To be or not to be a Word: New Reflections on the Definition of Word

This book discusses the nature and definition of what a word is in Linguistics. This is not an easy task since the term subsumes a wide range of phenomena explored from an even wider array of perspectives. Although words are the most accessible linguistic units from the speaker’s introspection viewpoint, they are, at the same time, an incredibly elusive reality for the linguist. Issues such as their definition, theoretical status, limits, characteristics, and psycholinguistic reality are still controversial and open for debate.

This book offers an up-to-date overview of the latest discussions on the nature of word in Modern Linguistics. It gathers together under a single collective volume different views of what a word is from a wide range of diverse methodological and theoretical linguistic frameworks, such as phonological theory, linguistic typology, lexical generative morphology, generative syntax, cognitive grammar, and construction grammar. Despite their different backgrounds, all these papers are geared towards the same goal: to offer a detailed account of what a word is in their respective fields.

All in all, this collection of papers offers different perspectives that will contribute to provide some answers to the myriad of questions that a simple phrase such as to be or not to be a Word brings to the fore.


Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Zaragoza. Her work focuses on language and cognition, semantic typology, sound symbolism, and Basque. Her most recent publications include the books Cognitive Linguistics and Translation (with A. Rojo); Lingüística Cognitiva (with J. Valenzuela); Language, Mind, and the Lexicon (with C. Inchaurralde and J.M. Sánchez-García); and Sound symbolism and motion in Basque.

José-Luis Mendívil-Giró is Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Zaragoza. His research has focused on the theory of grammar and the nature and extent of linguistic change and diversity. He is the author of Origen, evolución y diversidad de las lenguas. Una aproximación biolingüística, and co-author (with Juan-Carlos Moreno Cabrera) of On Biology, History and Culture in Human Language. He has also edited (with C. Boeckx and M.C. Horno-Chéliz) Language, from a Biological Point of View.

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Gorka Elordieta

Antonio Fábregas

Francisco Gozálvez-García

Ricardo Maldonado

Boris Fridman Mintz

Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-4438-6207-X

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-6207-3

Release Date: 9th September 2014

Pages: 260

Price: £47.99

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