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On understanding grammar

Author: Talmy Givón
Publisher: Amsterdam ; Philadelphia : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2018.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : English : Revised editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
In his foreword to the original edition of this classic of functionalism, typology and diachrony, Dwight Bolinger wrote: "I foresee it as one of the truly prizes statements of our current knowledge?a book about understanding done with deep understanding? of language and its place in Nature and in the nature of humankind? The book is rich in insights, even for those who have been with linguistics for a long time. And  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Givón, Talmy, 1936-
On understanding grammar.
Amsterdam ; Philadelphia : John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2018
(DLC) 2017045529
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Talmy Givón
ISBN: 9789027264718 9027264716
OCLC Number: 1008771471
Description: 1 online resource
Contents: Machine generated contents note: ch. 1 Fact, method and explanation: On the recalcitrant legacy of structuralism --
1.1. Orientation --
1.2. Saussure's firewall --
1.3. Structuralism and the philosophy of science --
1.4. three dogmas of structuralism --
1.4.1. Arbitrariness --
1.4.2. Idealization: Langue vs. parole --
1.4.3. Segregation: Synchrony vs. diachrony --
1.5. Latter-day structuralism --
1.6. Explanatory biology: Aristotle revisited --
1.7. Synchrony as diachrony --
1.7.1. Example: The diachronic typology of passive constructions --
1.7.2. diachronic provenance of synchronic structural properties --
1.7.3. Grammatical relations in the passive clause --
1.8. Closure --
Abbreviations of grammatical terms --
ch. 2 Toward a discourse definition of syntax: The communicative correlates of grammar --
2.1. Antecedence --
2.2. role of grammar in human information processing --
2.2.1. Overview: The functional organization of language --
2.2.2. conceptual lexicon --
2.2.3. Propositional information --
2.2.4. Multi-propositional discourse --
2.2.5. interaction between words, propositions and discourse --
2.3. communicative function of grammar --
2.3.1. Grammar as a structural code --
2.3.2. Grammar as communicative function --
2.4. Theme-and-variation in syntax and the markedness of clause-types --
2.4.1. Overview --
2.4.2. Theme and variations in syntax --
2.4.3. text-frequency distribution of major clause-types --
2.5. grammar of referential coherence --
2.5.1. Preliminaries --
2.5.2. Discourse structure and referential coherence --
2.5.3. High-continuity devices --
2.5.4. Low continuity devices --
2.5.5. Quantitative text-distribution of referent-coding devices --
2.5.6. Word order and referential continuity --
2.6. Cataphoric aspects of topicality --
2.6.1. Methodological preliminaries --
2.6.2. Indefiniteness and cataphoric topicality --
2.6.2.1. semantics of reference --
2.6.2.2. numeral òne' as an indefinite marker in Modern Hebrew --
2.6.2.3. numeral òne' as an indefinite marker in Krio --
2.6.2.4. demonstrative ̀this' as an indefinite marker in English --
2.7. Voice constructions and cataphoric topicality --
2.7.1. Anaphoric vs. catephoric zero --
2.7.2. functional domain of pragmatic voice --
2.7.3. Cataphoric zero in passive clauses --
2.7.3.1. Prelude: Typology and functional domains --
2.7.3.2. diachrony of the zeroed-out agents in non-promotional passives --
2.7.3.3. Diachrony of the zeroed-out agents in promotional passives --
2.8. Cataphoric zero in antipassive clauses --
2.8.1. Functional definition of antipassive voice --
2.8.2. diachronic typology of zero in antipassives --
2.8.3. Zero, incorporation, and the rise of antipassive morphology --
2.9. Closure --
Abbreviation of grammatical terms --
ch. 3 Negation in language: Between semantics and pragmatics --
3.1. Logic, psycho-logic and pragmatics --
3.2. puzzling distributional restrictions on referring indefinite objects --
3.3. communicative pragmatics of negation --
3.4. Negative assertion as a distinct speech-act --
3.5. cognitive status of negation --
3.5.1. Change vs. stasis --
3.5.2. ontology of negative events --
3.5.3. ontology of negative states --
3.6. scope of negation --
3.6.1. Presupposition, assertion and negation --
3.6.2. Negation and contrastive focus --
3.6.3. Negation and optional constituents --
3.6.4. Grammatical marking of the scope of assertion --
and negation --
3.7. Negation and social interaction --
3.8. Closure --
Abbreviations of grammatical terms --
ch. 4 grammar of case: Semantic role, pragmatic function, morphology and syntactic control --
4.1. Introduction --
4.2. Clausal participants and semantic roles --
4.2.1. States, events, and actions --
4.2.2. Semantic roles --
4.2.3. Grammatical roles --
4.2.4. Topicality and grammatical relations --
4.3. accessibility hierarchy: Government of complex construction --
4.3.1. Preliminaries --
4.3.2. Functional definition of relative clauses --
4.3.2.1. Anaphoric grounding: Restrictive REL-clauses modifying definite head nouns --
4.3.2.2. Cataphoroic grounding: Restrictive REL clause modifying indefinite head nouns --
4.3.2.3. Ancilliary asserted information: Non-restrictive REL-clauses --
4.3.3. cross-language typology of REL-clauses --
4.3.3.1. Preamble: The case-role recoverability problem --
4.3.3.2. zero-cum-gap strategy: Japanese --
4.3.3.3. Clause chaining and anaphoric pronouns: Bambara and Hittite --
4.3.3.4. anaphoric pronoun or pronominal agreement strategy: Hebrew --
4.3.3.5. Nominalized REL-clauses: Ute --
4.3.3.6. Case-marked demonstrative pronouns and Y-movement: German --
4.3.3.7. verb-coding relativization strategy --
4.4. Discussion --
Abbreviations of grammatical terms --
ch. 5 From discourse to syntax: Grammar as an automated processing strategy --
5.1. Introduction --
5.2. Diachrony and syntacticization --
5.2.1. Overview --
5.2.2. From topic to subject --
5.2.3. From topicalization to passivization --
5.2.4. From conjoined clauses to embedded relative clause --
5.2.5. From conjoined to embedded verb complements --
5.2.6. Resultative verb compounds in Mandarin --
5.2.7. Complex possessive constructions --
5.2.8. Focus clauses and WH-questions --
5.2.9. From clause-chaining to serial-verb clauses --
5.2.10. Interim summary --
5.3. Pidgin vs. Creole language --
5.4. Child vs. adult language --
5.5. Oral informal vs. formal written language --
5.6. Discussion --
5.6.1. Coding modalities and developmental trends --
5.6.2. diachronic cycle --
5.6.3. Diachrony and typological diversity --
5.6.4. Universality, evolution and explanation --
5.6.5. Grammar as an automated processing strategy --
5.6.6. Postscript --
Abbreviation of grammatical terms --
ch. 6 Where does crazy syntax come from? --
6.1. Introduction --
6.2. Crazy synchronic phonology --
6.3. Case studies --
6.3.1. Kimbundu passive revisited --
6.3.2. Kihungan cleft and WH-question revisited --
6.3.3. German REL-clauses revisited --
6.3.4. Some unintended consequences of compressing chained clauses into serial-verb clauses --
6.3.5. German word-order and tense-aspect renovation --
6.3.6. Romance and Bantu object pronouns --
6.3.7. No. Uto-Aztecan nominalized subordinate clauses --
6.4. Discussion --
6.4.1. Naturalness: Commonality vs. ease of processing --
6.4.2. temporal curve of the diachronic cycle --
6.4.3. Naturalness: Synchrony vs. diachrony --
Abbreviation of grammatical terms --
ch. 7 SOV mystery and language evolution --
7.1. Introduction --
7.2. neo-recapitulationist perspective --
7.3. SOV mystery --
7.4. Extrapolation #1: Canine communication --
7.4.1. Here and now, you and I, this and that visible --
7.4.2. Socio-cultural context: The Society of Intimates --
7.4.3. Information --
7.4.4. note on primate communication --
7.5. Extrapolation #2: Early child language --
7.5.1. Communicative mode --
7.5.2. Socio-cultural context --
7.6. Pre-grammatical pidgin as an evolutionary stage --
7.7. evolution of grammar: A hypothesis --
7.7.1. Ground-zero: Shift of the communicative context --
7.7.2. Changes in the communication system --
7.7.2.1. Noun coding: From deixis to well-coded nouns --
7.7.2.2. Verb coding: From one-word to two-word clauses --
7.7.2.3. From mono-propositional to multi-propositional discourse --
7.7.2.4. Grammaticalization as an evolutionary process --
7.7.2.5. drift away from SOV --
7.8. Discussion --
Abbreviation of grammatical terms --
ch. 8 Language and ontology --
8.1. Introduction: How real is reality?' --
8.2. Intermezzo I: Nature vs. Artifice --
8.3. On construing a universe: Space, time and being --
8.4. Tao and the pre-construed universe --
8.5. Intermezzo II: Sense, reference and ̀The World' --
8.6. lexicalization of mundane experience --
8.6.1. Preamble --
8.6.2. Nouns --
8.6.3. Verbs --
8.6.4. Adjectives --
8.7. Some evolutionary correlates of spatio-temporal experience --
8.7.1. Preliminaries --
8.7.2. Experience in a one-dimensional universe of linear time --
8.7.3. Experience in a universe of time plus one spatial dimension: Early stationary organisms --
8.7.4. Motion and the advent of a three-dimensional universe --
8.7.5. Purposive motion and the advent of agency --
8.7.6. From purposive motion to causation and agency --
8.7.7. ontology of causation --
8.8. ontological unity of experience, action and interpersonal behavior --
8.8.1. Preamble --
8.8.2. Causality, agency and information: Norms vs. counter-norms --
8.8.3. Context, behavior and communication --
8.8.4. outer bounds of information --
8.9. Closure --
Abbreviations of grammatical terms.
Responsibility: T. Givón, University of Oregon.

Abstract:

In his foreword to the original edition of this classic of functionalism, typology and diachrony, Dwight Bolinger wrote: "I foresee it as one of the truly prizes statements of our current knowledge?a book about understanding done with deep understanding? of language and its place in Nature and in the nature of humankind? The book is rich in insights, even for those who have been with linguistics for a long time. And beginners could be thankful for having it as a starting point, from which so many past mistakes have been shed". Thoroughly revised, corrected and updated, 'On Understanding Grammar' remains, as its author intended it in 1979, a book about trying to make sense of human language and of doing linguistics. Language is considered here from multiple perspectives, intersecting with cognition and communication, typology and universals, grammaticalization, development and evolution. Within such a broad cross-disciplinary context, grammar is viewed as an automated, structured language-processing device, assembled through evolution, diachrony and use. Cross-language diversity is not arbitrary, but rather is tightly constrained and adaptively motivated, with the balance between universality and diversity mediated through development, be it evolutionary or diachronic. The book's take on language harkens back to the works of illustrious antecedents such as F. Bopp, W. von Humbold, H. Paul, A. Meillet, O. Jespersen and G. Zipf, offering a coherent alternative to the methodological and theoretical structures of Saussure, Bloomfield and Chomsky.0.

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