Language Form and Language Function


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.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. 1. The Form-Function Problem in Linguistics
  3. 2. The Boundaries of Grammar
  4. 3. Internal and External Explanation in Linguistics
  5. 4. On Syntactic Categories
  6. 5. Deconstructing Grammaticalization
  7. 6. Language Typology and Its Difficulties
  8. Chapter 7 Conclusion
  9. References
  10. Name Index
  11. Subject Index