Dependency and valency grammar

Rudi Gebruers
Table of contents

A dependency grammar (DG) is one which describes linguistic constructs primarily in terms of ‘dependency relations’. A dependency relation is an asymmetric relation between two elementary units, identifying one as the dominant element (called the ‘governor’, ‘regent’, ‘controller’, or ‘head’), and the other as the subordinate element (called the ‘dependent’, ‘controllee’, or ‘modifier’). Governors may themselves be dependents in a larger dependency hierarchy. Being direct links between units at the same level, dependency relations contrast with constituency relations, which hold between units at different levels. Dependencies can be looked upon as mere co-occurrence relations between governors and their dependents, or as constructional relations which, more or less directly, reflect connections of meaning.

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