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Jan Rijkhoff

Layers, levels and contexts in Functional Discourse Grammar

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  • Section for Linguistics
This contribution has three main goals. Firstly, so as to be able to accommodate classifying modifiers, I will propose a revised model of the noun phrase, which consists of five concentric layers of modification rather than four, as it did in the previous model (section 2). It will also be claimed that discourse-referential modifiers, which are specified at the Interpersonal Level, only relate to the status of the referent in the world of discourse (Rijkhoff forthcoming a; Rijkhoff and Seibt 2005). That is to say, attitudinal modifiers of the kind proposed in Hengeveld (2004b) (see also Hengeveld, this volume; Butler, this volume) are not deemed to have their own slot in the layered model of the noun phrase defended here.
Secondly, I will propose some modifications regarding the contextual component with special attention to noun phrases and argue that external reality (the “context of situation”) needs to be represented by a separate component and that each component of the FDG model constitutes a different kind of context (section 3). A single rule will be proposed to capture the influence of any contextual factor on the form, function or meaning of a linguistic expression.
Section 4, finally, argues that in the current FDG model the Interpersonal Level in the grammatical component contains elements that actually belong to the external component (or “E-context”) and proposes alternative schemas for the NP and the clause without variables for Speaker and Addressee. In this proposal the descriptive modifiers (i.e. classifying, qualifying, quantifying, and localizing modifiers) are specified at the Representational Level (“language as carrier of content”). The Interpersonal Level is regarded as that part of the grammatical component that is concerned with “language as exchange” and accommodates three layers of modification, one for things or events, one for propositions, and one for clauses.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesTrends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs
Number of pages52
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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