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Functional grammar (FG) and functional discourse grammar (FDG) are grammar models and theories motivated by functional theories of grammar. These theories explain how linguistic utterances are shaped, based on the goals and knowledge of natural language users. In doing so, it contrasts with Chomskyan transformational grammar. Functional discourse grammar has been developed as a successor to functional grammar, attempting to be more psychologically and pragmatically adequate than functional grammar.
The top-level unit of analysis in functional discourse grammar is the discourse move, not the sentence or the clause. This is a principle that sets functional discourse grammar apart from many other linguistic theories, including its predecessor functional grammar.
Functional grammar (FG) is a model of grammar motivated by functions. The model was originally developed by Simon C. Dik at the University of Amsterdam in the 1970s, and has undergone several revisions since then. The latest standard version under the original name is laid out in the 1997 edition, published shortly after Dik's death. The latest version features the expansion of the model with a pragmatic/interpersonal module by Kees Hengeveld and Lachlan Mackenzie. This has led to a renaming of the theory to functional discourse grammar. This type of grammar is quite distinct from systemic functional grammar as developed by Michael Halliday and many other linguists since the 1970s.
Semantic function (Agent, Patient, Recipient, etc.), describing the role of participants in states of affairs or actions expressed
Syntactic functions (Subject and Object), defining different perspectives in the presentation of a linguistic expression
Pragmatic functions (Theme and Tail, Topic and Focus), defining the informational status of constituents, determined by the pragmatic context of the verbal interaction
Principles of functional discourse grammar
There are a number of principles that guide the analysis of natural language utterances according to functional discourse grammar.
Functional discourse grammar explains the phonology, morphosyntax, pragmatics and semantics in one linguistic theory. According to functional discourse grammar, linguistic utterances are built top-down in this order by deciding upon:
The phonological level, which accounts for the phonology of the utterance
This example analyzes the utterance "I can't find the red pan. It is not in its usual place." according to functional discourse grammar at the interpersonal level.
At the interpersonal level, this utterance is one discourse move, which consists of two discourse acts, one corresponding to "I can't find the red pan." and another corresponding to "It is not in its usual place."