Morphically primitive words

2009-04-29T12:45:06Z (GMT) by Daniel Reidenbach Johannes C. Schneider
In the present paper, we introduce an alternative notion of the primitivity of words, that–unlike the standard understanding of this term–is not based on the power (and, hence, the concatenation) of words, but on morphisms. For any alphabet Σ, we call a word wΣ* morphically imprimitive provided that there are a shorter word v and morphisms h,h′:Σ*→Σ* satisfying h(v)=w and h′(w)=v, and we say that w is morphically primitive otherwise. We explain why this is a well-chosen terminology, we demonstrate that morphic (im-) primitivity of words is a vital attribute in many combinatorial domains based on finite words and morphisms, and we study a number of fundamental properties of the concepts under consideration.