Endocentric

Endocentric

[en-doh-sen-trik]
In linguistics, an endocentric construction is a grammatical construction that fulfills the same linguistic function as one of its constituents. An endocentric construction consists of an obligatory head and one or more optional, dependent words, whose presence serves to narrow the meaning of the head. For example, the phrase 'lion house' is an endocentric construction. In this case, 'house' is the head, because it carries the bulk of the semantic content and determines the grammatical category to which the whole constituent will be assigned. Likewise, 'lion' here is the dependent, specifying what sort of house is being referred to in the whole construction. In more formal terms, the distribution of an endocentric construction is functionally equivalent, or approaching equivalence, to one of its member constituents, which serves as the centre, or head, of the whole. An endocentric construction is also known as a headed construction, where the head is contained "inside" the construction.

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