A term introduced into transformational grammar of the mid-1970s to refer to a formal means of marking the place a constituent once held in a derivation, before it was moved to another position by a transformational operation. The position from which the constituent was moved is known as a trace (t marks its place in the representation), which is said to be ‘bound’ by that constituent. The moved constituent and the empty node it leaves behind are co-indexed. For example, in a rule which ‘raise’ the subject of an embedded clause to be the subject of the main clause, the trace t marks the position of the embedded subject, e.g. it is certain [the man to come]→the man is certain t to come. In government-binding theory, a distinction is made between traces of noun phrases moved by NP-movement (NP traces), as in passive and raising sentences, and traces of categories moved by WH-movement (wh-traces), as in wh-questions, relative clauses, etc. The former are anaphors and the latter are variables. The distribution of traces is governed by the empty category principle.
本世纪70年代中期的转换语法用它来指一种形式手段，它标记一个组构成分在派生过程中通过转换移至另一位置前占据的位置。组构成分从哪儿移出的那个位置称作语迹（在表征式中用t表示），按该理论它受那个组构成分的“约束”。移走的组构成分和它留下的空节点有同标关系。例如，一条规则将一个嵌套小句的主语“提升”为主要小句的主语，语迹t就标示嵌套句主语的位置，如it is certain [the man to come]→the man is certain t to come“那个人肯定t会来”。管理与约束理论区分两类语迹，一类是通过NP-移位留下的名词短语语迹，如见于被动句和提升句；一类是通过WH-移位留下的某些语类的语迹，即wh-语迹，如见于wh-问句、关系小句等。前者是照应语而后者是变项。语迹的分布受空语类原则的支配。