[Lingtyp] wordhood: responses to Haspelmath

Tianqiao Lu lutianqiao at maonan.org
Sun Nov 12 09:43:16 UTC 2017

Dear all,

Here is some material for your reference.

According to Packard (2004), there is no concept of word that is universally applicable. The criteria are culture-dependent. They are are definable only when using several disparate linguistic criteria. There are a variety of portrayals of words, including orthographic word, sociological word, lexical word, semantic word, phonological word, morphological word, syntactic word, psycholinguistic word. He gives detailed descriptions of these concepts. He is right to say that "In Chinese language and culture, the clear and intuitive notion– the sociological word – is the zì 字 (lit. chracter, as in 他一个字都不说 – "He would not utter a word"), or sometimes the syntactic word – cí词 (which is closer to the English "word", as in 这是一个新词 – "This is a new word".

Packard J. L. (2004). The Morphology of Chinese: A Linguistic and Cognitive Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Tianqiao Lu
Jiansu Normal University
------------------ Original ------------------
From:  "Adam J Tallman"<ajrtallman at utexas.edu>;
Date:  Fri, Nov 10, 2017 01:11 PM
To:  "LINGTYP"<LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org>; 

Subject:  [Lingtyp] wordhood: responses to Haspelmath

I am writing a paper about wordhood - has anyone responded to Haspelmath's 2011 Folia Linguistica paper on the topic?

I have only found two sources that mention the paper and seem to put forward an argument against its conclusions, but its mostly in en passant fashion.

On is Blevins (2016) Word and Paradigm Morphology and another is Geertzen, Jeroen, James P. Blevins & Petar Milin. ‘Informativeness of unit boundaries’ [pdf]. Italian Journal of Linguistics 28(2), 1–24.

Any correspondence in this regard would be greatly appreciated,


Adam J.R. TallmanInvestigador del Museo de Etnografía y Folklore, la Paz
PhD candidate, University of Texas at Austin
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