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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is concerned with lexis and grammar and discusses the relationship between them from the perspective of a selected number of specific, formal and functional, linguistic theories. The assumptions held can basically be associated with two positions. One considers the two phenomena as distinct parts of language (dual-system theories, representative of formalist frameworks), and the other suggests that lexicon and grammar are gradient phenomena sitting on a continuum (single-system models, representative of functional approaches). Both positions are elaborated and evaluated as to how well observations from language use fit into them. The existence of lexical and grammatical units (having different properties) as well as many ‘mixed’ units containing lexical and grammatical elements (exhibiting properties of both) suggest no clear dividing line between lexis and grammar. Instead, their relation can be understood in terms of Aarts’ (2007a: 163) ‘intersective gradience’, as intersecting sets of properties rather than intersecting categories.

Keywords: lexis, grammar, formal and functional linguistic theories, dual-system theories, single-system theories, language use

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