The functional theories of grammar are different approaches to the study of language and its elements to understand linguistic structures and processes.
With these theories, it is said that language is fundamentally a tool; therefore, it is reasonable to assume that its structures are understood the best with reference to the functions they carry out.
The grammatical functions include:
- Semantic function- this describes the role of participants in actions expressed or state of affairs. (Ex: President, Treasurer)
- Syntactic function- this defines different perspectives in a linguistic expression's presentation. (Ex: Subject, Predicate)
- Pragmatic function-this defines the constituent's informational status, which is determined by the pragmatic context of verbal interaction.
Some grammatical frameworks that have a functional approach include:
Danish functional grammar, which focuses on pragmatics and discourse and uses Saussurean/Hjelmslevian structuralism
Role and Reference Grammar (RRG), which has a functional analytical framework with a semi-formal mode of description
Simon Dik's functional grammar, which has been developed into Functional Discourse Grammar and heavily inspired many other forms of functional theories.
Michael Halliday's systemic functional grammar, which states that the explanation of how language works needs "to be grounded in a functional analysis,..."
André Martinet's functional syntax
the Prague School's structuralist functionalism