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Layers and operators in Functional Grammar1

  • Kees Hengeveld (a1)

I have argued elsewhere (Hengeveld, 1987b) that for a proper treatment of modality the clause model used in Functional Grammar (Dik, 1978, 1980) should be adapted in such a way that a number of different layers can be distinguished. My main argument there was that predications, used in Functional Grammar to represent linguistic expressions, have two different functions: a DESCRIPTIVE function and a CONTENT function. A predication not only gives a description of the external situation the speaker refers to within his speech act, it also represents the prepositional content or message unit processed within that speech act. Subjective and evidential modalities, which express a propositional attitude, should take a predication in its contentrepresenting function in their scope, whereas objective modalities, i.e. those modalities that are concerned with the actuality status of a State of Affairs (SoA), should take a predication in its SoA-designating function in their scope. A clause model should therefore be able to distinguish between these two functions of predications.

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