The two basic approaches to linguistics are the formalist and the functionalist approaches. In this engaging monograph, Frederick J. Newmeyer, a formalist, argues that both approaches are valid. However, because formal and functional linguists have avoided direct confrontation, they remain unaware of the compatability of their results. One of the author's goals is to make each side accessible to the other. While remaining an ardent formalist, Newmeyer stresses the limitations of a narrow formalist outlook that refuses to consider that anything of interest might have been discovered in the course of functionalist-oriented research. He argues that the basic principles of generative grammar, in interaction with principles in other linguistic domains, provide compelling accounts of phenomena that functionalists have used to try to refute the generative approach.
HardcoverOut of Print ISBN: 9780262140645 444 pp. | 6 in x 9 in
Paperback$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262640442 444 pp. | 6 in x 9 in
Newmeyer is surely the most authoritative and fairest voice urging formalist and functionalist linguists to attend to one another's work. This book makes a strong case that the two sides do have things to say to one another, and I hope each will heed Newmeyer's injunction to listen to the other.
Stephen R. Anderson