Affordable Access

Access to the full text

The Role of Abstraction in Syntax: From a Functionalist Perspective

Authors
  • Yoon, Jiyoung
Type
Published Article
Journal
Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics
Publisher
De Gruyter Mouton
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2009
Volume
2
Issue
1
Pages
221–238
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/shll-2009-1044
Source
De Gruyter
License
Yellow

Abstract

In the area of syntax, the notion of abstraction has been employed differently in the two major theoretical approaches of functionalist and formalist models. From the functional perspective, a typologically adequate linguistic model needs to look at universals without imposing too much abstraction on principles or representation. In contrast, the formalist model has been characterized by its tendency towards stating language universals in terms of abstract structures and principles. This paper argues that while these two traditionally opposing tendencies remain true, the difference between the functionalist and formalist models is the degree of abstraction, not a dichotomy of presence and absence of such a property. Functionalists also rely on a certain degree of abstraction in describing language depending on various functional-cognitive models within this approach. This paper also shows that the direction of Spanish functional syntax has been diverse and rich, employing a varying degree of abstraction of representation of language. The prediction for the future of the functionalist and formalist models is their eventual realignment, a process that may compromise their respective meaning-centered and the formcentered positions.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times