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This page pertains to UD version 2.

orphan: orphan

The ‘orphan’ relation is used in cases of head ellipsis where simple promotion would result in an unnatural and misleading dependency relation. The typical case is predicate ellipsis where one of the core arguments has to be promoted to clausal head.

Marie won gold and Peter bronze
nsubj(won, Marie)
obj(won, gold)
conj(won, Peter)
cc(Peter, and)
orphan(Peter, bronze)

In this example, the subject Peter is promoted to the head position in the second conjunct. Attaching the object bronze to the subject is necessary to preserve the integrity of the clause, but using the standard relation obj would be misleading because bronze is not the object of Peter. Therefore, the orphan relation is used to indicate that this is a non-standard attachment. By contrast, the coordinating conjunction and performs essentially the same function as in the non-elliptical case and therefore retains its normal relation cc.

See further discussion of ellipsis.


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