the links and dependencies between linguistic elements (units of any complexity) that coexist simultaneously in a linear series (a text or speech). Syntagmatic relations may exist between neighboring sounds, resulting in vowel harmony and assimilation, and between morphs, resulting in superposition or truncation of adjacent morphemes. The term was introduced by F. de Saussure.
The term “syntagmatic relations” often refers to the concept of functions in consecutively joined linguistic elements in the speech process. Syntagmatic relations, which are in contrast to paradigmatic relations, or associative links, constitute the area of study known as syntagmatics. The analysis of linguistic phenomena solely by their syntagmatic relations was typical of descriptive linguistics and was the basis for distributive analysis.
The study of syntagmatic relations is an important aspect of the problem of the combinability of linguistic elements, their valence, and the principles regulating their ability to combine in speech.