The Interaction between the Grammatical Component and the Contextual Component
Universitat de Barcelona,
September 8-9, 2011
, in conjunction with the Functional Grammar Foundation, is planning a specialized workshop on the interaction between the Grammatical Component and the Contextual Component in Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG). The workshop is meant to provide a meeting place for linguists working on FDG that want to contribute to an integrated edited volume on this topic. A summary of the basic assumptions of FDG can be found at www.functionaldiscoursegrammar.info (look under ‘Theory’), and a full account can be found in Hengeveld, Kees & Mackenzie, J. Lachlan (2008), Functional Discourse Grammar: A typologically-based theory of language structure. University of Barcelona Oxford: Press. Also available via Oxford Scholarship Online. Oxford University
The way we want to go about this workshop is as follows:
· we invite extended abstracts directly related to the topic of the workshop (see below), to be sent in by January 1st, 2011. If you intend to participate, please let us know right away at firstname.lastname@example.org;
· the abstracts will be evaluated anonymously by a programme committee before February 1st, 2011;
· the selected contributors are added to a closed discussion list, so that they can exchange ideas, suggestions, data, and the like;
· the selected abstracts are elaborated into full papers between the moment of acceptance and August 1st, 2011 (an intermediate version of the papers will be requested, see below);
· at the workshop, no lectures are given, but the papers distributed among all participants on August 10th, 2011 are introduced briefly, and then discussed intensively by contributors and discussants;
· after the workshop the comments given are incorporated in the papers, the final versions of which are then to be sent in by December 1st, 2011;
· we are aiming at having the manuscript ready by May 1st, 2012.
FDG is a structural-functional theory of language. It seeks to understand the structure of utterances in their discourse context, assuming that this structure does not arise in the vacuum, but is functionally motivated by ideational and interactional conceptual material in a multifaceted communicative context. The theory defines a Grammatical Component within a wider theory of verbal interaction, where it is linked to other components: the Conceptual Component, the Contextual Component, and the Output Component. These are non-grammatical components, as they are not a part of the operations of Formulation and Encoding of the structure of utterances. They are, however, linguistic, as far as they have an impact on linguistic form. Figure 1 displays the overall organization of these components in a model of verbal interaction.
Figure 1. FDG as part of a wider theory of verbal interaction
As shown in Figure 1, the Grammatical Component involves the operations of Formulation and Encoding. Through the operation of Formulation, the conceptual representations in the Conceptual Component are translated into pragmatic and semantic representations at the Interpersonal and Representational Levels respectively, which are language-specific. Through the operation of Encoding, the speaker translates the configurations at the Interpersonal and the Representational Levels into morphosyntactic and, later, phonological structures. As shown in Figure 2, the grammar is, thus, organized in a top-down fashion: pragmatics governs semantics, pragmatics and semantics govern morphosyntax, and pragmatics, semantics, and morphosyntax govern phonology.
Figure 2. General layout of FDG
No full account of the Contextual Component in relation to the FDG model has been given until now, except for some FDG-related suggestions as to the various narrow and broader dimensions of context: the surrounding (multimodal) discourse, the situational context (including the physical sociocultural context), and the mental representation of context (see e.g. Connolly, John, 2007, “Context in Functional Discourse Grammar”, Alfa 51, 2: 11-33, available from http://seer.fclar.unesp.br/alfa/article/viewFile/1435/1137.
As it stands now, the theory of Functional Discourse Grammar assumes that the Contextual Component includes two types of information, both limited in scope: “the immediate information received from the Grammatical Component concerning a particular utterance which is relevant to the form that subsequent utterances may take”, and “longer-term information about the ongoing interaction that is relevant to the distinctions that are required in the language being used” (Hengeveld and Mackenzie 2008: 9-10). FDG takes, thus, a ‘conservative stance” on the Contextual Component: it only includes those factors of context which have a systematic effect upon grammatical choices.
The interaction between the Grammatical Component and the Contextual Component in FDG raises a number of general questions which shall be discussed in the FDG Workshop in
1) Which units of analysis should be distinguished within the Contextual Component? On the basis of what evidence?
2) How do the units of analysis within the Contextual Component interact with the units of analysis within the Grammatical Component?
3) Does a full account of the Contextual Component and its interaction with the Grammatical Component challenge the current account of the grammatical units involved in formulation and encoding? How?
4) What is the contribution of the Contextual Component to the dynamic implementation of the FDG formulator and encoder?
5) Assuming that the surrounding discourse context of an utterance is multimodal, which aspects of the non-verbal discourse context have an impact on linguistic form? And, conversely, how do the non-verbal formulation and encoding of communicative intentions feed the Contextual Component with information relevant for the continuing communicative interaction?
We invite contributions which address these general questions by analyzing particular grammatical phenomena that have been said to be sensitive to the impact of context: cohesion, anaphoric reference, deixis, voice choice, extra-clausal encoding, temporal chaining, modality (pragmatic and semantic), and so on.
If you are interested in participating, please let us know right away at email@example.com, and send us an extended abstract (approximately 1200 words) on any of the aforementioned or related topics by January 1st, 2011. Please note that abstracts must be anonymous, but the body of the e-mail should include the name(s) of the author(s), affiliation(s), and e-mail address of (all) author(s).
By sending in an abstract you express the firm intention:
1. to submit an intermediate version of the paper by May 15th, 2011;
2. to submit a full workshop version by August 1st, 2011;
3. to read and comment on the intermediate and workshop versions of the other papers to be submitted;
4. to assist at the workshop in September 2011 to exchange comments;
5. to send in a final version of the paper by December 1st, 2011.
The abstract should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerry
Wanders) and will be evaluated anonymously by the Programme Committee.
During the workshop, the draft papers will be discussed intensively, thus allowing for interaction between the contributors and helping to improve the final versions.
We are currently investigating the possibilities for publishing the outcome of this workshop either as a special issue of a journal, or as a thematic volume with an established publishing house.
We are applying for funding by local and national funding agencies in
in order to provide some financial support for accepted participants in the workshop. Although we are hopeful that we will be able to get some support, we are afraid that this may not be sufficient to cover the costs of participation of all participants, so we would appreciate if you could apply for funding from your local agencies whenever possible. Spain
Further details regarding workshop venue, accomodation, travel, and registration fees will be available in early 2011
The Programme Committee consists of Núria Alturo (
Universitat de Barcelona, Spain), Inge Genee ( ) and Kees Hengeveld (Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands). University of Lethbridge, Canada
The Organizing Committee at Universitat de Barcelona consists of Núria Alturo (coord.), Marta Fernàndez-Villanueva, Neus Nogué, Lluís Payrató and Oliver Strunk, in conjunction with the international secretary of the Functional Grammar Foundation, Gerry
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