Dynamicity and dialogue
Perspectives from Functional Discourse Grammar
The article surveys how Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG; Hengeveld & Mackenzie 2008) has responded to Simon Dik’s call for a functional grammar to have ‘psychological adequacy’ and draws parallels to similar initiatives from other approaches. After a brief history of what has later come to be known as cognitive adequacy, the impact of psycholinguistic notions on the architecture of FDG is discussed and exemplified with emphasis on how FDG confronts the tension between the static nature of a pattern model of grammar and the dynamicity of the communicative process. The article then turns to four ways in which FDG has responded in recent years to ongoing work in psycholinguistics. The first concerns how the incrementality of language production, i.e. the gradual earlier-to-later build-up of utterances, has inspired FDG’s coverage of fragmentary discourse acts and its Depth-First Principle. The second, pertaining to the role of prediction in language comprehension, is reflected in the countdown to a clause-final position PF. The third is priming, involving the reuse of elements of structure at all levels of analysis: this interferes with the mapping of function onto form in ways that have been explored in FDG. The fourth is dialogical alignment, the manner in which participants in dialogue mutually accommodate their language use; this has led to new understandings of the respective roles of FDG’s Conceptual and Contextual Components. Taken together, these developments have moved FDG towards modelling dialoguing interactants rather than an isolated speaker.