Dependency networks: A discussion note about Lamb’s theory of linguistic structure

Timothy Osborne


Sydney Lamb (2016) presents a theory of linguistic structure that reaches through all levels of linguistic organization (semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology). The network architecture of Lamb’s system is analogous to the network of neurons in the brain. Lamb’s theory organizes linguistic units in part in terms of constituencies. This discussion note explores the possibility of recasting Lamb’s theory entirely in terms of dependencies. An approach that relies more on dependency as the principle organizing the units of linguistic structure would result in simpler networks, increasing plausibility and thus being more consistent with the network of neurons in the brain.


constituency; dependency; dependency grammar; constituency grammar; network; neural network

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