Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG) is a typologically-based theory of language structure. The major presentations of the theory are Functional Discourse Grammar (Oxford University Press, 2008), by Kees Hengeveld and J. Lachlan Mackenzie and A Functional Discourse Grammar for English (Oxford University Press 2015), by Evelien Keizer. FDG is understood as the grammatical component of an overall functional theory of verbal interaction.

The Purpose of this Website

The aim of this site is to provide you with a first introduction to FDG, to give you access to various helpful electronic resources, and to keep you up to date with the latest news about FDG. More specifically, the site allows you to access:

A quick introduction to FDG

FDG arose in the first decade of this century in response to intensive discussion of its predecessor theory, Functional Grammar (FG). What these theories share is the belief that most formal properties of languages can best be understood if they are brought into correspondence with semantic and pragmatic categories that are rooted in human thought and in communication.

In the debate between formal and functional theories in linguistics, FDG adopts a middle position, believing that the forms and structures of languages should be properly described but also that these should be linked through the theory to the uses to which these forms are put.

An important principle of FDG is that it should be ‘typologically adequate’, by which is meant that it is equally applicable to languages of all types. FDG is accordingly much used in typological and language-comparative work, although it can also be applied in the description of individual languages.

Latest News

Special issue of Word Structure on derivational morphology in FDG

Volume 11.1 (2018) of Word Structure, edited by Pilar Guerrero Medina and Carmen Portero Muñoz, is dedicated to Derivational Morphology in Functional Discourse Grammar and is now accessible online.

New Web Papers in Functional Discourse Grammar

John Connolly's Construal and the Conceptual Component of Functional Discourse Grammar. (WPFDG91) and Hella Olbertz' Periphrastic expressions of non-epistemic modal necessity in Spanish: A semantic description. (WPFDG 90) are now available.

Special issue of Liames on Transparency in FDG

Volume 11.1 (2018) of Liames, edited by Roberto Gomes Camacho, Erotilde Goreti Pezatti, is dedicated to Transparency in indigenous languages of Brazil, applying the framework of Functional Discourse Grammar to a wide range of languages and phenomena.

New book on grammaticalization from a functional perspective

The book The grammaticalization of tense, aspect, modality, and evidentiality: A functional perspective, edited by Kees Hengeveld, Heiko Narrog, and Hella Olbertz contains many contributions that apply the FDG model to grammaticalization phenomena, and can now be obtained from de Gruyter Mouton.

FDG2018 Course and Conference to be held in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

The next FDG conference will be hosted by the Universidade Federal de Bahia. The call for papers is available at the FDG2018 webpage.The conference will be preceded by an International Postgraduate Course on FDG,


Contact Us

To contact the secretary of the International Functional Discourse Grammar Foundation, please send an email to, Hella Olbertz.