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Functionalism and Grammar

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Abstract

This book is Prof. Givón's long-awaited critical examination of the fundamental theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the functionalist approach to grammar. It challenges functionalists to take their own medicine and establish non-circular empirical definitions of both 'function' and 'structure'. Ideological hand-waving, however fervent and right-thinking, is seldom an adequate substitute for analytic rigor and empirical responsibility. If the reductionist extremism of the various structuralist schools is to be challenged on solid intellectual grounds, the challenge cannot itself be equally extreme in its reductionism. The book is divided into nine chapters: 1. Prospectus, somewhat jaundiced (overview) 2. Markedness as meta-iconicity: Distributional and cognitive correlates of syntactic structure 3. The functional basis of grammatical typology 4. Modal prototypes of truth and action 5. Taking structure seriously: Constituency and the VP node 6. Taking structure seriously II: Grammatical relations and clause union 7. The distribution of grammar in text: On interpreting conditional associations 8. Coming to terms with cognition: Coherence in text vs. coherence in mind 9. On the co-evolution of language, mind and brain.

Subjects: Theoretical linguistics; Cognition and language; Syntax; Functional linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Oregon

References

http://jbenjamins.metastore.ingenta.com/content/books/9789027273994
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