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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reflects on the various viewpoints that have been expressed in literature and linguistics about the form and function of words, and their relationship to thoughts and actions, things and events. with illustrations taken from over thirty writers. Understanding creativity in word use involves considerations of language variation and change, language play, and language history. Quantifying the size of a lexicon, whether of the language as a whole or of a person’s individual knowledge, provides a relevant perspective, though it is a task which presents serious methodological issues. For many writers, it is the encounter with the vastness of vocabulary that contributes to their fascination with words.

Keywords: creativity in words, language change, language play, language history, vocabulary size, writers on words, words and thoughts, words and things, words and deeds actions

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