Functional Discourse Grammar: Multifunctional problems and constructional solutions

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One of Functional Grammar's (FG) most important features is the so-called LAYERED STRUCTURE OF THE CLAUSE (LSC). The LSC is used as both a descriptive and explanatory construct, dividing the linguistic world into various hierarchically related layers, such as predicate, predication, and proposition layers. But problems with the LSC eventually led to the development of Functional Discourse Grammar, which divides FG's unitary LSC into two layers, the Interpersonal and Representational and also adds a third, Syntactic Layer, a long-standing desideratum for FG.Nevertheless, the present article argues that there are several problems remaining in FDG's LSC, namely, the place of operators and satellites, the use of a quasi-predicate logic notation, and the insertion of lexemes as parts-of-speech in the Representational Layer.Moreover, the third of these problems relates to a deeper issue, which concerns the understanding of what SEMANTICS refers to in FDG. Specifically, should it refer only those interpersonal/representational distinctions that are relevant to syntax, or should it embrace conceptualisation more broadly and refer to the speaker's intended meaning? Through a consideration of MULTIFUNCTIONALITY, the latter, broader definition of conceptually-relevant semantics is deemed superior, because multifunctionality requires a prising apart of the one-to-one function-to-form bond between semantics and syntax implicit in FDG. It is suggested that a reinterpretation of FDG along the lines of Construction Grammar offers a way of accounting for such multifunctionality satisfactorily.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-859
Number of pages29
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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