Complementary distribution in linguistics is the relationship between two different elements, where one element is found in a particular environment and the other element is found in the opposite environment. It often indicates that two superficially different elements are in fact the same linguistic unit at a deeper level. In some instances, more than two elements can be in complementary distribution with one another.
Other articles related to "complementary distribution, distribution, complementary":
... The concept of complementary distribution is applied in the analysis of word forms (morphology) ... The "distribution" (usage according to environments) of the forms an and a is "complementary" because of three factors --- (1) an is used where a is not used (2) a is used where an is not ...
... The situation would have been unreconstructable, had not the original distribution of e and a been recoverable from the evidence of other Indo-European languages ... If two (or more) sets apply in complementary distribution, they can be assumed to reflect a single original phoneme "some sound changes, particularly conditioned sound changes, can result in a proto-sou ... is due to different environments (post-initial a or non-a) and the sets are complementary ...
Famous quotes containing the word distribution:
“The man who pretends that the distribution of income in this country reflects the distribution of ability or character is an ignoramus. The man who says that it could by any possible political device be made to do so is an unpractical visionary. But the man who says that it ought to do so is something worse than an ignoramous and more disastrous than a visionary: he is, in the profoundest Scriptural sense of the word, a fool.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)