About the author: Paul Rastall, Principal Lecturer in Linguistics at Portsmouth University, studied at Oxford and St. Andrews. He has taught Linguistics and English in the UK and overseas. Dr. Rastall has published two previous books with The Edwin Mellen Press, Empirical Phonology and Cartesian Tables (1993) and A Functional View of English Grammar (1995).
1993 0-7734-9327-1 This work is about the establishment of empirically testable models in functionalist phonological description and the use of cartesian tables in phonological modelling. A clear distinction is drawn between theoretical (meta-) statements and descriptive statements (i.e. those which may be confronted with phonetic phenomena subjected to appropriate testing). A new type of cartesian table is introduced first in the description of combinations of distinctive features and then of combinations of phonemes. Further models of well-formed complexes of distinctive features and phonemes are established on the basis of the tables. Examples of the application of the method are drawn from a number of languages, particularly English, French, and Russian 5.
1995 0-7734-8922-3 The theory and methods of a functionalist approach to grammar (following such thinkers as Martinet and Mulder) are explained and applied to key areas of English grammar. Functionalist approaches provide a relatively simple means for analysis and the understanding of communicational structures peculiar to individual languages. In those ways, functionalist linguistics can contribute to our understanding of mankind as a species. Special attention is paid to the major and minor sentence types and significant and redundant features of English as well as to adjectival constructions, prepositions, parasyntactic features and the "dynamics" of contemporary English.
2000 0-7734-7778-0 This work draws out the philosophical implications of European functionalist linguistics. It contains an account of human linguistic capacities through considering the role of languages in overall semiotic behavior and the nature of our models of Language and of languages. It is particularly concerned with the nature of linguistically conveyed messages and their role in consciousness and with the methods for their understanding. The implications are related to an emergent anthropocentric philosophy and to metaphysics, epistemology in the wider sense, the philosophy of science and ethics. There is a special consideration of the limitations on human understanding which are due to the nature of our linguistic communication and our methods of analysis. Accordingly, the work presents a synthetic overview of European functionalist linguistics following Saussure, Hjelmslev, Benveniste, Martinet and Mulder. That linguistic tradition is closely related to the philosophical ideas of Kant, Herder, Cassirer and Popper and to the neurological work of Geschwind, Granit, and Eccles. Particular emphases are laid on the purposive nature of linguistic behavior; the culturally determined nature of linguistic conventions; and the important distinctions between speech, languages and Language as a general human capacity or the intension of the class of languages.