Clearly - pharases "in relation to which" (subordinating conjunction) function as one word. How such process is named in linguistics. It would also be interesting to know how such formation is handled in Grammatical Framework and Abstract Categorial Grammars generally? Is it allowed to handle such phrases as one lexical unit?

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    I'm not sure what you mean here. Can you give another example? 'Term' is the single word often used for multi-word expressions that stand for a single concept, but such concepts are usually just very simple noun phrases (noun preceded by an adjective phrase). Is 'due to the fact that' an example?
    – Mitch
    Feb 21, 2018 at 19:43
  • Example: "Building land is the parcel in relation to which the building permit has been issued". I guess I can give example the 'due to the fact that' acts as the subordinating conjunction as well, so - yes - that phrase should be another example.
    – TomR
    Feb 21, 2018 at 20:52
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    It's from a pied-piped relative clause, as in The allies in relation to which this country stands... from a clause This country stands in relation to the allies. Used alone, it introduces a new but related topic; in this case which refers to the previous utterances. The allies are wavering. In relation to which, may I suggest a gesture of support?
    – jlawler
    Feb 21, 2018 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


The term for such kind of phrase is multiword expression. I am not aware of a special term for the process that creates multiword expression. I am also not aware of some special treatment of them; in corpus linguistics usually each word is tagged separately with a part-of-speech tag and syntax trees are built from the single words (as separated by spaces).

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