Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
compass logo


Wiley-Blackwell Language & Linguistics Compass Discussion Forum



Post a comment about this article!
 
Title: Grammatical Categories and Relations: Universality vs. Language-Specificity ....
Author(s): Sonia Cristofaro
Journal Title: Language and Linguistics Compass
Volume: 3
Issue: 1
Page Range: 441-479
Publication Date: Dec-2008
Abstract: A long-standing assumption in linguistic analysis is that different languages and constructions can be described in terms of the same grammatical categories and relations. Individual grammatical categories and relations are in fact often assumed to be universal. Grammatical categories and relations display however different properties across different languages and constructions, which challenges the idea that the same categories and relations should actually be posited in each case. These facts have been dealt with in two major ways in the functional-typological literature. In a widespread approach, the same categories and relations are posited for different languages and constructions provided that these all have categories and relations that display some selected properties. In a more recent approach, this idea is abandoned, and grammatical categories and relations are argued to be language-specific and construction-specific. This article provides a critical review of these approaches, and a comparison is made with some generatively oriented approaches. In particular, it is argued that a distinction should be made between two views of grammatical categories and relations. In one view, grammatical categories and relations are classificatory labels indicating that a variety of linguistic elements display some selected property. In another view, grammatical categories and relations are proper components of a speaker's mental grammar. While cross-linguistically valid (or possibly universal) and cross-constructionally valid categories and relations can be posited when classifying linguistic elements based on observed grammatical patterns, there is no obvious evidence that such categories and relations exist at the level of mental representation. This is, however, because of the absence of conclusive evidence about the organization of a speaker's mental grammar, rather than because of the linguistic evidence as such.

See FULL TEXT
Click here to
read the FULL TEXT of this article on Wiley-Blackwell Language & Linguistics Compass!


Comment Board

Join the Discussion!

Add your voice!
Use the form below to post your own comment to this discussion.
Required fields are marked by a *
(Email addresses will not be displayed)
Display Name:
* First name:
* Last Name:
* Email:
* Subject:
* Comment:
* Comment must be less than 4,000 characters
To prevent the use of this form by spam robots, please fill in this (case-sensitive) password:
CAPTCHA Image