Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
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The aim of this article is not only to reply to the points made in Newmeyer’s review of my Structure and function: A guide to three major structural-functional theories (S&F), but also to further discussion on relationships between functionalism and formalism. Functionalist claims about external motivation of the language system are discussed, and it is shown that there are very considerable differences between Chomsky’s recent discussion of external motivation and that in the functionalist and cognitivist/constructionist literature. It is pointed out that functional linguistics claims a motivational relationship between semantics and syntax rather than a purely interpretive one as in formalist theories, and that functionalists take a much wider view of what constitutes semantics. Furthermore, not only is there more direct connection between meanings and forms than Newmeyer claims, but also structural-functional theories invoke a second type of semantic motivation not involving one-to-one mapping. They also vary in the level of motivation they postulate. Recent work by Jackendoff and his colleagues is shown to present serious challenges to mainstream generativism and to make many claims which agree with those of functionalism and constructionism, so providing the possibility of interesting cross-fertilisation. Finally, it is pointed out that S&F agrees with Newmeyer that Functional Grammar and Role and Reference Grammar fail to attain fully their professed standards of adequacy.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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