New Perspectives on Argument Structure in Functional Grammar

New Perspectives on Argument Structure in Functional Grammar

New Perspectives on Argument Structure in Functional Grammar

New Perspectives on Argument Structure in Functional Grammar


The present monograph deals with lexical representation and linking within the framework of Functional Grammar. The notion of predicate frame as originally proposed in 1978 and subsequent refinements of the theory are challenged in that a new format of representing argument taking properties is formulated. This new format opens new lines of research towards the design of a new linking algorithm in Functional Grammar.


Since Dik (1978), Functional Grammar (FG) has undergone a number of substantial modifications. Many of the refinements of the theory have been oriented towards enriching the structure of the clause by giving it a multi-layered dimension (Dik [1989] 1997a, 1997b; Hengeveld 1989), as well as providing an in-depth account of pragmatic functions (Connolly et. al. 1997). A great effort has also been made to elaborate higher units of description at the discourse level (Hengeveld 1997, to appear; Kroon 1997). However, other aspects of the theory such as expression rules, the internal structure of the lexicon, and the syntax-semantics interface have not received the attention they evidently deserve, notable exceptions being Bakker (1999, 2001) and Olbertz et. al. (1998) for the expression rule component and the internal structure of the lexicon, respectively.

The FG lexical component–the Fund–consists of a lexicon, a set of predicate formation rules, which account for derivational processes, and a set of term formation rules. In the lexicon, each basic predicate is represented in the form of a predicate frame, which also contains some specification of the meaning of the predicate. The predicate frame is conceived of as a construct that plays a vital role in the construction of underlying predications and in the instruction of the expression rule component to produce the appropriate output.

J. Lachlan Mackenzie, starting from a discourse perspective, offers a complete account of the role of predicate frames in the existing theory. The author also evaluates other types of research that constitute a radical reformulation of the very notion of predicate frame. This results in a complete picture of the state of the art in argument structure representation in FG. He also touches upon other controversial issues within the theory, such as the status of Predicate Formation Rules.

Against this general background, this volume investigates a number of possible innovations within the lexical component of FG.

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