Information and communications technology
Information and communications technology is an extensional term for information technology that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications and computers, as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware and audiovisual systems, that enable users to access, store and manipulate information. The term ICT is used to refer to the convergence of audiovisual and telephone networks with computer networks through a single cabling or link system. There are large economic incentives to merge the telephone network with the computer network system using a single unified system of cabling, signal distribution, management. ICT is a broad subject and the concepts are evolving, it covers any product that will store, manipulate, transmit, or receive information electronically in a digital form. For clarity, Zuppo provided an ICT hierarchy where all levels of the hierarchy "contain some degree of commonality in that they are related to technologies that facilitate the transfer of information and various types of electronically mediated communications".
Theoretical differences between interpersonal-communication technologies and mass-communication technologies have been identified by the philosopher Piyush Mathur. Skills Framework for the Information Age is one of many models for describing and managing competencies for ICT professionals for the 21st century; the phrase "information and communication technologies" has been used by academic researchers since the 1980s. The abbreviation "ICT" became popular after it was used in a report to the UK government by Dennis Stevenson in 1997, in the revised National Curriculum for England and Northern Ireland in 2000. However, in 2012, the Royal Society recommended that the use of the term "ICT" should be discontinued in British schools "as it has attracted too many negative connotations". From 2014 the National Curriculum has used the word computing, which reflects the addition of computer programming into the curriculum. Variations of the phrase have spread worldwide; the United Nations has created a "United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force" and an internal "Office of Information and Communications Technology".
The money spent on IT worldwide has been estimated as US$3.8 trillion in 2017 and has been growing at less than 5% per year since 2009. The estimate 2018 growth of the entire ICT in is 5%; the biggest growth of 16% is expected in the area of new technologies. The 2014 IT budget of US federal government was nearly $82 billion. IT costs, as a percentage of corporate revenue, have grown 50% since 2002, putting a strain on IT budgets; when looking at current companies' IT budgets, 75% are recurrent costs, used to "keep the lights on" in the IT department, 25% are cost of new initiatives for technology development. The average IT budget has the following breakdown: 31% personnel costs 29% software costs 26% hardware costs 14% costs of external service providers; the estimate of money to be spent in 2022 is just over US$6 trillion. The world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 exabytes in 1986 to 15.8 in 1993, over 54.5 in 2000, to 295 exabytes in 2007, some 5 zettabytes in 2014.
This is the informational equivalent to 1.25 stacks of CD-ROM from the earth to the moon in 2007, the equivalent of 4,500 stacks of printed books from the earth to the sun in 2014. The world's technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 432 exabytes of information in 1986, 715 exabytes in 1993, 1.2 zettabytes in 2000, 1.9 zettabytes in 2007. The world's effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes of information in 1986, 471 petabytes in 1993, 2.2 exabytes in 2000, 65 exabytes in 2007, some 100 exabytes in 2014. The world's technological capacity to compute information with humanly guided general-purpose computers grew from 3.0 × 10^8 MIPS in 1986, to 6.4 x 10^12 MIPS in 2007. The following is a list of OECD countries by share of ICT sector in total value added in 2013; the ICT Development Index ranks and compares the level of ICT use and access across the various countries around the world. In 2014 ITU released the latest rankings of the IDI, with Denmark attaining the top spot, followed by South Korea.
The top 30 countries in the rankings include most high-income countries where quality of life is higher than average, which includes countries from Europe and other regions such as "Australia, Canada, Macao, New Zealand and the United States. In developing countries, ICT development is constrained by limited capabilities and the objectives of ICT projects are not met. On 21 December 2001, the United Nations General Assembly approved Resolution 56/183, endorsing the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing today's information society. According to this resolution, the General Assembly related the Summit to the United Nations Millennium Declaration's goal of implementing ICT to achieve Millennium Development Goals, it emphasized a multi-stakeholder approach to achieve these goals, using all stakeholders i
Howard Wainer is an American statistician, past principal research scientist at the Educational Testing Service, adjunct professor of statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, author, known for his contributions in the fields of statistics and statistical graphics. Howard Wainer was born Howard Charles Goldhaber in Brooklyn, New York on October 26, 1943. In 1948 his father Meyer Goldhaber, an anatomist by education and a dentist by profession, died of complications from a bleeding ulcer at the age of 35. Howard, his brother and his mother moved in with his mother's parents. After two years his mother married Sam Wainer, a local businessman, the family relocated to Long Island. Howard took the surname Wainer. Early on Wainer showed an aptitude for mathematics. In 1960, at the end of his junior year in high school, he was accepted into a National Science Foundation honors program at Columbia University, he spent two hours traveling on subway and bus each way to and from Columbia, learning about Markov chains and number theory in the morning and working on the IBM 650 computer in the afternoon.
Wainer's experiences at Columbia motivated him to continue his studies along similar lines. He matriculated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1961 to study mathematics, it was at R. P. I. that Wainer first encountered psychometrics. There, Professor George Boguslavsky was so impressed with his abilities and enthusiasm that he recommended Wainer for a Psychometric Fellowship at Princeton University under Harold Gulliksen. Wainer received his B. S. from R. P. I. in mathematics in 1965 and a Ph. D. from Princeton in psychometrics in 1968. Howard Wainer began his teaching career at Temple University in 1968, staying on as an assistant professor until 1970. After Temple he taught at the University of Chicago, as a member of the Committee on Methodology in the department of Behavioral Sciences until 1977. Wainer moved to Washington DC to join the Bureau of Social Science Research, a nonprofit organization that focused on policy research. During his time in DC Wainer joined with Richard Roistacher and Barbara Noble in founding Multiple Technical Services, a small firm that provided statistical and computational advice to the DC research community.
In 1980 he moved to Princeton NJ to become a principal research scientist at the Educational Testing Service, a position he held for 21 years. In 2001 he assumed the position of Distinguished Research Scientist at the National Board of Medical Examiners, from which he retired on December 2, 2016. Wainer was an adjunct professor of statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from 2002 until 2013. Howard Wainer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors: He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Educational Research Association, he was given a Career Achievement Award for Contributions to Educational Measurement by the National Council on Measurement in Education in 2007, the Samuel J. Messick Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions from Division 5 of the American Psychological Association in 2009, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Psychometric Society in 2013, he received the ACT/AERA E. F. Lindquist Award for Outstanding Research in Testing & Measurement in 2015.
His work on testlets was recognized when he received the Award for Scientific Contribution to a Field of Educational Measurement from the National Council on Measurement in Education in 2006. His book Graphic Discovery was named by Choice as the “Best Math book of 2005”, he was a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the University of Twente, The Netherlands, the American College Testing organization. He received the Educational Testing Service’s Senior Scientist Award in 1990. Howard Wainer lives with his wife, Linda Steinberg, in Pennington, New Jersey. Since 1974 when he published his first article on statistical graphics, an empirical verification of the efficacy of the suspended Rootogram, Howard Wainer has been a tireless advocate for the efficacy of graphics for communicating quantitative phenomena, he is one of the principals responsible for the renewed importance of graphics in statistics. In addition to the three books he authored on graphical methods: Picturing the Uncertain World, Graphic Discovery and Visual Revelations he was responsible for the English translation of two of the masterworks in the field by the French semiologist Jacques Bertin.
Wainer’s approach to the study of graphics has always shown a deep respect for the work of those who had preceded him. In 2007 he arranged for the publication of replica volumes of William Playfair's Atlas as well as his Statistical Breviary, the first books on the subject. In them he collaborated with Ian Spence on an extended introduction to Playfair and a biography of him. Wainer has done extensive work on problems in psychometrics, he has authored, co-authored or edited the principal texts in five of the major areas of the subject: test scoring, test validity, computerized adaptive testing, test fairness, most on a theory of testlets. Wainer has published more than 450 articles and books, his latest book Truth or Truthiness explains how to use evidence to debunk baseless claims. Since 1990 Wainer has written the popular column “Visual Revelations” for Chance magazine. Wainer edited the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics from 2002 through 2004 as well as being an associate editor of a handful of statistical and psychometric journals.
He is on the Board of Editors of Significance, the new joint publication of the American Statistical Association and the Royal Statistical Society. He has served on the front lines of educatio
Structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings and machines and natural objects such as biological organisms and chemicals. Abstract structures include data structures in musical form. Types of structure include a hierarchy, a network featuring many-to-many links, or a lattice featuring connections between components that are neighbors in space. Buildings, skeletons, beaver dams and salt domes are all examples of load-bearing structures; the results of construction are divided into buildings and non-building structures, make up the infrastructure of a human society. Built structures are broadly divided by their varying design approaches and standards, into categories including building structures, architectural structures, civil engineering structures and mechanical structures; the effects of loads on physical structures are determined through structural analysis, one of the tasks of structural engineering.
The structural elements can be classified as two-dimensional, or three-dimensional. The latter was the main option available to early structures such as Chichen Itza. A one-dimensional element has one dimension much larger than the other two, so the other dimensions can be neglected in calculations. Two-dimensional elements with a thin third dimension have little of either but can resist biaxial traction; the structure elements are combined in structural systems. The majority of everyday load-bearing structures are section-active structures like frames, which are composed of one-dimensional structures. Other types are Vector-active structures such as trusses, surface-active structures such as shells and folded plates, form-active structures such as cable or membrane structures, hybrid structures. Load-bearing biological structures such as bones, teeth and tendons derive their strength from a multilevel hierarchy of structures employing biominerals and proteins, at the bottom of which are collagen fibrils.
In biology, structures exist at all levels of organization, ranging hierarchically from the atomic and molecular to the cellular, organ, organismic and ecosystem level. A higher-level structure is composed of multiple copies of a lower-level structure. Structural biology is concerned with the biomolecular structure of macromolecules proteins and nucleic acids; the function of these molecules is determined by their shape as well as their composition, their structure has multiple levels. Protein structure has a four-level hierarchy; the primary structure is the sequence of amino acids. It has a peptide backbone made up of a repeated sequence of two carbon atoms; the secondary structure consists of repeated patterns determined by hydrogen bonding. The two basic types are the β-pleated sheet; the tertiary structure is a back and forth bending of the polypeptide chain, the quaternary structure is the way that tertiary units come together and interact. Chemical structure refers to electronic structure.
The structure can be represented by a variety of diagrams called structural formulas. Lewis structures use a dot notation to represent the valence electrons for an atom. Bonds between atoms can be represented by lines with one line for each pair of electrons, shared. In a simplified version of such a diagram, called a skeletal formula, only carbon-carbon bonds and functional groups are shown. Atoms in a crystal have a structure; the atoms can be modeled as points on a lattice, one can explore the effect of symmetry operations that include rotations about a point, reflections about a symmetry planes, translations. Each crystal has a finite group, called the space group, of such operations. By Neumann's law, the symmetry of a crystal determines what physical properties, including piezoelectricity and ferromagnetism, the crystal can have. A large part of numerical analysis involves identifying and interpreting the structure of musical works. Structure can be found at the level of part of the entire work, or a group of works.
Elements of music such as pitch and timbre combine into small elements like motifs and phrases, these in turn combine in larger structures. Not all music has a hierarchical organization, but hierarchy makes it easier for a listener to understand and remember the music. In analogy to linguistic terminology and phrases can be combined to make complete musical ideas such as sentences and phrases. A larger form is known as the period. One such form, used between 1600 and 1900 has two phrases, an antecedent and a consequent, with a half cadence in the middle and a full cadence at the end providing punctuation. On a larger scale are single-movement forms such as the sonata form and the contrapuntal form, multi-movement forms such as the symphony. A social structure is a pattern of relationships, they are social organizations of individuals in various life situations. Structures are applicable to people in how a society is as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships. This
Numeracy is the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts. Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental arithmetics like addition, subtraction and division. For example, if one can understand simple mathematical equations such as, 2 + 2 = 4 one would be considered possessing at least basic numeric knowledge. Substantial aspects of numeracy include number sense, operation sense, measurement, geometry and statistics. A numerically literate person can respond to the mathematical demands of life. By contrast, innumeracy can have a negative impact. Numeracy has an influence on career decisions, risk perception towards health decisions. For example, innumeracy distorts risk perception towards health decisions and may negatively affect economic choices. "Greater numeracy has been associated with reduced susceptibility to framing effects, less influence of nonnumerical information such as mood states, greater sensitivity to different levels of numerical risk". Humans have evolved to mentally represent numbers in two major ways from observation.
These representations are thought to be innate, to be shared across human cultures, to be common to multiple species, not to be the result of individual learning or cultural transmission. They are: Approximate representation of numerical magnitude, Precise representation of the quantity of individual items. Approximate representations of numerical magnitude imply that one can estimate and comprehend an amount if the number is large. For example, one experiment showed adults arrays of many dots. After observing them, both groups could estimate the approximate number of dots. However, distinguishing differences between large numbers of dots proved to be more challenging. Precise representations of distinct individuals demonstrate that people are more accurate in estimating amounts and distinguishing differences when the numbers are small. For example, in one experiment, an experimenter presented an infant with two piles of crackers, one with two crackers the other with three; the experimenter covered each pile with a cup.
When allowed to choose a cup, the infant always chose the cup with more crackers because the infant could distinguish the difference. Both systems—approximate representation of magnitude and precise representation quantity of individual items—have limited power. For example, neither allows representations of negative numbers. More complex representations require education. However, achievement in school mathematics correlates with an individual's unlearned approximate number sense. Fundamental numeracy skills include understanding of the real number line, time and estimation. Fundamental skills include computational skills. More sophisticated numeracy skills include understanding of ratio concepts, knowing when and how to perform multistep operations. Two categories of skills are included at the higher levels: the analytical skills and the statistical skills. A variety of tests have been developed for assessing health numeracy; the first couple of years of childhood are considered to be a vital part of life for the development of numeracy and literacy.
There are many components that play key roles in the development of numeracy at a young age, such as Socioeconomic Status, Home Learning Environment, age. Children who are brought up in families with high SES tend to be more engaged in developmentally enhancing activities; these children are more to develop the necessary abilities to learn and to become more motivated to learn. More a mother's education level is considered to have an effect on the child's ability to achieve in numeracy; that is, mothers with a high level of education will tend to have children who succeed more in numeracy. A number of studies have, proved that the education level of mother is correlated with the average age of getting married. To be more precise, females who entered the marriage tend to have greater autonomy, chances for skills premium and level of education. Hence, they were more to share this experience with children. Parents are suggested to collaborate with their child in simple learning exercises, such as reading a book, painting and playing with numbers.
On a more expressive note, the act of using complex language, being more responsive towards the child, establishing warm interactions are recommended to parents with the confirmation of positive numeracy outcomes. When discussing beneficial parenting behaviors, a feedback loop is formed because pleased parents are more willing to interact with their child, which in essence promotes better development in the child. Along with parenting and SES, a strong home-learning environment increases the likelihood of the child being prepared for comprehending complex mathematical schooling. For example, if a child is influenced by many learning activities in the household, such as puzzles, coloring books, mazes, or books with picture riddles they will be more prepared to face school activities. Age is accounted for. Children under
A symbol is a mark, sign or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise different concepts and experiences. All communication is achieved through the use of symbols. Symbols take the form of words, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a blue line might represent a river. Numerals are symbols for numbers. Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. A red rose may symbolize compassion; the variable'x', in a mathematical equation, may symbolize the position of a particle in space. In cartography, an organized collection of symbols forms a legend for a map; the word symbol derives from the Greek σύμβολον symbolon, meaning "token, watchword" from σύν syn "together" and βάλλω bállō " "I throw, put."
The sense evolution in Greek is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." Hence, "outward sign" of something. The meaning "something which stands for something else" was first recorded in 1590, in Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene. Symbols are a means of complex communication that can have multiple levels of meaning. Symbols are the basis of all human understanding and serve as vehicles of conception for all human knowledge. Symbols facilitate understanding of the world in which we live, thus serving as the grounds upon which we make judgments. In this way, people use symbols not only to make sense of the world around them, but to identify and cooperate in society through constitutive rhetoric. Human cultures use symbols to express specific ideologies and social structures and to represent aspects of their specific culture. Thus, symbols carry meanings. In considering the effect of a symbol on the psyche, in his seminal essay The Symbol without Meaning Joseph Campbell proposes the following definition: A symbol is an energy evoking, directing, agent.
Expanding on what he means by this definition Campbell says: a symbol, like everything else, shows a double aspect. We must distinguish, therefore between the ` meaning' of the symbol, it seems to me clear that all the great and little symbolical systems of the past functioned on three levels: the corporeal of waking consciousness, the spiritual of dream, the ineffable of the unknowable. The term'meaning' can refer only to the first two but these, are in the charge of science –, the province as we have said, not of symbols but of signs; the ineffable, the unknowable, can be only sensed. It is the province of art, not'expression' or primarily, but a quest for, formulation of, experience evoking, energy-waking images: yielding what Sir Herbert Read has aptly termed a'sensuous apprehension of being'. Heinrich Zimmer gives a concise overview of the nature, perennial relevance, of symbols. Concepts and words are symbols, just as visions and images are. Through all of these a transcendent reality is mirrored.
There are so many metaphors reflecting and implying something which, though thus variously expressed, is ineffable, though thus rendered multiform, remains inscrutable. Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth, hence it is delusory to borrow them; each civilisation, every age, must bring forth its own." In the book Signs and Symbols, it is stated that A symbol... is a visual image or sign representing an idea -- a deeper indicator of a universal truth. Semiotics is the study of signs and signification as communicative behavior. Semiotics studies focus on the relationship of the signifier and the signified taking into account interpretation of visual cues, body language and other contextual clues. Semiotics is linked with psychology. Semioticians thus not only study what a symbol implies, but how it got its meaning and how it functions to make meaning in society. Symbols allow the human brain continuously to create meaning using sensory input and decode symbols through both denotation and connotation.
An alternative definition of symbol, distinguishing it from the term sign was proposed by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. In his studies on what is now called Jungian archetypes, a sign stands for something known, as a word stands for its referent, he contrasted a sign with a symbol: something, unknown and that cannot be made clear or precise. An example of a symbol in this sense is Christ. Kenneth Burke described Homo sapiens as a "symbol-using, symbol making, symbol misusing animal" to suggest that a person creates symbols as well as misuses them. One example he uses to indicate what he means by the misuse of symbol is the story of a man who, when told that a particular food item was whale blubber, could keep from throwing it up, his friend discovered it was just a dumpling. But the man's reaction was a direct consequence of the symbol of "blubber" representing something inedible in his mind. In addition, the symbol of "blubber" was created by the man through various kinds of learning. Burke goes on to describe symbols as being derived from Sigmund Freud's work on condensation and displacement, further stating that symbols are not just relevant to the theory of dreams but to "normal symbol systems".
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Information is the resolution of uncertainty. Information is associated with data and knowledge, as data is meaningful information and represents the values attributed to parameters, knowledge signifies understanding of an abstract or concrete concept; the existence of information can be uncoupled from an observer, which refers to that which accesses information to discern that which it specifies. In the case of knowledge, the information itself requires a cognitive observer to be accessed. In terms of communication, information is expressed either as the content of a message or through direct or indirect observation. That, perceived can be construed as a message in its own right, in that sense, information is always conveyed as the content of a message. Information can be encoded into various forms for interpretation, it can be encrypted for safe storage and communication. Information reduces uncertainty; the uncertainty of an event is measured by its probability of occurrence and is inversely proportional to that.
The more uncertain an event, the more information is required to resolve uncertainty of that event. The bit is a typical unit of information. For example, the information encoded in one "fair" coin flip is log2 = 1 bit, in two fair coin flips is log2 = 2 bits; the concept of information has different meanings in different contexts. Thus the concept becomes related to notions of constraint, control, form, knowledge, understanding, mental stimuli, perception and entropy; the English word derives from the Latin stem of the nominative: this noun derives from the verb informare in the sense of "to give form to the mind", "to discipline", "instruct", "teach". Inform itself comes from the Latin verb informare, which means to form an idea of. Furthermore, Latin itself contained the word informatio meaning concept or idea, but the extent to which this may have influenced the development of the word information in English is not clear; the ancient Greek word for form was μορφή and εἶδος "kind, shape, set", the latter word was famously used in a technical philosophical sense by Plato to denote the ideal identity or essence of something.'Eidos' can be associated with thought, proposition, or concept.
The ancient Greek word for information is πληροφορία, which transliterates from πλήρης "fully" and φέρω frequentative of to carry through. It means "bears fully" or "conveys fully". In modern Greek the word Πληροφορία is still in daily use and has the same meaning as the word information in English. In addition to its primary meaning, the word Πληροφορία as a symbol has deep roots in Aristotle's semiotic triangle. In this regard it can be interpreted to communicate information to the one decoding that specific type of sign; this is something that occurs with the etymology of many words in ancient and modern Greek where there is a strong denotative relationship between the signifier, e.g. the word symbol that conveys a specific encoded interpretation, the signified, e.g. a concept whose meaning the interpreter attempts to decode. In English, “information” is an uncountable mass noun. In information theory, information is taken as an ordered sequence of symbols from an alphabet, say an input alphabet χ, an output alphabet ϒ.
Information processing consists of an input-output function that maps any input sequence from χ into an output sequence from ϒ. The mapping may be deterministic, it may be memoryless. Information can be viewed as a type of input to an organism or system. Inputs are of two kinds. In his book Sensory Ecology Dusenbery called these causal inputs. Other inputs are important only because they are associated with causal inputs and can be used to predict the occurrence of a causal input at a time; some information is important because of association with other information but there must be a connection to a causal input. In practice, information is carried by weak stimuli that must be detected by specialized sensory systems and amplified by energy inputs before they can be functional to the organism or system. For example, light is a causal input to plants but for animals it only provides information; the colored light reflected from a flower is too weak to do much photosynthetic work but the visual system of the bee detects it and the bee's nervous system uses the information to guide the bee to the flower, where the bee finds nectar or pollen, which are causal inputs, serving a nutritional function.
The cognitive scientist and applied mathematician Ronaldo Vigo argues that information is a concept that requires at least two related entities to make quantitative sense. These are, any dimensionally defined category of objects S, any of its subsets R. R, in essence, is a representation of S, or, in other words, conveys representational information about S. Vigo defines the amount of information that R conveys a
In linguistics, a word is the smallest element that can be uttered in isolation with objective or practical meaning. This contrasts with a morpheme, the smallest unit of meaning but will not stand on its own. A word may consist of a single morpheme, or several, whereas a morpheme may not be able to stand on its own as a word. A complex word will include a root and one or more affixes, or more than one root in a compound. Words can be put together to build larger elements of language, such as phrases and sentences; the term word may refer to a spoken word or to a written word, or sometimes to the abstract concept behind either. Spoken words are made up of units of sound called phonemes, written words of symbols called graphemes, such as the letters of the English alphabet; the difficulty of deciphering a word depends on the language. Dictionaries categorize a language's lexicon into lemmas; these can be taken as an indication of what constitutes a "word" in the opinion of the writers of that language.
The most appropriate means of measuring the length of a word is by counting its syllables or morphemes. When a word has multiple definitions or multiple senses, it may result in confusion in a debate or discussion. Leonard Bloomfield introduced the concept of "Minimal Free Forms" in 1926. Words are thought of as the smallest meaningful unit of speech; this correlates phonemes to lexemes. However, some written words are not minimal free forms; some semanticists have put forward a theory of so-called semantic primitives or semantic primes, indefinable words representing fundamental concepts that are intuitively meaningful. According to this theory, semantic primes serve as the basis for describing the meaning, without circularity, of other words and their associated conceptual denotations. In the Minimalist school of theoretical syntax, words are construed as "bundles" of linguistic features that are united into a structure with form and meaning. For example, the word "koalas" has semantic features, category features, number features, phonological features, etc.
The task of defining what constitutes a "word" involves determining where one word ends and another word begins—in other words, identifying word boundaries. There are several ways to determine where the word boundaries of spoken language should be placed: Potential pause: A speaker is told to repeat a given sentence allowing for pauses; the speaker will tend to insert pauses at the word boundaries. However, this method is not foolproof: the speaker could break up polysyllabic words, or fail to separate two or more linked words. Indivisibility: A speaker is told to say a sentence out loud, is told to say the sentence again with extra words added to it. Thus, I have lived in this village for ten years might become My family and I have lived in this little village for about ten or so years; these extra words will tend to be added in the word boundaries of the original sentence. However, some languages have infixes; some have separable affixes. Phonetic boundaries: Some languages have particular rules of pronunciation that make it easy to spot where a word boundary should be.
For example, in a language that stresses the last syllable of a word, a word boundary is to fall after each stressed syllable. Another example can be seen in a language that has vowel harmony: the vowels within a given word share the same quality, so a word boundary is to occur whenever the vowel quality changes. Not all languages have such convenient phonetic rules, those that do present the occasional exceptions. Orthographic boundaries: See below. In languages with a literary tradition, there is interrelation between orthography and the question of what is considered a single word. Word separators are common in modern orthography of languages using alphabetic scripts, but these are a modern development. In English orthography, compound expressions may contain spaces. For example, ice cream, air raid shelter and get up each are considered to consist of more than one word. Not all languages delimit words expressly. Mandarin Chinese is a analytic language, making it unnecessary to delimit words orthographically.
However, there are many multiple-morpheme compounds in Mandarin, as well as a variety of bound morphemes that make it difficult to determine what constitutes a word. Sometimes, languages which are close grammatically will consider the same order of words in different ways. For example, reflexive verbs in the French infinitive are separate from their respective particle, e.g. se laver, whereas in Portuguese they are hyphenated, e.g. lavar-se, in Spanish they are joined, e.g. lavarse. Japanese uses orthographic cues to delim