Catena (linguistics)  

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In linguistics the catena (Latin for 'chain', plural catenae) is a unit of syntax and morphology, closely associated with dependency grammars. It is a more flexible and inclusive unit than the constituent and may therefore be better suited than the constituent to serve as the fundamental unit of syntactic and morphosyntactic analysis. The catena concept was introduced to linguistics by William O'Grady in 1998 and has been seized upon by some other linguists and applied to the syntax of idiosyncratic meaning of all sorts, to the syntax of ellipsis mechanisms (e.g. gapping, stripping, VP-ellipsis, pseudogapping, sluicing, answer ellipsis, comparative deletion), to the syntax of predicate-argument structures, and to the syntax of discontinuities (topicalization, wh-fronting, scrambling, extraposition, etc.).

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