What is grammatical dependency?

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Grammatical dependency is a principle that applies primarily in defining the orthographic word with respect to elements that can be joined to a preceding element (Roberts 1992).


Here is an example of grammatical dependency in the Amele language (Papua New Guinea):

  • Of the major word classes, nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives are grammatically independent. A single noun, pronoun, verb, or adjective can function as the head of a phrasal constituent and can also be the sole realization of that constituent.

    In contrast, the word class postposition is grammatically dependent, because it cannot occur as the sole realization of the postpositional phrase.

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