One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Of or relating to (physical) stratification; of or relating to the formation, existence, or analysis of successive or superimposed layers or strata. rare.
2Sociology. Of or relating to social or cultural strata; characterized by social stratification.
3Linguistics. Designating a theory in which language is viewed or analysed in terms of a series of strata or structural layers, building up from phonetics to semantics, each with its own rules of formation and related to each other; of or relating to this theory. Especially in "stratificational grammar", "stratificational linguistics", "stratificational theory".
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. From stratification + -al.
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