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Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 17:18:52 +0200 From: Freek Van de Velde Subject: Crucial Readings in Functional Grammar
EDITORS: Anstey, Matthew P.; Mackenzie, J. Lachlan TITLE: Crucial Readings in Functional Grammar SERIES: Functional Grammar Series 26 PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter YEAR: 2005
Freek Van de Velde, Department of Linguistics, University of Leuven (Belgium)
PURPOSE AND CONTENTS
'Crucial Readings in Functional Grammar' is a collection of 11 papers each of which has contributed significantly to the development of Functional Grammar (FG), as originally conceived and later elaborated by the late S.C. Dik (1978, 1989, 1997a, 1997b). Covering a wide range of topics, from clause combining to the architecture of the lexicon, it provides an historical and theoretical background to FG and to the recent advancements which have led to its successor 'Functional Discourse Grammar' (FDG) (Mackenzie & Gómez-González 2004; Hengeveld & Mackenzie fc). As such, it is complementary to e.g. Anstey (2004). Each article is followed by a short chapter under the heading 'further reading' pointing out the impact the contribution at issue has had on subsequent research. The book concludes with a list of books and doctoral dissertations that are supportive of the framework of FG.
In the Introduction the editors, ANSTEY and MACKENZIE discuss the general outline and purpose of the book, and describe the 'external history' of FG: its geographical focal points, its conferences, its website and its major exponents. In addition, the internal history is cursorily touched upon: the authors refer to the eclectic nature of the model "combining the explicitness and generativity of Chomskyan grammar, the semantics of Case Grammar, the syntax of Relational Grammar and (implicitly) the pragmatics of the Prague School" (this volume: ix, citing Anstey 2004). Central to the model are the rejection of transformational operations and the embracing of a fully functionalistic approach to language, in that syntax is deemed to be semantically motivated. In this way, FG aims to meet the standards of typological, pragmatic and psychological adequacy (Dik 1997a). The authors give an overview of the development of FG during the eighties and the nineties to a full-fledged theory encompassing a broad range of domains in linguistics, theoretical as well as applied, syntactic as well as pragmatic. Two hallmarks of FG, the layered structure of the clause introduced by Hengeveld (this volume ) on the one hand and the growing interest in discourse on the other, enhanced the descriptive and explanatory power of the theory but at the same time turned out to be a fragmentation bomb. The precise nature and amount of the different layers and the suited place to implement discourse material, are both subject to current debate. Those espousing the extension of the layered structure to the discourse level ("upward layering") find themselves challenged by those who advocate the relegation of discourse operations to a separate module ("modular approach") (Hengeveld 2004b). The metamorphosis of FG into FDG is an attempt to reconcile various scholars subscribing to opposite strands of thought.
The introduction concludes with a note on what is not in the book. One the one hand, articles on traditional areas such as phonology and morphosyntax are absent, because FG has by and large remained silent about them. On the other hand, due to space limitations and the specific set-up of the book, articles are missing on subjects that FG did attend to, like "expression rules of FG, modality in FG, the growing impact of corpus linguistics, the relation between FG and other models, and on applications of the theory in computer linguistics" (this volume: xii).
The first article in the collection is a reprint of HENGEVELD's famous 'Layers and Operators in Functional Grammar', originally published in 1989. It is the only article in the volume that dates from before the nineties, but its inclusion is justified by the profound impact it has had on the overall design of the theory of FG. Hengeveld borrowed the concept of layering from Foley & Van Valin (1984) to give a neat account of modality, clause combining and the relative ordering of Tense, Aspect and Mood (TAM) morphemes. The basic idea is that a full clause is a successive expansion of different layers, each selecting its own modifiers (satellites and operators). A crucial distinction is made between the lower representational layers on the one hand, and the higher interpersonal layers on the other. In line with the general assumption of FG that the underlying structure is to be primarily understood in semantic terms (cf. Dik 1997a, Anstey 2004), the layering Hengeveld proposes is motivated in a semantic way, in that the various layers refer to entity types of different order in a way that is reminiscent of Lyons (1977: 442ff.). In a subsequent part of the paper, Hengeveld focuses on operators (grammatically expressed modifiers). The semantic categories the operators fall into are aligned with the various layers. To take the TAM-morphemes as an example: Aspect is argued to attach to layer 1 (hosting the predicate), Tense and objective Mood are on the predicational layer 2 and subject and evidential Mood on the propositional layer 3. The allocation of the operators to distinct layers yields an elegant account for their relative order (in line with ideas of Bybee 1985), for constraints on their use in various constructions and for scope effects in their interaction. The last part of the paper is devoted to satellites (lexically expressed modifiers), which transpire to behave similarly. The integration of satellites in the layered structure of the clause will be extensively pursued in the paper of Dik e.a. (this volume: 169-218).
The second paper is RIJKHOFF's 'Toward a Unified Analysis of Terms and Predications', published in 1990. Rijkhoff shows how the layered structure of the clause, as discusses by Hengeveld in the previous paper, can be extended to the structure of the noun phrase (NP) (or 'terms' as NPs are called in FG) as well. As was already mentioned, the underlying layered structure is of a semantic nature, so if there should be any correspondence between layered clause structure and layered term structure, some common meaning has to be found. To provide this joint meaning, Rijkhoff appeals to Aristotle's distinction between 'quality', 'quantity' and 'location'. Applied to the term, each of these domains qualifies a different modification slot. The tripartite division of the term is largely analogous to some older work on NP structure distinguishing between an adjective slot, a quantifier slot and a determiner slot (cf. e.g. Van der Lubbe 1958 on Dutch NPs). Rijkhoff's three layers relate to two of the clausal layers: the quality layer corresponds to layer 1 and the quantity layer as well as the locality layer both correspond to layer 2. This leads Rijkhoff to put forward a split-up in the predicational layer 2 in clauses, which he justifies by signalling the scope differences between frequentative markers (quantity) and tense markers (locality).
Contrary to traditional descriptions of NP structure, Rijkhoff's main interest is in the field of the operators. Quite innovatively, he draws a parallel between verbal aspect ("Aktionsart") and nominal aspect ("Seinsart"), also situated at layer 1. In the verbal realm, he discerns four aspectual distinctions, which he arrives at by the cross- classification of the features [beginning] and [ending]. This yields 'imperfective' (unmarked for beginning, unmarked for ending), 'ingressive' (marked for beginning, unmarked for ending), 'egressive' (unmarked for beginning, marked for ending) and 'perfective' (marked for beginning and marked for ending). In the nominal domain, the features are [structure] and [shape], yielding 'conceptual' (unmarked for structure, unmarked for shape), 'mass' (marked for structure, unmarked for shape), 'individual' (unmarked for structure, marked for shape) and 'collective' (marked for structure and marked for shape). In later work on nominal aspect, the distinctions have been slightly altered: the feature [structure] has been replaced by [homogeneity] and instead of a division between 'marked' and 'unmarked', the feature has got three potential values: nouns are now argued to be either positively or negatively marked for homogeneity or unmarked for the feature at issue. The aforementioned foursome of nouns has been extended with general nouns and set nouns (for details: Rijkhoff 2002: 28-59).
The quantity layer 2 hosts the number markers whereas the locality layer 3 hosts the deictic elements. After having introduced these layers in detail, scope effects and the relative order of the morphological markers are discussed to corroborate the parallelism between the clause and the noun phrase: both on the semantic and on the formal side, the layered structure of the clause and of the term display similar behaviour. The correspondence between clauses and terms is less straightforward in the domain of satellites, however. In canonical FG, all term modifiers are considered to be restrictors, incrementally narrowing down the intension, yet nothing similar to those restrictors is postulated at clause level. The problematic relation between restrictors and satellites is still unresolved in FG (cf. Keizer 2004).
In the 'further reading' section, reference is made to the revisions Rijkhoff's account has been subjected to in the past years, most notably the introduction of a separate layer for definiteness and specificity. This prefigures the FDG design that relegates these discourse categories to the interpersonal module (Hengeveld 2004a,b).
In the third article 'Parts of Speech' (1992) by HENGEVELD, two major innovations to the theory of FG are suggested. The first is the introduction of a variable for each predicate (the introduction of predicate variables is also at issue in Keizer (this volume: 109-139), infra). Justification for this suggestion comes from two phenomena: firstly, predicates may be anaphorically referred to, and secondly, they may serve as an antecedent for relativization. The advantages of adding these variables become apparent in different areas: first, it is a helpful addition to the description of some kinds of verb complementation. Next, it proves useful in the treatment of term- predicates (details: 81-82). Moreover, the availability of term variables appears necessary to account for anaphora to attributive adjectives and for submodification (details: 83). By the same token, anaphoric reference can be made to illocutionary predicates and this similarly calls for a predicate variable (84).
The second innovation is the account Hengeveld gives for parts of speech. He distinguishes four parts of speech (Verb, Noun, Adjectives and Adverbs), which can each function as the first restrictor (head) of a predicate phrase, by virtue of their predicate variable, so to speak. The part of speech such a predicate phrase consists of constrains the functions it can fulfil. In typological research, these constraints in turn can be used as a heuristic to the part of speech that is involved. To give an example: when a predicate can only be used predicatively, it is a verbal one.
Hengeveld applies his part of speech system to typological data, and comes up with a distinction between 'flexible' and 'rigid' languages. Rigid languages are those in which different parts of speech are separated: a particular word cannot be used as a nominal and as a verbal predicate. Flexible languages, on the other hand are those in which one word can fulfil different functions, and seems to belong to different parts of speech. In Dutch for example, there is no formal difference between adjectives and (manner) adverbs. Both rigid and flexible languages differ, however, in how many parts of speech they actually possess: a particular language may have only verbs and nouns, but no adjectives. This means that there will be no attributive modifier in noun phrases. The advantage of Hengeveld's description is that it distinguishes between, say a rigid language that only has adjectives but no adverbs on the one hand, and a flexible language that does not differentiate between adjectives and adverbs on the other. Or, to take another example, between a rigid language that has only verbs on the one hand, and an extremely flexible language where all words can be used in all kinds of constructions. Interestingly, the four parts of speech can be ordered in a hierarchy (Verb > Noun > Adjective > Adverb), such that "a category of predicates is more likely to occur as a separate part of speech the more to the left it is in this hierarchy" (96).
As the 'further reading' section rightly points out, this article's importance "has lain in the link that has been forged between FG and typological work on diverse languages".
The fourth article is KEIZER's 1992 paper 'Predicates as Referring Expressions'. In essence, it deals with the issue of predicate variables, and as such bears much resemblance to Hengeveld's (contemporaneous) proposal (this volume ), though it discusses the matter in a more extensive way. Moreover, Keizer draws attention to the inconsistency in the differentiated ontology that forms the basis of the layered structure (cf. supra) as a result of the FG treatment of terms: terms can refer to any kind of entity, whereas the different layers that together build up the clause refer unequivocally to one kind of entity. Hence terms cannot be the structural unit exclusively embodying first order entity types (for details: 114-115). Keizer's solution is the introduction of the "predicator" as the first restrictor of terms referring to first order entity types. In that way, it is situated in between the predicate, which functions as the first restrictor of a term referring to a zero-order entity type and the predication, the first restrictor of a term referring to a second order entity type.
The next section in Keizer's paper is on reference, which is fairly liberally defined: not only first order entities, both also higher order entities are argued to refer. In addition, even zero-order entities (predicates) are taken to have referring function. The major advantage of Keizer's approach is her well-designed outline of various kinds of copular sentences, which together with a discussion of the implications her model has on topic assignment forms the bulk of the rest of the paper.
The fifth paper is MACKENZIE's (1992) article 'Places and Things', which deals with issues related to that in Keizer (this volume ): it explores the nature of reference, in particular with regard to the difference between places and things. Mackenzie argues that places, times and attributes have no entity-status, although reference to them is perfectly feasible. Basically, he claims that 'places' form a category of their own, quite distinct from regular entities. He supports his line of thought by arguments from philosophy as well as by linguistic data (notably the pronominal system), and quite a lot of effort is put into the implementation of his ideas in to the theory of FG. The most remarkable modification to the FG model is his proposal to provide spatial prepositions with their own predicate variable, which is of course equally used for places. The need for such a predicate variable can be deduced from the fact that place-referring terms do not always have locational function (146). This observation, together with the observation that places seem to be able to be referred to by entity-referring pronominals ('this' instead of 'here' for example) leads Mackenzie to distinguish between three kinds of opposition: locational vs. non-locational semantic functions, place-denotation vs. entity- denotation and place-reference vs. entity-reference, which not necessarily coincide, to account for all sorts of construction in English (details: 149ff.).
'The Hierarchical Structure of The Clause and The Typology of Adverbial Satellites' (1990) by DIK, HENGEVELD, VESTER & VET is the sixth article to be included in the volume. It builds further on Hengeveld (this volume ) by applying the layered structure of the clause to all kinds of satellites: adverbs, extra participants, subordinate clauses etc. A typology of satellites is arrived at by analyzing both their internal complexity and the way they are attached to the main clause in terms of layered structure. For adverbials, this yields a classification that is analogous to that of (a.o.) Greenbaum (1969), but it is more fine-grained and it has the advantage that the adverbials are further subcategorized by their internal organization. Evidence comes initially from semantic arguments, but corroboration is given by phenomena from such diverse areas as pragmatic function assignment, scope effects, subject and object assignment, predicate formation, semantic constraints on the occurrence of satellites, ordering and position differences, paraphrase possibilities et cetera (for details concerning this sometimes theory-specific terminology: 183- 205). The authors end on a note on the distinction between restrictive and non-restrictive satellites, which appears to tie up with the layered structure of the clause.
HARDER's (1992) 'Semantic Content and Linguistic Structure in Functional Grammar. On the Semantics of "Nounhood''' deals with topics related to some of those signalled in Keizer (this volume ), Hengeveld (this volume ) and Mackenzie (this volume ), albeit from a quite different perspective.
Harder is concerned with "the philosophical underpinnings of Functional Grammar" (this volume: 246) and raises some critique to the architecture of underlying structure in FG, a feature it has in common with Chomskyan approaches (cf. supra). He clearly points out the risk of circularity in explaining a surface form by making appeal to an underlying form there is no direct empirical evidence for. He emphasizes the need to define the underlying structure solely on semantic grounds. This entails a purification of FG's underlying structure, retaining only those elements that can be semantically motivated and - in turn - empirically controlled by matching them up with surface expressions.
All this immediately raises the question about the nature of coded meaning. Harder is much in favour of a "pragmatic" model that is addressee-oriented: linguistic expressions are regarded as instructions to guide the interpretation process of the addressee. Expanding on this idea, Harder notices the link between FG on the one hand, and other approaches like Discourse Representation Theory, Procedural Semantics, Relevance Theory and Cognitive Grammar (224).
Another concern of the author is the distinction between process and product in grammar. His view of meaning as instructions to the addressee links up with the idea that grammar describes not so much the product as the process of language production. The discussion between the two views on language will gain importance in the late nineties, and no consensus seems to have been reached (cf. Mackenzie & Gómez-González 2004, Hengeveld 2004b, and the 'further reading' section to this article 246-248).
Next, Harder draws a distinction between 'terms' and 'predicates', corresponding to the difference between 'onoma' and 'rhema', 'subject' and 'predicate' or 'noun' and 'verb' (226-227), the major difference being that the latter term in the opposition is semantically 'incomplete', in contrast to the 'complete' former term.
After these theoretical reflections, the author probes the semantics of noun phrases. He strips them from their predicate logic design, doing away for instance with variables and restrictors. He restates the semantics of the term as an instruction to the addressee, in line of what he has put forward in his theoretical discussion. The basic semantic instruction a term contains is an appeal to the addressee "to conceive of something that can carry properties". Information about nominal aspect is not inherent in the noun, but is bestowed to it by additional instructions. As for 'word classes', Harder pleads for a semantic foundation of their definition, in terms of his distinction between complete terms and incomplete verbs (cf. supra). In another chapter, he assesses the FG view on reference and definiteness. He suggests that "the term 'reference' is only necessary for definite reference" (235), and suggest to dispose of it. With regard to definiteness, his view turns out to be in accordance with the standard view of FG to a large extent.
'On Assigning Pragmatic Functions in English' is a long excerpt of a 1991 article by MACKENZIE & KEIZER. After contemplating on the process versus product problem in FG (cf. supra), the authors carry out a thorough examination of the notions Topic and Focus respectively. FG has a rather convoluted classification (Dik 1997a, Ch.13). What a stretch of discourse is about is called 'Discourse Topics' in FG. Discourse Topics are subdivided into New Topics, Given Topics, Resumed Topics and Subtopics. Focus, on the other hand, is subclassified into New (Completive) Focus and Contrastive Focus. The former is in turn subclassified into Non-Emphatic New Focus (Assertive focus) and Emphatic New Focus, itself subdivided into Contrastive New Focus (Parallel Focus) and Non-contrastive New Focus. The latter (Contrastive Focus) is subclassified into Parallel Focus and Counter-Presuppositional Focus, itself subdivided into Replacing Focus, Expanding Focus, Restricting Focus and Selecting Focus. In addition, Topic and Focus interact in a complicated manner with the concepts Given and New. As becomes clear from the labels, the subclassification of Topic and Focus is largely based on the Given- New distinction. Although the two dimensions (Topic-Focus; Given- New) are of course closely related, they are still regarded as separate dimensions in FG. This has some awkward consequences: New Topics are in essence topical and focal at the same time. In §3.4, the authors expand on all other sorts of problems with the relation between these two notions (Topic/Focus and Given/New). Their solution to the problems with the application of the FG pragmatic functions in English is to jettison the idea of Topic function in English, as there seem to be no formal characteristics ("special treatment") of Topics in this language, whereas there are in fact special constructions for Focus constituents. The rest of the article is devoted to an assessment of the consequences of their analysis.
In 'The Utterance as Unit of Description: Implications for Functional Grammar' HANNAY partakes in the discussion, already alluded to in the introduction, about whether FG should extend its layered structure upward to the discourse level or should adopt a modular approach with a separate module for grammatical and discourse properties respectively. Hannay links up this discussion with the process or product discussion. Through an analysis of "non-clausal message units" (sentences consisting of 'fragments') and other constructions (adverbial clause combining, non-restrictive relative clauses and illocutionary satellites), the author suggests that elements other than the clause can equally function as an utterance. Such elements are by no means 'incomplete'. This article can be seen as an endorsement of the top-down approach, where the speaker attends to discourse issues at the interpersonal layers before he arrives at the representational level.
VET's (1998) 'The Multilayered Structure of the Utterance' critically examines Hengeveld's layered structure of the clause (this volume ), concentrating on the representation of direct speech: the speech act status which Hengeveld assigns to it, is called into question. The modifications Vet suggests to account for mismatches between speech act and grammatical form lead to a modular approach, which is later taken up in FDG (Mackenzie & Gómez- González 2004).
The final chapter is MINGORANCE's 'Functional Grammar and Lexematics in Lexicography', providing a theoretical foundation of the design of the lexicon in FG, a component that is somewhat neglected in Dik 1997a.
As was pointed out in the introduction, this book is a welcome resource for those who want to know more about FG than what is amassed in Dik (1997a,b). It expands on some issues that were not entirely satisfactorily accounted for (e.g. cf. Rijkhoff), not well elaborated (e.g. Mingorance), or subject to controversy in standard FG (e.g. Vet). Other articles bridge the gap between FG and its successor FDG (e.g. Hannay) and still other articles seem to have been included as landmarks in the development of the theory of FG, showing its descriptive power (e.g. Dik et al.), notably in typological research (e.g. Hengeveld ). (This is not to say that the other articles do not add to the descriptive power of the model, of course.)
The selection covers a wide range of topics (clause syntax, noun phrase syntax, pragmatics, lexicon, semantics, discourse), although there is perhaps too much overlap in the contributions by Hengeveld , Keizer, Mackenzie and Harder, all of which indeed originally appeared in one and the same thematic issue. Then again, if some matters turn out to be of more central concern to a particular framework, these predilections should perhaps be mirrored in the selection. I assume a compilation of articles of a more formal creed would possibly display an inclination towards WH-dependencies, island constraints or raising phenomena for instance. Nevertheless, in view of the absence of such influential FG papers as Vet (1986) or Bolkestein (1992), which doubtlessly deserved to be included in this volume, the selection seems somewhat askew. One (admittedly trifling) remark on the editing work: mention of the source of the articles collected is not always consistent: original page numbers are missing in Hengeveld , Keizer, Mackenzie, Harder; publication date is missing in Hannay, Mingorance and publisher is missing in Hengeveld , Keizer, Mackenzie, Dik et al.
Most of the articles originally appeared in volumes that are widely available. One may hence raise the question whether there really was any need for this collection as a separate book. However, it may be argued that the publication of this book has to be seen as a sort of codification of FG as a full-fledged framework slightly past its heyday of the nineties, which is thus shown not to rest solely on the two- volume-length account of Dik (1997a,b), but has also attracted the interest of a wide range of scholars, who leave a legacy which persists in FDG. Another benefit of this compilation in book form is the 'further reading' sections, which contribute to the understanding of the 'Wirkungsgeschichte' of FG.
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MACKENZIE, J. L. & M. A. GÓMEZ-GONZÁLEZ (eds.) 2004. A new architecture for Functional Grammar. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
MACKENZIE, J. L. & M. A. GÓMEZ-GONZÁLEZ (eds.) fc. Studies in Functional Discourse Grammar. Berne: Peter Lang.
RIJKHOFF, J. 2002. The Noun Phrase. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Freek Van de Velde is a PhD student in linguistics at the University of Leuven (Belgium). He is currently preparing a dissertation on the diachrony of the noun phrase in Dutch (supervised by Joop Van der Horst). His main research interests are historical syntax and morphology, Dutch syntax, typology.