"Newmeyer is surely the most authoritative and fairest voice urging
formalist and functionalist linguists to attend to one another's work.
This book makes a strong case that the two sides do have things to say
to one another, and I hope each will heed Newmeyer's injunction to
listen to the other."
-- Stephen R. Anderson, Yale University
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.