Conference article

The Component Unit. Introducing a Novel Unit of Syntactic Analysis

Timothy Osborne
Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

Ruochen Niu
Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

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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 139:20, s. 165-175

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Published: 2017-09-13

ISBN: 978-91-7685-467-9

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


This contribution introduces a novel unit of syntactic analysis, which is called the component. The validity and utility of the component unit are established in terms of chunking. When informants organize the words of sentences into groups, they are creating chunks, and these chunks then qualify as components in dependency syntax. By acknowledging the nature of chunking and the component unit, it is possible to cast light on controversial aspects of dependency hierarchies. In particular, the component unit, informant data, and the reasoning based on these provide an argument in favor of the traditional DG assumptions about hierarchical status of many function words (auxiliary verbs, prepositions, subordinators, etc.), and in so doing, they contradict the Universal Dependencies (UD) annotation scheme. The data discussed here are from English, but the methodology and reasoning employed are easily extendable to other languages.


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