Language Form and Language Function (Language, Speech and Communication)
By: Frederick J. Newmeyer (author)Paperback
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The two basic approaches to linguistics are the formalist and the functionalist approaches. In this engaging monograph, Frederick J. Newmeyer, a formalist, argues that both approaches are valid. However, because formal and functional linguists have avoided direct confrontation, they remain unaware of the compatability of their results. One of the author's goals is to make each side accessible to the other. While remaining an ardent formalist, Newmeyer stresses the limitations of a narrow formalist outlook that refuses to consider that anything of interest might have been discovered in the course of functionalist-oriented research. He argues that the basic principles of generative grammar, in interaction with principles in other linguistic domains, provide compelling accounts of phenomena that functionalists have used to try to refute the generative approach.
Part 1 The form-function problem in linguistics: setting the stage with a (not totally) imaginary dialogue; the goals of this book; the two orientations in modern linguistics; on the variety of generativist approaches; on the variety of functionalist approaches; a look ahead. Part 2 The boundaries of grammar: overview; the three autonomy hypotheses; the autonomy of syntax; the autonomy of knowledge of language with respect to use of language; the autonomy of grammar as a cognitive system; conclusion. Part 3 Internal and external explanation in linguistics: overview; on explanation in linguistics, internal and external; internal explanation; external explanation; convincing and unconvincing external explanations; the problem of competing motivations; external explanation and the autonomy of syntax; conclusion. Part 4 On syntactic categories: prototypes, fuzzy categories and grammatical theory; prototype theory and syntactic catagories; syntagmatic simplicity and prototypes - an evaluation; paradigmatic complexity and prototypes - an evaluation; prototypes and markedness; the nonexistence of fuzzy categories; against Langacker's notional definitions of "noun" and "verb"; conclusion; appendix on prototype constructions. Part 5 Deconstructing grammaticalization: overview; grammaticalization - a capsule description; what is the "true nature" of grammaticalization?; the epiphenomenal nature of grammaticalization; on unidirectionality; two issues in grammaticalization research; grammaticalization and generative grammar; conclusion. Part 6 Language typology and its difficulties: overview; the field of language typology; barriers to language typology; what is to be done?; formal prerequisites to typological analysis; implicational hierarchies and a new argument for functionalism; typology and generative grammar; summary. Part 7 Conclusion.
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- ID: 9780262640442
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