By T. Givón
This publication is Prof. Givón's long-awaited severe exam of the basic theoretical and methodological underpinnings of the functionalist method of grammar. It demanding situations functionalists to take their very own medication and identify non-circular empirical definitions of either 'function' and 'structure'. Ideological hand-waving, even if fervent and right-thinking, is seldom an sufficient replacement for analytic rigor and empirical accountability. If the reductionist extremism of a number of the structuralist faculties is to be challenged on good highbrow grounds, the problem can't itself be both severe in its reductionism.
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B. Look for some real text ('communication'). c. Identify (one, some, or many) instances in the text where Form A is paired with Function X. d. Declare your hypothesis proven. This sad caricature of method glosses over a number of relevant questions. First, how many instances of Form A in the text were not paired with Function X, but rather with Functions Y,Z,Q? Second, how many instances of Function X in the text were not paired with Form A, but rather with FormsB,C,D? Third, given the percent of Form A that indeed correlates with Function X, is it statistically significant, in view of (i) the size of the total population; (ii) the size of the sample; and (iii) the amount of variation within the sample?
Without answering these questions, we perpetuate the bad habit of testing hypotheses by attempting to verify them. 3. 21 Deductive reasoning Having rejected the dogmatic deductivism of Popper and Chomsky, functionalists often neglect to take advantage of the legitimate and salutary uses of deductive reasoning in the empirical cycle. This failure is often deliberate and selfcongratulatory. It is also another version of Platonic reductionism: ( 14) The fallacy of the perfect method: "If a method is not by itself 100% reliable, it must be therefore 100% useless".
Induction and quantification Quantification and eventually inferential statistics are fundamental to induction and hypothesis testing. But in spite of 30-odd years of tireless preaching by Labov and others,18 functionalists have remained disgustingly Chomskyan in their disdain for population variation, sampling and induction. e. predictive — if it can be tested on a sample of the general population over which it makes predictions. But communicative behavior like other biological phenomena is often less-thanuniform.