syntax: functional vs generative
bischoff.st at gmail.com
Mon Jun 1 17:36:55 UTC 2009
This is similar to my earlier question regarding the development of a
syntax course. The conversation has expanded into one that will help
us define our department in terms of our curriculum. We are trying
to decide if our introduction to syntax should be "functional" or
"generative" (Chomskyan). For some the argument for the generative
approach has been that it is the "mainstream" framework. However, it
seems to others that it is "mainstream" only in the sense that a
number of graduate programs pursue it. Some argue that if
undergraduates are hoping to gain meaningful employment outside
academia or pursue graduate programs in allied fields, "generative"
doesn't seem to be mainstream in the slightest (personally I would
like to know if this true...I suspect it may be). That is, for
example, if they wanted to work for SIL, where it has been reported
over a 1,000 languages are currently being worked on, or wanted to
work with a community documenting a language then functionalism would
serve them better. Also, if they wanted to work for e.g. Google, SAP,
Xerox, a functional approach would translate much better to
computational linguistics e.g. finite state grammars. In addition, some
here have argued that functionalism is more applicable to forensic
linguistics than generative. Also, it seems that if students do go on
to graduate school the flavor of generativsit grammar will vary, so it
isn't necessary to train them in it...perhaps that argument could be applied
to a functional approach(?).
Does anyone know how many graduate programs are actually generative vs
functional? Which "major programs" are functional and which are
generative? Or how much research is going on in the two areas?
Any thoughts would be welcome.
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