Autonomous vs. non-autonomous syntax

Jan Nuyts
Table of contents

The issue of the autonomous vs. non-autonomous nature of linguistic syntax involves the question of whether the patterns of and the general principles behind the structural organization of ‘sentences’ in human natural language can be described and motivated in isolation, that is in fully independent terms, without reference to any nonsyntactic elements (autonomous syntax), or whether they should be described and accounted for in an integrated way, with reference to other linguistic or even nonlinguistic dimensions, such as the semantics of linguistic utterances, the functional context (in the widest sense) of their usage in actual communicative situations, or general principles of mental organization and processing (non-autonomous syntax).

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