Structure and Function – A Guide to Three Major Structural-Functional Theories
Part 2: From clause to discourse and beyond
Christopher S. Butler | Honorary Professor, University of Wales, Swansea
Like its companion volume, this book offers a detailed description and comparison of three major structural-functional theories: Functional Grammar, Role and Reference Grammar and Systemic Functional Grammar, illustrated throughout with corpus-derived examples from English and other languages. Whereas Part 1 confines itself largely to the simplex clause, Part 2 moves from the clause towards the discourse and its context. The first three chapters deal with the areas of illocution, information structuring (topic and focus, theme and rheme, given and new information, etc.), and clause combining within complex sentences. Chapter 4 examines approaches to discourse, text and context across the three theories. The fifth chapter deals with the learning of language by both native and non-native speakers, and applications of the theories in stylistics, computational linguistics, translation and contrastive studies, and language pathology. The final chapter assesses the extent to which each theory attains the goals it sets for itself, and then outlines a programme for the development of an integrated approach responding to a range of criteria of descriptive and explanatory adequacy.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 64] 2003. xiv, 579 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments | p. ix
Preface | p. xi
1. Illocution and related phenomena | pp. 1–60
2. Information structure | pp. 61–182
3. Complex sentences | pp. 183–301
4. Discourse, text and context | pp. 303–398
5. Learning and applying the grammar | pp. 399–449
6. Functional Grammar, Role and Reference Grammar and Systemic Functional Grammar: A final assessment and some pointers to the future | pp. 451–500
Name index | pp. 537–543
Language index | pp. 545–547
Subject index | pp. 549–576
“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
“With his impressive book, Butler cements his great expertise in the area of structure and function. Also those who are not familiar with FG, RRG and SFG can gain a deeper insight into these theories. Notably the discussions of controversial views and the frequent use of diagrams and authentic examples along with a comparison of the approaches under discussion aid the reader in getting an all-embracing grasp of the area. Butler's book has a clear structure and is written in a straight-forward language. Butler's frequent recursions to Volume 1 are helpful for an overall orientation and so are his references back to previously analysed ideas at the beginning of each major section.”
Claudia Sassen, Universitaet Dortmund on Linguist List 14.3054 (2003)
“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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[no author supplied]
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