Structure and Function – A Guide to Three Major Structural-Functional Theories
Part 1: Approaches to the simplex clause
This book and its companion volume present a detailed guide to three major structural-functional theories: Functional Grammar, Role and Reference Grammar and Systemic Functional Grammar. This first volume provides the necessary background through a discussion of the characteristics of functional theories, followed by a brief analysis of six approaches to language in the light of this discussion. These chapters lead to a characterization of a smaller set of ‘structural-functional grammars’, among which FG, RRG and SFG are central. An overview of each of these theories in relation to the simplex clause is then presented, followed by a more critical comparison. The remainder of the book deals with the structure and meaning of phrasal units, the representation of situations, and the treatment of tense, aspect, modality and polarity, across the three theories. A major feature of the book is the use of examples from corpora of English and other languages, which serve not only to exemplify theoretical and descriptive claims, but also at times to challenge them.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 63] 2003. xx, 573 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements | p. xiii
Preface | p. xv
1. Functionalist approaches to language | pp. 1–31
2. Functionalism, structural functionalism and structural-functional grammars: An examination of six approaches to language | pp. 33–62
3. The clause in Functional Grammar: An introduction | pp. 63–117
4. The clause in Role and Reference Grammar: An introduction | pp. 119–151
5. The clause in Systematic Functional Grammar: An introduction | pp. 153–197
6. An interim critical comparison of approaches | pp. 199–249
7. The structure and meaning of phrasal units | pp. 251–336
8. Representing situations | pp. 337–448
9. Temporality, aspectuality, modality and polarity | pp. 449–509
Name index | pp. 535–539
Language index | pp. 541–542
Subject index | pp. 543–570
“Christopher Butler is one of the very few linguists who not only knows about a whole series of functional frameworks, but actually masters them in great detail. In this truly comprehensive work he uses this knowledge to provide clear introductions to each of the theories separately, to compare the way they handle a whole range of issues central to linguistic theory, and to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. But an even more important feature of this work is that Butler comes up with many insightful suggestions about the ways in which each of the functional theories discussed could profit from the ideas developed in the other frameworks. This book merits careful attention by all those engaged in the further elaboration of a functional theory of language, and by those who are interested in the development of grammatical theory in general.”
Kees Hengeveld, University of Amsterdam
“This book is a formidable piece of scholarship. It is especially impressive in two regards. First, it presents detailed expositions of three linguistic theories with which the author has been personally involved, and therefore he can write as something of an insider about each. His thorough knowledge of each theory makes it possible for him to do the kind of perceptive, detailed cross-theoretical comparisons which are often lacking in contemporary linguistic scholarship. Second, virtually all of the data used in the book to illustrate the theories is drawn from the British National Corpus or from corpora of Spanish and other languages; it is 'live' data, not artificially constructed examples. Butler has really achieved something here: by using corpus data exclusively, he has in effect tested the three theories against real sentences from English and other languages, and the extent to which they can handle them is a significant validation of the approaches.”
Robert D. Van Valin Jr., University of Buffalo
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