Subcategorization frame
In syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

, a subject within linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, the subcategorization frame of a word
In language, a word is the smallest free form that may be uttered in isolation with semantic or pragmatic content . This contrasts with a morpheme, which is the smallest unit of meaning but will not necessarily stand on its own...

 is defined to be the number and types of syntactic argument
Verb argument
In linguistics, a verb argument is a phrase that appears in a syntactic relationship with the verb in a clause. In English, for example, the two most important arguments are the subject and the direct object....

s that it co-occurs with (i. e. the number and kinds of other words that it selects when appearing in a sentence). So, in Indiana Jones ate chilled monkey brain, eat selects, or subcategorizes for, Indiana Jones and chilled monkey brain.

Subcategorization frames are specifications of the number and types of arguments of a word, and they are believed to be listed as lexical
In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. A lexicon is also a synonym of the word thesaurus. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes. Coined in English 1603, the word "lexicon" derives from the Greek "λεξικόν" , neut...

 information (that is, they are thought of as part of a speaker's knowledge of the word in the vocabulary of the language). For instance, a monotransitive verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

, like eat, subcategorizes for a subject
Subject (grammar)
The subject is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate. According to another tradition, i.e...

 noun phrase
Noun phrase
In grammar, a noun phrase, nominal phrase, or nominal group is a phrase based on a noun, pronoun, or other noun-like word optionally accompanied by modifiers such as adjectives....

 and an object
Object (grammar)
An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

 noun phrase. A ditransitive verb
Ditransitive verb
In grammar, a ditransitive verb is a verb which takes a subject and two objects which refer to a recipient and a theme. According to certain linguistics considerations, these objects may be called direct and indirect, or primary and secondary...

, like give, subcategorizes for a subject noun phrase, an indirect object noun phrase, and a direct object noun phrase. A caused-motion verb, like put subcategorizes for a subject noun phrase, an object noun phrase and a locative adverb
An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

ial prepositional phrase.

Subcategorization frames are essential parts of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
Head-driven phrase structure grammar
Head-driven phrase structure grammar is a highly lexicalized, non-derivational generative grammar theory developed by Carl Pollard and Ivan Sag. It is the immediate successor to generalized phrase structure grammar. HPSG draws from other fields such as computer science and uses Ferdinand de...

, Lexical Functional Grammar
Lexical functional grammar
Lexical functional grammar is a grammar framework in theoretical linguistics, a variety of generative grammar. It is a type of phrase structure grammar, as opposed to a dependency grammar. The development of the theory was initiated by Joan Bresnan and Ronald Kaplan in the 1970s, in reaction to...

, and Minimalism.

See also

  • Subcategorization
    Subcategorization is a natural language phenomenon, which denotes the tendency of heads to have restrictions on the arguments they can take. For example, some verbs do not take a noun-phrase complement, while some verbs do take a complement, or even two complements , typically cast in traditional...

  • Valency (linguistics)
    Valency (linguistics)
    In linguistics, verb valency or valence refers to the number of arguments controlled by a verbal predicate. It is related, though not identical, to verb transitivity, which counts only object arguments of the verbal predicate...

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