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What is a syntagmatic lexical relation?



A syntagmatic lexical relation is a culturally determined pattern of association between pairs of lexical units (A1-B1, A2-B2, A3-B3…) where the

  • two members of each pair (A1 and B1)

    • have compatible semantic components
    • are in a fixed syntactic and semantic relationship to each other, and
    • are typically associated with each other, and
  • corresponding members of each pair (A1, A2, A3…)

    • belong to the same lexical category
    • fill the same syntactic position in a syntactic construction, and
    • have the same semantic function.
Examples (English)
  • Actor
  • Undergoer
  • Location
  • Instrument
  • Benefactor
  • Goal
  • Feel
  • Sound
  • Degradation
  • Intensification
  • Material composition

For more information on the lexical relations listed above, refer to Coward and Grimes 1995.


Syntagmatic lexical relations are structured in sets of pairs.

Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 5 January 2004

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