Conference article

Menzerath-Altmann Law in Syntactic Dependency Structure

Ján Mačutek
Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Slovakia

Radek Čech
University of Ostrava, Faculty of Arts, Department of Czech Language, Czech Republic

Jiří Milička
Charles University, Prague, Faculty of Arts, Institute of Comparative Linguistics, and Institute of the Czech National Corpus, Czech Republic

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Published in: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Dependency Linguistics (Depling 2017), September 18-20, 2017, Università di Pisa, Italy

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 139:13, s. 100-107

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Published: 2017-09-13

ISBN: 978-91-7685-467-9

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


According to the Menzerath-Altmann law, there is a relation between the size of the whole and the mean size of its parts. The va-lidity of the law was demonstrated on rela-tions between several language units, e.g., the longer a word, the shorter the syllables the word consists of. In this paper it is shown that the law is valid also in syntactic depend-ency structure in Czech. In particular, longer clauses tend to be composed of shorter phrases (the size of a phrase is measured by the number of words it consists of).


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