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Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214823.1999.x


The linguist Ferdinand de Saussure considered two relationships between linguistic items. When viewed as a linear sequence, an item holds syntagmatic relations with those preceding and following it. For example, in they will eat , the modal will is syntagmatically related to they and eat. Paradigmatic relations hold between an item and similar ones that can appear in the same position in a sequence. The above example indicates that other modals like can, should, must would be para-digmatically related to will. Both these types of relationship are useful at various levels of linguistic study. For example, in establishing what a modal verb is, it is useful to consider where in a sentence one may occur (syntagmatic relations), and what other items have the same occurrence (paradigmatic relations). See structure , and Lyons (1968) . ( 1968 ). Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press . ( 1974 ). Course in General Linguistics , trans. W. Baskin . London : Fontana/ Collins . [ Originally published in 1916. ]. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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