Neo-Firthian Approaches to Linguistic Typology - William B. McGregor

Neo-Firthian Approaches to Linguistic Typology - William B. McGregor

Complex Sentence Constructions

Neo-Firthian Approaches to Linguistic Typology - William B. McGregor

William B. McGregor [+-]
Aarhus University
William B. McGregor is Professor of Linguistics at Aarhus University. He is the author of a number of publications including most recently, Linguistics: An Introduction (2nd edition) published by Bloomsbury in 2015.


Complex sentence constructions have been extensively studied in linguistic typology, and a wide range of typologies have been proposed. A serious limitation in this work has been the lack of attention to grammatical structures in the complex sentences, and the tendency to assume categories of traditional grammar. Neo-Firthian approaches – including Systemic Functional Grammar – have made notable theoretical contributions, and have provided depth descriptions of complex sentence constructions in English in particular. This chapter will argue that the fundamental features of the Systemic Functional Grammar theory of clause combination can be employed in a typology of complex sentence constructions that goes well beyond the standard typological accounts. In particular, it will be argued that distinct grammatical types of complex sentences can be identified cross-linguistically in accordance with Halliday’s metafunctions – which I refer to as semiotics or semiotic types – in particular the experiential, logical and interpersonal. This provides a universal framework within which the typology of complex sentence constructions can be investigated, and for an informed analysis of the grammatical structures involved.

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McGregor, William. Complex Sentence Constructions. Neo-Firthian Approaches to Linguistic Typology. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jun 2021. ISBN 9781781796672. Date accessed: 03 Dec 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.33968. Jun 2021

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