Lexical integrity

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Lexical integrity is a term used to refer to one of the most important properties of words, viz. the property that no syntactic process is allowed to refer to parts of a word.


if we take the English compound teapot, it is not allowed to move tea out of the compound by, for instance, topicalization (cf. *Tea, I bought pots vs. Teapots, I bought). It is furthermore impossible to refer to tea by using an anaphoric device such as a pronoun: we cannot say he took the teai pot, and poured iti into the cup, meaning 'he poured the tea into the cup'. See Lexicalist hypothesis.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Di Sciullo, A. M. and E. Williams 1987. On the Definition of Word, MIT-press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Lapointe, 1980. The Theory of Grammatical Agreement, PhD. diss. Univ. of Mass., Amherst.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.