Segmentation (linguistics)

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In linguistics, segmentation (or segmentation ) is a breakdown of complex units (e.g. sentences or words) into their elements (segments), which in turn are classified, i.e. H. can be classified according to certain criteria - their importance and / or function.

The segmentation is used to analyze linguistic units. The classification of the components of the linguistic units is based on this. H. the assignment to certain categories. The segmentation and classification require that the language is an ordered system, the elements of which are related to each other. Based on Ferdinand de Saussure , the founder of structural linguistics, segmentation and classification are methods that characterize structuralist linguistics.

The segmentation analysis method can be used on various linguistic levels:

  • at the word level it serves the morpheme analysis,
  • at the sound level of the phoneme analysis
  • at the sentence level the sentence (member) analysis.

Segmentation in morphology

The words of a text, for example, can be broken down (= segmented ) into morphs or syllables and other units (letters, phones , phonemes ...)  . The purpose of segmentation is to obtain the basic units from which the larger units are built using certain rules.

A method for morph segmentation in German is presented by Best (2001; 2008); it requires a not entirely untrained editor. This method of analysis leads to the smaller units: the smallest meaningful parts of a language system are the so-called morphs . The sentence The fisherman fishes can be broken down into the following segments (morphs): d- , -er , fisch- , -er , fisch- and -t . To such segmentation, the next step needs to connect, which consists in the morph to morphemes to classify . It would turn out that the two morphs fish- belong to the same morpheme, but the two morphs -er not: the first -er in d-er is a declension ending with the grammatical function "nominative singular masculine", the second a derivative ending with the function of deriving the job title Fisch-er from the verb stem fisch- .

An automatic morph segmentation method can be found at Langer, whose error rate the author himself gives as 7.24%.

Segmentation in Phonology

This procedure is also used in phonetics and phonology : This is how one arrives at the smallest meaning-differentiating unit in a word, the phoneme . The segmentation and classification methods of structuralist linguistics ( taxonomy ) are described by Bünting (1981: 75ff.) In application to phonetics and phonology.

Segmentation in the syntax

In the syntax , the segmentation of a sentence is used to determine syntactic units, which can then be classified as parts of the sentence in a second step . A further segmentation leads to the fine structure of the sentence.

To determine the syntactic units of a sentence, American structuralism in particular has developed tests: see constituent test .

See also


  • Karl-Heinz Best : On the length of morphs in German texts. In: Karl-Heinz Best (Ed.): Frequency distributions in texts. Peust & Gutschmidt, Göttingen 2001, pp. 1-14.
  • Karl-Heinz Best: Linguistics in a nutshell with an outlook on quantitative linguistics. RAM-Verlag, Lüdenscheid 2008. On segmentation in morphology: pages 15–19.
  • Karl-Dieter Bünting: Introduction to Linguistics. 9th edition. Athenaeum, Königstein 1981, ISBN 3-7610-2011-2 .
  • Hadumod Bußmann (Ed.) With the collaboration of Hartmut Lauffer: Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft. 4th, revised and bibliographically supplemented edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-520-45204-7 .
  • Hagen Langer: An automatic morph segmentation method for German word forms. Göttingen, diss. phil. 1991.

Web links

Wiktionary: segmentation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Christa Dürscheid : Syntax. Basics and theories. 5th edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010 (UTB, 3319), ISBN 978-3-8252-3319-8 , p. 46 f.
  2. Hagen Langer. An automatic morph segmentation method for German word forms. 1991, p. 81.
  3. ^ Kessel / Reimann: Basic knowledge of contemporary German. Fink, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2704-9 , p. 17 f.