View table of contents for this book View table of contents for LinguaLinksLibrary Go to LinguaLinks home page
 

What is a head?

 

Definition
 

A head is a constituent of an endocentric construction that, if standing alone, could perform the syntactic function of the whole construction.

 

It may govern the

 
  • agreement of grammatical categories, such as person and number, or
  • occurrence of other constituents.
Examples (English)
 
  • In the following construction, the noun chair heads the noun phrase. It also determines number on the verb:

  • The wooden chairs in the corner are finished.
  • In the following construction, the verb given heads the verb phrase would have given. It also determines the occurrence of a direct object and indirect object later in the clause:

  • Mary would have given Bill a dictionary.
Generic
  A head is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Crystal 1985 146

 

Hartmann and Stork 1972 34, 102

 

Pei and Gaynor 1954 89

 

Mish 1991 557

 

Pike and Pike 1982 25–26


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

© 2004 SIL International