Much of the last two weeks has been spent trying to get my head around what a head is. A representative definition might be.
A head is the syntactic function of the dominant constituent within a phrase to which other constituents are subordinate or a two-word dependency relationship. “In the simplest account, other units depend on it” (Matthews 2007:191).
My starting point was Zwicky (1985), for no better reason than that’s what I stumbled on first. And this was where the issue of intuition came up. Zwicky writes,
The intuition to be captured with the notion HEAD is that in certain syntactic constructs one constituent in some sense ‘characterizes’ or ‘dominates’ the whole. (2)