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

What is an endocentric construction?

 

Definition
 

An endocentric construction is a construction that contains

 
  • a head, which is the single obligatory element in the construction (except in coordinate constructions, which have multiple heads), and
  • one or more optional elements subordinate to the head.
 

The optional elements can, in the proper context, be omitted without loss of grammaticality. The head is a syntactically adequate substitution for the whole construction.

Examples (English)
 
  • In the following sentence, the noun phrase wet paint is an endocentric construction. The word paint is the obligatory head and may stand alone in its position in the clause. The word wet is an optional subordinate element.

  • There is wet paint on the bench.
  • The coordinate noun phrase dogs and ponies is an endocentric construction. Both nouns are heads of the noun phrase.
Generic
  An endocentric construction is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Hartmann and Stork 1972 76

 

Pei and Gaynor 1954 66

 

Crystal 1985 109

 

Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985 60


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