ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Masonen, Virpi (Jyväskylä)

nyomtatható változat

Masonen, Virpi (Jyväskylä)


Determining what is a word

In this presentation, I will look at the notion of word with the eyes of a linguist, a native speaker and a language learner.
The notion of word is often thought to be something that even a layman can define. A native speaker of a certain language can tell, if a given combination of sounds or letters is a possible word or not. At the same time, a second language learner soon finds out, what kind of details one should know in connection to words of a given language.
From the linguistic point of view the notion of word is far from simple. It is impossible to find a watertight definition to the notion of word, and because of this, the approach is usually somewhat prototypical. Linguistic definitions also show that the definitions used by ordinary language speakers and learners usually somehow pass the linguistic definitions, and ordinary language speakers and learners deal with units which are already recognized to be words.