Language Form and Language Function (Language, Speech, and by Frederick J. Newmeyer

By Frederick J. Newmeyer

The 2 uncomplicated techniques to linguistics are the formalist and the functionalist methods. during this attractive monograph, Frederick J. Newmeyer, a formalist, argues that either methods are legitimate. even though, simply because formal and useful linguists have kept away from direct war of words, they continue to be blind to the compatability in their effects. one of many author's ambitions is to make either side obtainable to the opposite. whereas closing an ardent formalist, Newmeyer stresses the boundaries of a slender formalist outlook that refuses to think about that whatever of curiosity could have been came upon during functionalist-oriented study. He argues that the elemental ideas of generative grammar, in interplay with ideas in different linguistic domain names, offer compelling debts of phenomena that functionalists have used to attempt to refute the generative technique.

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Example text

But Lakoff is not correct. In fact, questions such as whether syntactic rules refer to semantic constructs or to discourse notions such as 'topic' and 'focus' have been raised since the 1960s and have been given a broad spectrum of answers, each supported by empirical arguments. And the charge that autonomy is a consequence of a 'philosophical commitment . . to describe language in terms of the mathematics of symbol manipulation systems' is also false. There is nothing inherent to such systems that demands that syntactic and semantic constructs be segregated into different components.

The belief has resulted in functionalists taking the lead in typological research. Indeed, one often makes reference to the 'functional-typological approach' to language. The great majority of functionalists who do not adhere to one of the 'named' functionalist frameworks are not explicit as to how they stand on the issues that divide external and integrative functionalism. I do not think that it is unfair to say that it is common to find, combined within the same work, an integrative theoretical stance and an external analytical practice.

D) 'John read the book' and 'My friend plays tennis' are sentences of the same type (declaratives) . . g. 'They are flying planes' . . , (f) despite superficial similarities, the sentences 'The children laughed at the clown' and 'John worked at the office' are structurally quite distinct. (Chomsky 1955/1975: 62) As is well known, in Syntactic Structures he suggested that the intuitions of speakers of English distinguish the sentences Colorless green ideas sleep furiously and Furiously sleep ideas green colorless: '[They] are equally nonsensical, but any speaker of English will recognize that only the former is grammatical' (1957: 15).

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