Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Syntagmatic relationships in linguistics refers to those relationships between elements that might combine in a sequence.

explanatory context

Syntagmatic refers the relationship between two or more linguistic units used one after the other to make well-formed structures

The term is used in semiological analysis.


Syntagmatic relationships are contrasted with paradigmatic relationships.

analytical review

Chandler (2011) states:

Structuralists study texts as syntagmatic structures. The syntagmatic analysis of a text (whether it is verbal or non-verbal) involves studying its structure and the relationships between its parts. Structuralist semioticians seek to identify elementary constituent segments within the text - its syntagms. The study of syntagmatic relations reveals the conventions or 'rules of combination' underlying the production and interpretation of texts (such as the grammar of a language). The use of one syntagmatic structure rather than another within a text influences meaning.

associated issues


related areas

See also




Researching the Real World Section 5


Chandler, D., 2011, Semiotics for Beginners: Syntagmatic analysis, last updated 10 November 2011, available at , accessed 21 January 2013, page not available 29 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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