<i>Caide M&#225;thair Br&#233;ithre</i> &#8220;What is the Mother of a Word&#8221;

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This chapter explores some of the ways in which medieval Irish scholars thought about the linguistic concept of the word. Starting points are (i) the observation that they have been credited with the implementation of forms of word division in scribal practice and (ii) the question of whether they perceived of the word as a lexical unit or as a stress group, or mot phon&#233;tique, since it is the latter which is reflected in scribal practice as well as in the terminology for case-forms of nouns in at least one grammaticographical tradition. The main themes addressed are the internal structures of the longest octosyllabic words possible in Irish, the production of speech sounds in the body which result in words, and the semantic range of lexemes that are used inter alia to denote the linguistic unit word.


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