Unbounded Dependency

Unbounded Dependency



A term used in some theories of grammar (such as generalized phrase-structure grammar) to refer to a construction in which a syntactic relation holds between two constituents such that there is no restriction on the structural distance between them (e.g. a restriction which would require that both be constituents of the same clause). In English, cleft sentences, topicalization, WH-questions and relative clauses have been proposed as examples of constructions which involve this kind of dependency; for instance, a wh-constituent may occur at the beginning of a main clause, while the construction with which it is connected may be one, two or more clauses away. In government-binding theory, unbounded dependencies are analysed in terms of movement. In GPSG, use is made of the feature slash.