LINGUIST List 9.1074

Sat Jul 25 1998

Books: Functional & Systemic Ling

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.


  1. Bernadette Martinez-Keck, Books on Functional Linguistics

Message 1: Books on Functional Linguistics

Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 15:28:02 -0400
From: Bernadette Martinez-Keck <>
Subject: Books on Functional Linguistics

John Benjamins Publishing would like to call your attention to the
four following titles in the field of Functional Linguistics:

A..-M. Simon-Vandenbergen, K. Davidse and D. Niel (eds) (Univ. of
Gent/Univ. of Leuven/ Univ. of Gent) 1997. xii, 212 pp. Current Issues
in Linguistic Theory, 154 US/ Canada: Hb: 1 55619 870 1 Price: USD
79.00 Rest of the World: Hb 90 272 3659 3 Price: NLG 158,--

Although the contributors to this book do not belong to one particular
'school' of linguistic theory, they all share an interest in the
external functions of language in society and in the relationship
between these functions and internal linguistic phenomena. In this
sense, they all take a functional approach to grammatical
issues. Apart from this common starting-point, the contributions share
the aim of demonstrating the non-autonomous nature of morphology and
syntax, and the inadequacy of linguistic models which deal with
syntax, morphology and lexicon in separate, independent
components. The recurrent theme throughout the book is the
inseparability of lexis and morphosyntax, of structure and function,
of grammar and society. The third and more specific common thread is
case, which in some contributions is adduced to illustrate the more
general point of the link between word form on the one hand and
clausal and textual relations on the other hand, while in other papers
it is at the centre of the discussion. The interest of the proposed
volume consists in the fact that it brings together the views of
leading scholars in functional linguistics of various 'denominations'
on the place of morphosyntax in linguistic theory. The book provides
convincing argumentation against a modular theory with autonomous
levels (the dominant framework in mainstream 20th century linguistics)
and is a plea for further research into the connections between the
lexicogrammar and the linguistic and extra-linguistic
context. Contributions by: M.A.K. Halliday; C. Hagege; Robert de
Beaugrande; Pew Sgall; Stanley Starosta; William McGregor; Anna
Siewierska; Marja-Liisa Helasvuo; Karen E. Robblee; Alice Caffarel;
Motoko Hori.

THE LINGUISTICS OF GIVING John Newman (ed.) (Massey University, New
Zealand) 1997. xv, 373 pp. Typological Studies in Language, 36 US/
Canada: Hb: 1 55619 647 4 Price: USD 98.00
 Pb: 1 55619 648 2 Price: USD 34.95
Rest of the World: Hb: 90 272 2933 3 Price: NLG 196,--
 Pb: 90 272 2934 1 Price: NLG 70,--

In this collection of papers, twelve linguists explore a range of
interesting properties of 'give' verbs. The volume offers an in-depth
look at many morphological, syntactic, and semantic properties of
'give' verbs, including both literal and figurative senses, across
languages. Topics include: an apparent zero-morpheme realization of
'give' in a Papuan language; noun plus causative-like suffix
expressing the 'give' concept in Nahuatl; 'give' and other
ditransitive constructions in Zulu; the complex verbal morphologies
associated with 'give' verbs in Chipewyan, Cora, and Sochiapan
Chinantec; the elaborate classificatory system found with 'give' verbs
in Chipewyan and Cora; 'give', 'have' and 'take' constructions in
Slavic languages; the expression of 'give' in American Sign Language;
the origin of the German es gibt construction; the extension of 'give'
to an adverbial marker in Thai, Khmer, and Vietnamese; the syntax and
semantics of Dutch 'give'; first language acquisition of possession

Contributions by: John Robert, David Tuggy, John Taylor, Sally Rice,
Eugene Casad, Phyllis Perrin Wilcox, David Foris, Laura Janda, Theo
Janssen, John Newman, Jae Jung Song, and Michael Tomasello.

Betty Birner & Gregory Ward 1998 xiv 314 pp. Studies in
Language Companion Series 40 US/ Canada: Hb: 1 55619 926 0 Price:
69.00 Rest of the World: Hb: 90 272 3043 9 Price: NLG 138,-- 

This work provides a comprehensive discourse-functional account of
three classes of noncanonical constituent placement in English -
preposing, postposing, and argument reversal - and shows how their
interaction is accounted for in a principled and predictive way. In
doing so, it details the variety of ways in which information can be
'given' or new' and shows how an understanding of this variety allows
us to account for the distribution of these constructions in
discourse. Moreover, the authors show that there exist broad and
empirically verifiable functional correspondences within classes of
syntactically similar constructions. Relying heavily on corpus data,
the authors identify three interacting dimensions along which
individual constructions may vary with respect to the pragmatic
constraints to which they are sensitive: old vs. new information,
relative vs. absolute familiarity, and discourse- vs.
hearer-familiarity. They show that preposed position is reserved for
information that is linked to the prior discourse by means of a
contextually licensed partially-ordered set relationship; postposed
position is reserved for information that is 'new' in one of a small
number of distinct senses; and argument-reversing constructions
require that the information represented by the preverbal constituent
be at least as familiar within the discourse as that represented by
the postverbal constituent. Within each of the three classes of
constructions, individual constructions vary with respect to whether
they are sensitive to familiarity within the discourse or (assumed)
familiarity within the hearer's knowledge store. Thus, although the
individual constructions in question are subject to distinct
constraints, this work provides empirical evidence for the existence
of strong correlations between sentence position and information
status. The final chapter presents crosslinguistic data showing that
these correlations are not limited to English.

Hella Olbertz, Kees Hengeveld & Jesus Sanchez Garcia (eds.)
(University of Amsterdam)
1998. xii, 312 pp. Studies in Language Companion Series, 43
US/ Canada: Hb: 1 55619 929 5 Price: USD 69.00
Rest of the World: Hb: 90 272 3046 3 Price: NLG 138,--

The papers collected in this volume concern five different aspects of
the role of the lexicon in the theory of Functional Grammar as
developed by Simon C. Dik and his co-workers. The volume starts off
with a practical introduction to the Functional - Lexematic Model and
model applications to English, German and Spanish are presented. The
second part of the volume deals with the derivation of action-nouns,
pseudo-reflexive verbs and causative constructions, thus offering new
perspectives on predicate formation within Functional Grammar. This is
followed by a section that centers around an important problem related
to valency: the question of how to account for the collocational
properties of predicates. The fourth part of the book discusses
(non-prototypical) transitive verbs and their relation to the typology
of states of affairs. The final section focuses on the relationship
between the lexicon and the underlying structure of the clause.

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1998 Contributors

  • Addison Wesley Longman
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Garland Publishing
  • Holland Academic Graphics (HAG)
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • Oxford University Press
  • Francais Pratique
  • Routledge
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics
  • Mouton de Gruyter