Are there any examples of languages that can have interlaced phrases?

For instance in:

I turned the light off.

one phrase is turned X off, where X can be a noun phrase. However, I don't think it's possible to split the noun phrase across the verb phrase in this case; I'm pretty sure it must be contained entirely within the verb phrase. If the verb phrase is split into beginning and end (VPb & VPe), is it possible to have a construct like:


where NPb and NPe are a single noun phrase split into a beginning and end? The phrases don't have to be verb phrases or noun phrases, or in that order, I was just using them as examples.

Embedded:                  Interlaced:
+---------------------+    +---------------+
|     +---------+     |    |     +---------+-----+
| 1Pb | 2Pb 2Pe | 1Pe |    | 1Pb | 2Pb 1Pe | 2Pe |
|     +---------+     |    +-----+---------+     |
+---------------------+          +---------------+

Are there any examples of a second phrase beginning inside another phrase and ending after the first phrase has ended?


1 Answer 1


This is known under the term Cross-serial dependencies and is considered a rare phenomenon among the languages of the world. A famous example of cross-serial dependencies comes from Swiss German and it can be found in the linked Wikipedia article.


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