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Re: Word boundaries

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Friday, August 25, 2000, 16:57
On Fri, 25 Aug 2000, H. S. Teoh wrote:

> I'm just been thinking... how "real" or how artificial are word > boundaries? Especially for languages that don't have word boundaries in > their (original) writing systems. Why must we treat every language > (nat/conlang) as if they have units called "words"?
There are several answers to the question, "What is a word?"; for professional reasons (I'm a phonologist), I usually use prosodic or phonological criteria for defining words. Accordingly, a word may be defined as the domain of primary stress placement or of sandhi processes. A syntactician will define words differently and may talk about units which are manipulated in phrase and sentence construction. This will overlap with a prosodic definition, but it won't be coextensive with it. You also have native speakers' intuitions about words, which should not be ignored. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga