The Word and Its Ways in English: Essays on the Parts of Speech and Person

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Words are the foundation, the building blocks of language. While an obvious and irreplaceable concept in the minds of non-linguists, the entry "word" does not figure in the indexes of some books on linguistics. Why is there this neglect of the word among many contemporary linguists? Inspired by the work of the French linguist Gustave Guillaume and the last in a series of books, The Word and Its Ways in English is a study of the way the word is configured in English, and an attempt to discern its nature. Walter Hirtle presents the word as the smallest element of meaning in the brain. He also explores how thoughts in the mind of a speaker become a succession of spoken words that are translated back into meaning in the mind of a listener. He examines different categories of words and how grammatical components such as person, case, and gender contribute to a word's meaning and are intimately linked to the mind. A thought-provoking account of the workings of grammar and the semantic notions that underlie grammatical distinctions, The Word and Its Ways in English is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the link between language, meaning, and words.

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McGill-Queen's University Press
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