Are phrases universal?

Alexander V Bochkov bochkov at HAWAII.EDU
Fri Aug 28 01:30:19 UTC 2009

Dear colleagues,

I am working on a paper and I need your help (if you have references, that's even better!)

1. How universal is the phrase? In other words, are there languages that lack phrases completely? By phrase I roughly understand "a set of syntactic elements which form a constituent (=relatively independent group of words)." (Bussmann, Hadumod, Gregory Trauth, Kerstin Kazzazi, and Hadumod Bussmann. 1996. Routledge dictionary of language and linguistics. Routledge reference. London: Routledge. - p. 902)
 2. WALS says that there are 6 languages with zero head/dependent marking . It is not entirely clear whether those languages have phrases or not. If they do, how do we know that?
Thank you.

Alexander Bochkov
Department of Second Language Studies
University of Hawaii at Manoa

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