Analytic language

In linguistic typology, an analytic language is a language that primarily conveys relationships between words in sentences by way of helper words (particles, prepositions, etc.) and word order, as opposed to using inflections (changing the form of a word to convey its role in the sentence). For example, the English-language phrase "The cat chases the ball" conveys the fact that the cat is acting on the ball analytically via word order. This can be contrasted to synthetic languages, which rely heavily on inflections to convey word relationships (e.g., the phrases "The cat chases the ball" and "The cat chased the ball" convey different time frames via changing the form of the word chase). Most languages are not purely analytic, but many rely primarily on analytic syntax.

Typically, analytic languages have a low morpheme-per-word ratio, especially with respect to inflectional morphemes. A grammatical construction can similarly be analytic if it uses unbound morphemes, which are separate words, or word order. Analytic languages rely more heavily on the use of definite and indefinite articles (which tend to be less prominently used or absent in strongly synthetic languages), stricter word order, various prepositions, postpositions, particles, modifiers, and context.