Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Discontinuous Constituents

Discontinuous Constituents

Discontinuous constituents are constituents which are

  • separated from each other by one or more intervening constituent, and
  • considered either
    • syntactically contiguous and unitary, or
    • realizing the same, single meaning.

(English)

Here are some examples of discontinuous constituents in English:

  • Certain phrasal verbs, such as “switch the light on”
  • Word segments separated by expletive insertions, such as “abso-bloomin-lutely”
  • Inflectional agreement markers

(French)

The French negative ne … pas are discontinuous constituents:

Je ne sais pas. ‘I don’t know.’

Page/s: 575
Source: McCarthy 1982

McCarthy, John J. 1982. "Prosodic structure and expletive infixation." Language.

Page/s: 68-69
Source: Hartmann and Stork 1972

Hartmann, R.R.K., and F.C. Stork. 1972.Dictionary of language and linguistics. London: Applied Science.

Page/s: 114
Source: Crystal 1980

Crystal, David. 1980.A first dictionary of linguistics and phonetics. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Broader Terms

Date of creation
05-Ago-2021
Accepted term
05-Ago-2021
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