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Jan Rijkhoff

On the interaction of Linguistic Typology and Functional Grammar

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  • Section for Linguistics
An adequate theory of grammar cannot be developed without being exposed to linguistic facts from a wide variety of typologically different languages, and, conversely, empirical research is best guided by theoretical questions. This contribution is concerned with the interaction of systematic empirical research in a wide variety of languages as practiced in the context of linguistic typology and one particular theory, Simon Dik's theory of Functional Grammar. In my view, the relationship between Functional Grammar and linguistic typology is an excellent example of the fruitful combination of theory driven data collection and data driven hypothesis formation. Furthermore, typological facts do not only serve to confirm the theory of Functional Grammar, but they also serve as a heuristics for an extension of the theory.Research conducted within the wider theoretical framework of Dik's Functional Grammar has resulted in important contributions to linguistic typology, and, vice versa, empirical facts from a wide variety of languages have significantly improved the theory of Functional Grammar, especially regarding its typological adequacy. This article discusses the following contributions to Linguistic Typology: the development of a sound sampling methodology, classification of noun categories (Seinsarten), an account of (so-called) number discord, the introduction of the new grammatical category of nominal aspect, a new typology of classifiers, and a universal concerning the occurrence of adjectives as a distinct word class. Conversely it will be shown that facts from many different languages have played an important role in the development of a layered model of the noun phrase in Functional Grammar and how currently these facts are used to test hypotheses concerning parallels between NPs and clauses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFunctions of Language
Pages (from-to)209-237
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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