Could someone explain what structure-dependency is in layman terms, and why it's so important?

Resources I've found on the internet weren't of much help so I'm asking on here.


  • 1
    What Google says is "The linguistic principle that grammatical processes function primarily on structures in sentences, not on single words or sequences of words." Those are laymen terms. All it says is that Constituents (phrases, clauses, idioms) are what's important, rather than "what part of speech is X?" or "is Y a gerund?" The first thing you do when you figure out a sentence is to count the verbs so you can tell how many clauses there are. Then you can deal with each clause independently.
    – jlawler
    Oct 26 '20 at 18:34
  • @Denisof, could you write a bit more about where (in what context) you read that term?
    – purlupar
    Oct 27 '20 at 21:22
  • It was one of the questions addressed to Noam Chomsky during his interview to Alex Fridman on YouTube, can be found here
    – Denisof
    Oct 27 '20 at 22:07
  • "The principle of structure-dependency compels all languages to move parts of the sentence around in accordance with its structure rather than just the sheer order of words", maybe this ThoughtCo article might be of help: thoughtco.com/structure-dependency-grammar-1691997 Nov 7 '20 at 9:28

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