Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Relationships in Language

Classified in Chemistry

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Paradigmatic (vertical) axis

The words organizations, groups, and Amnesty International are related to each other because they all belong to the same semantic group, a relationship known as hyponymy. Organizations serve as a hypernym (a more general or superordinate word), while human rights groups and Amnesty International serve as hyponyms (more specific words, in this case types of organizations). The other two kinds of paradigmatic relationships are those of synonymy (prompted = caused) and antonymy (weak/strong).

Syntagmatic (horizontal) axis
 Unlike the paradigmatic relationships, the syntagmatic relationships of a word are not about meaning. They are about the lexical company the word keeps (collocation) and the grammatical patterns in which it occurs (colligation). Let's take the example: It seems to work, but you're unlikely to say "weak reactions". The combination "weak reactions" is less likely than "strong reactions". These are collocational patterns. But there are also colligational preferences.

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