- Source: Document
Linguistics, Syntax: Compositionality is defined here as the property whereby “the meaning of anexpression is a monotonic function of the meaning of its parts and the way they are puttogether.” (Cann 1993:4) Recursion is “the phenomenon by which a constituent of a sen-tence dominates another instance of the same syntactic category … recursion is the principlereason that the number of sentences in a natural language is normally taken to be infinite”(Trask 1993:229-230) → Kirby defines two fundamental properties of language. For one, language is compositional. The meaning of each part of a sentence, as well as the order in which these individual pieces appear, defines the overall meaning of that sentence. Language is also recursive (and therefore infinite). Each constituent in a phrase may contain one or more child constituents of the same syntactic category.