grammar, a clause is a word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate, although in some languages and some types of clauses, the subject may not appear explicitly. ... In linguistics, a sentence is a unit of language, characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb. ... In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme (a word) that consists of more than one other lexeme. ...

Latin written without any word breaks in the Codex Claromontanus
Latin written without any word breaks in the Codex Claromontanus

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Image File history File links Download high resolution version (608x768, 103 KB) A portion of the Greek text of the bilingual Codex Claromontanus, from the National Library, Paris. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (608x768, 103 KB) A portion of the Greek text of the bilingual Codex Claromontanus, from the National Library, Paris. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Codex Claromontanus is a 6th-century manuscript in an uncial hand on vellum of the Epistles of Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews in Greek and Latin on facing pages (thus a diglot manuscript, like Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis). ...

Difficulty in defining the term

Depending on the language, words can sometimes be difficult to identify or delimit. While word separators, most often spaces, are commonplace in the written corpus of several languages, some languages such as Chinese and Japanese do not use these. Words may contain spaces, however, if they are compounds or proper nouns such as ice cream and the United States of America. Furthermore, synthetic languages often combine many different pieces of lexical data into single words, making it difficult to boil them down to the traditional sense of words found more easily in analytic languages; this is especially problematic for polysynthetic languages such as Inuktitut and Ubykh where entire sentences may consist of single such words. Especially confusing are languages such as Vietnamese, where spaces do not necessarily indicate breaks in words and boundaries must be determined by the context of the piece. A space is a punctuation convention for providing interword separation in some scripts, including the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Arabic. ... In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme (a word) that consists of more than one other lexeme. ... A proper noun is a noun that picks out a unique entity. ... A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio. ... An analytic language is any language where syntax and meaning are shaped more by use of particles and word order than by inflection. ... Polysynthetic languages are highly synthetic languages, i. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


However, of all situations, the most confusing is those for oral languages, which potentially only offer phonolexical clues as to where word boundaries lie. Sign languages pose a similar problem as well, as does body language. Spoken language is a language that people utter words of the language. ... Two sign language Intepreters working as a team for a school. ... For other uses, see Body language (disambiguation). ...


Official words, however, would be documented in a dictionary of whichever language you are categorizing them under.


Words in different classes of languages

In synthetic languages, a single word stem (for example, love) may have a number of different forms (for example, loves, loving, and loved). However, these are not usually considered to be different words, but different forms of the same word. In these languages, words may be considered to be constructed from a number of morphemes (such as love and -s). A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio. ... In-Silico Modeling and Conformational Mobility of String Pointer Reduction System (SPRS) Based on DNA Computers ...


Complexity of word boundaries in speech

In spoken language, the distinction of individual words is even more complex: short words are often run together, and long words are often broken up. Spoken French has some of the features of a polysynthetic language: il y est allé ("He went there") is pronounced /i.ljɛ.ta.le/. As the majority of the world's languages are not written, the scientific determination of word boundaries becomes important. Spoken language is a language that people utter words of the language. ... Polysynthetic languages are highly synthetic languages, i. ...


Determining word boundaries

There are five ways to determine where the word boundaries of spoken language should be placed:

Potential pause
A speaker is told to repeat a given sentence slowly, allowing for pauses. The speaker will tend to insert pauses at the word boundaries. However, this method is not foolproof: the speaker could easily break up polysyllabic words.
Indivisibility
A speaker is told to say a sentence out loud, and then is told to say the sentence again with extra words added to it. Thus, I have lived in this village for ten years might become I and my family have lived in this little village for about ten or so years. These extra words will tend to be added in the word boundaries of the original sentence. However, some languages have infixes, which are put inside a word. Similarly, some have separable affixes; in the German sentence "Ich komme gut zu Hause an," the verb ankommen is separated.
Minimal free forms
This concept was proposed by Leonard Bloomfield. Words are thought of as the smallest meaningful unit of speech that can stand by themselves. This correlates phonemes (units of sound) to lexemes (units of meaning). However, some written words are not minimal free forms, as they make no sense by themselves (for example, the and of).
Phonetic boundaries
Some languages have particular rules of pronunciation that make it easy to spot where a word boundary should be. For example, in a language that regularly stresses the last syllable of a word, a word boundary is likely to fall after each stressed syllable. Another example can be seen in a language that has vowel harmony (like Turkish): the vowels within a given word share the same quality, so a word boundary is likely to occur whenever the vowel quality changes. However, not all languages have such convenient phonetic rules, and even those that do present the occasional exceptions.
Semantic units
Much like the abovementioned minimal free forms, this method breaks down a sentence into its smallest semantic units. However, language often contains words that have little semantic value (and often play a more grammatical role), or semantic units that are compound words.

In practice, linguists apply a mixture of all these methods to determine the word boundaries of any given sentence. Even with the careful application of these methods, the exact definition of a word is often still very elusive. In linguistics, a sentence is a unit of language, characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb. ... An infix is an affix inserted inside an existing word. ... A separable affix is an affix that can be detached from the word it attaches to and located elsewhere in the sentence in a certain situation. ... Leonard Bloomfield (April 1, 1887 - April 18, 1949) was an American linguist, whose influence dominated the development of structural linguistics in America between the 1930s and the 1950s. ... Definition A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of words that are the same in basic meaning. ... Look up pronunciation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, stress is the emphasis given to some syllables (often no more than one in each word, but in many languages, long words have a secondary stress a few syllables away from the primary stress, as in the words cóunterfòil or còunterintélligence. ... Vowel harmony (also metaphony) is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...


All in all, a word is a very powerful concept that permits us to communicate with others and interact with the rest of the world.


External links

  • What Is a Word? (PDF)

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