Linguistics: Approaches

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Functionalist and formalist approaches agree that linguistic form exists, but disagree on its autonomy. Rationalist and empiricist approaches place different weights on linguistic data as opposed to theory. Approaches can tend more towards holism or more towards modularity. Form can be organized – particularly in generative linguistics – by rules, constraints on rules, and constraints on outputs; the balance of these has varied among approachestolinguistics. Approaches can disagree over which subfield of linguistics best explains a certain type of linguistic fact.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Language and Linguistics
EditorsKeith Brown
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • autonomy
  • transformational rule
  • Chomsky
  • rationalism
  • empiricism
  • formalism
  • functionalism

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