On the form-function dichotomy in linguistic theory

Ewa Willim

Abstrakt

This paper focuses on an important divide in theoretical linguistics between two broad perspectives on the structural properties of human languages, generative and functionalist. In the former, linguistic structure is explained in terms of discrete categories and highly abstract principles, which may be language-independent or language-specific and purely formal or functional in nature. In the latter, explanation for why languages have the structure that they do is found ‘outside’ language, in the general principles of human cognition and the communicative functions of language. The aim of this paper is to highlight the need for abstractness, explicitness, simplicity and theoretical economy in linguistic description and explanation. The question is not whether principles of grammar are formal or functional. The question is whether the principles that are postulated to explain linguistic structure express true generalizations.

Słowa kluczowe: form-function mismatches, formal and functional grounding of grammar, linguistic argumentation
References

Baker M. 2001. The atoms of language. New York.

Boeckx C. 2006. Linguistic minimalism. Oxford.

Carruthers P. 2002. The cognitive functions of language. – Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25: 657–726.

Chomsky N. 1995. The minimalist program. Cambridge.

Chomsky N. 2005. Three factors in language design. – Linguistic Inquiry 36: 1–22.

Chomsky N. 2007. Of minds and language. – Biolinguistics 1: 19–27.

Corbett G. 1991. Gender. Cambridge.

Croft W. 1995. Autonomy and functionalist linguistics. – Language 71: 490–532.

Culicover P., Jackendoff R. 2005. Simpler syntax. Oxford.

DeLancey S. 2001. On functionalism. [LSA Summer Institute, Santa Barbara, Lecture Notes (Lecture 1) ]. Santa Barbara.

Fanselow G. 2006. Pure syntax. – Brandt P., Fuss E. (eds.) Form, structure and grammar. Berlin: 137–158.

Fanselow G. 2008. In need of mediation: the relation between syntax and information structure. – Acta Linguistica Hungarica 55: 1–17.

Hopper P., Thompson S. 1984. The discourse basis for lexical categories in universal grammar. – Language 60: 703–752.

Hurford J. 2002. The roles of expression and representation in language evolution. – Wray A. (ed.) The transition to language. Oxford: 311–334.

Jackendoff R. 2003. Précis of ‘Foundations of language: brain, meaning, grammar, evolution’. – Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26: 651–707.

Lakoff G. 1987. Women, fire, and dangerous things. Chicago.

Neeleman A., Weerman F. 1997. L1 and L2 word order acquisition. – Language Acquisition 6: 125–170.

Newmeyer F. 2001. Where is functional explanation? – Chicago Linguistic Society 37: 583–599.

Newmeyer F. 2003. Grammar is grammar and usage is usage. – Language 79: 682–707.

Plaster K., Polinsky M. 2007. Women are not dangerous things: gender and categorization. – Harvard Working Papers in Linguistics 12: 1–44.

Smith N. 2006. History of linguistics: discipline of linguistics. – Brown K. (ed.) The encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Amsterdam: 341–355.

Wierzbicka A. 1985. ‘Oats’ and ‘wheat’: the fallacy of arbitrariness. – Haiman J. (ed.) Iconicity in syntax. Amsterdam: 311–432.

Czasopismo ukazuje się w sposób ciągły on-line.
Pierwotną i jedyną formą czasopisma jest wersja elektroniczna.