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Wetenschapsfilosofie Engels W6 Cheat Sheet by

Wetenschapsfilosofie Engels

Encycl­opedia Britannica

Functi­ona­lism, in lingui­stics, the approach to language study that is concerned with the functions performed by language, prim­arily in terms of cognition (relating inform­ation), expression (indic­ating mood), and conation (exerting influe­nce). Especially associated with the Prague school of linguists prominent since the 1930s, the approach centres on how elements in various languages accomplish these functions, both gramma­tically and phonol­ogi­cally. Some linguists have applied the findings to work on stylistics and literary criticism.
“Language does not function in isolation: it is an integrated part of a living human (psych­olo­gical and social) reality”

Sample Functi­onalist Questions

• How does the natural language user work?
• How do speakers & addressees succeed in commun­icating with each other through the use of linguistic expres­sions?
• How can we build a model of the NLU (M.NLU) in such a way that M.NLU can do the same things that real NLUs can?

Basic tenets of Functi­onalism

Functi­onalism is an overar­ching term and includes many different frameworks / theories.

1. Comm­uni­cation is the primary function of language and shapes its forms
2. External factors are attributed great importance in explaining linguistic phenom­ena
➝ languages are shaped by external factors and therefore cannot be explained without them
language external motivating factors: biological endowment of human beings & socioc­ultural contexts
3. Syntax is not autonomous from semantics & pragma­tics
➝ morpho­syntax is intimately bound up with the kinds of meaning that it serves to express

• attempt to account for the full range of lingui­stics phenomena rather than merely a ‘core grammar’
• authentic linguistic produc­tions as data
• attention to discourse and the sentence
• interested not only in individual languages but also in ‘language’ as a whole
• interested in simila­rities & differ­ences between languages in functional terms

Functi­onalism vs Genera­tivism

➝ function vs formal properties
➝ across vs within languages
➝ universals in cognit­ive­/so­cio­cul­tural abilities vs universals in language specific innate abilities
➝ both concerned with what consti­tutes a possible human language & posit universal constr­aints

Functi­onalist Theory of Language Acquis­ition

• Children acquire language through commun­icative intera­ctions between them and their enviro­nments
• do not necess­arily deny innate­ness, but only regard them as a last resort
• believe in a set of general cognitive principles & predis­pos­itions to learn instead of UG

The five functions

Several human functions are involved in the commun­icative use of language other than the linguistic function:
1. ling­uistic capaci­ty: NLU is able to correctly produce & interpret linguistic expres­sions
2. epistemic capaci­ty: NLU is able to build up, maintain & exploit an organized knowledge base - derive, file, retrieve & utilize knowledge from linguistic expres­sions
3. logical capaci­ty: ability to derive further pieces of knowledge, i.e., the ability to reason
4. perceptual capaci­ty: ability to perceive enviro­nment, derive knowledge from percep­tions & use this in producing expres­sions
5. social capaci­ty: what to say and how in commun­icative situations

Mnem­onic: S.P.E.L.L. ➝ social / perceptual / epistemic / logical / linguistic

Standards of adequacy

Desc­riptive adequa­cy: provide a complete account of the gramma­tical organi­zation of connected discourse in a language
Prag­matic adequa­cy: language as instru­ments of intera­ction between S and A
Psyc­hol­ogical adequa­cy: relate to psychology of humans: production model, interp­ret­ation model & store of elements
Typo­logical adequa­cy: developed on basis of facts from a wide variety of languages

Functional paradigm

• language is an inst­rument of social intera­ction among human beings
• language is used with the intention of establ­ishing commun­icative relati­ons­hips
• attempts to reveal the instru­men­tality of langua­ges with respect to what people do and achieve with it in social intera­ction
• language is an integrated part of the commun­icative competence of NLU
➝ social intera­ctions & establ­ishment of commun­icative relati­ons­hips, reveal of instru­men­tality of language, part of NLU comm. competence

Prin­ciples of functional explan­ati­on:
• It should display rules & principles underlying the constr­uction of linguistic expres­sions to explain rules & principles in terms of their functi­onality with respect to the ways in which these expres­sions are used
• divise a theory of linguistic expression so that it can most easily & realis­tically be incorp­orated into a wider pragmatic theory of verbal intera­ction.
Natural language unders­tan­ding (NLU) concerns with process of compre­hending and using languages once the words are recogn­ized. The objective is to specify a comput­ational model that matches with humans in linguistic tasks such as reading, writing, hearing, and speaking.

Structure of pragmatics

Prag­matic inform­ati­on: full body of knowledge, beliefs, assump­tions, opinions and feelings available to an individual ➝ all inform­ation

General inform­ati­on: long-term inform­ation concerning the world, natural & cultural features, and other possible or imaginary worlds ➝ deep-r­ooted inform­ation about the world and imaginary worlds
Situ­ational inform­ati­on: inform­ation derived from perception or experience in the situation of intera­ction ➝ inform­ation about what we see and experience
Cont­extual inform­ati­on: inform­ation derived from linguistic expres­sions exchanged during verbal intera­ction ➝ inform­ation about what we hear and say

Constr­aints on FG

• Avoid transf­orm­ations (deletion of specified elements, substi­tutions of one specified element, permut­ations of specified elements)
• Avoid filtering devices
• Avoid abstract semantic predicates


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