By T. Givón
This publication is Prof. Givón's long-awaited serious exam of the basic theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the functionalist method of grammar. It demanding situations functionalists to take their very own drugs and identify non-circular empirical definitions of either 'function' and 'structure'. Ideological hand-waving, even though fervent and right-thinking, is seldom an sufficient replacement for analytic rigor and empirical accountability. If the reductionist extremism of a number of the structuralist faculties is to be challenged on stable highbrow grounds, the problem can't itself be both severe in its reductionism.
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Extra resources for Functionalism and Grammar
Saw the woman on the couch, d. looked at her briefly e. and wondered why she was there. ⇐ break in referential f. After a minute she looked at him... continuity g. * , (she) looked at him and... ⇐ unacceptable alternative to f. 18 A break in any of these sub components of coherence precipitates more finite marking of the clause. If subordinate clauses were to be considered structurally more complex, and if such presumed complexity had any cognitive basis, then the relevant notion of complexity must be norm-dependent.
But such correlations come in a variety of logical types: • one-to-many • many-to-one • one-to-one The first two are biases (one-way) conditional associations; the third is a twoway (bi-conditional) association. There is much to be gained from learning to appreciate the difference, an exercise that requires relatively little formal training. And many glaring fallacies in our work can be directly traced to our disdain for the logic of conditional association (see chapter 7). 4. Community I left the issue of communal coherence for last because I am somewhat wary of raising it.
11 It is possible, at least up to a point, to talk about the meaning of words without invoking their propositional context. But PROSPECTUS 15 it is impossible to specify the propositional information of an event clause without reference to the lexical meaning of their participant entities. Likewise, it is possible at least in principle to understand the propositional information packed into an event clause without reference to its discourse context. But it is impossible to understand a coherent discourse without understanding the propositional information of its component clauses.
Functionalism and Grammar by T. Givón