Encyclopedia > Robert Van Valin, Jr.

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Robert Van Valin, Jr.

Robert Van Valin is the principal writer behind Functional Linguistics[?], which is an offshoot of the cognitive linguistics field pioneered by Langacker[?]. His 1997 monograph 'Syntax: structure, meaning and function' is an attempt to provide a method for syntactic analysis which is just as relevant for languages like Dyirbal[?] and Lakhota[?] as it is for more commonly studied Indo-European languages. Instead of positing a separate layer of deep structure[?] to explain departures from Chomsky's canonical word order, Van Valin suggests that the only truly universal parts of a sentence are its nucleus, generally a predicating element such as a verb or adjective, and the arguments, normally noun phrases[?], that the nucleus requires. Van Valin also departs from Chomskyan syntactic theory by denying the existence of the verb phrase.

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