(also syntagma /sinˈtaɡmə/)
noun (plural syntagms or syntagmas or syntagmata /sinˈtaɡmətə/)
1A linguistic unit consisting of a set of linguistic forms (phonemes, words, or phrases) that are in a sequential relationship to one another. Often contrasted with paradigm.
- For Saussure, syntagms are a ‘horizontal’ dimension of language, and are the regular and typical patterns of structure in the language system.
- The tone, mood, fast-paced interjections, and witty syntagms of the 1940s vernacular are very difficult to convey in the several lines of subtitled translation.
- In written etic discourse, which is, after all, a linear string of syntagms, one may need to break off in order to ‘enflesh’ a character.
Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek suntagma, from suntassein 'arrange together'.
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