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Functional Grammar Series

There is an old saying “All good things come to an end”. In this case, the good thing is the Functional Grammar Series and the end is Volume 27 (2005). A brief retrospective.   
The first Colloquium on Functional Grammar in Amsterdam, in June 1984, was a big success, five days of plenary and parallel sessions. Proud of the results, the organizers of the Colloquium, A. Machtelt Bolkestein, Simon C. Dik, Casper de Groot and J. Lachlan Mackenzie, announced the publication of a selection of the papers presented. In seeking an appropriate series to host two volumes with all together 25 articles, the team decided to start a series themselves: the Functional Grammar Series

The director of Foris Publications in Dordrecht, offered a helping hand, which led to the publication of the first two volumes in the series one year later in 1985. The series editors were self-confident, with a strong belief in the basic assumptions of FG and the position of the model in the international debate.   In six years’ time, 14 volumes appeared within the FGS, some of which were collections of papers presented at FG conferences (Vols 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 and 13), whereas the majority consisted of monographs, mostly doctoral dissertations, those of Mike Hannay (3), Josine Lalleman (4), Judith Junger (7), Casper de Groot (11), and Hans Weigand (12). Three volumes brought particular new stimuli to the group of functionalists: the work of Ahmed Moutaouakil in Morocco (8), John Connolly’s study of the positional syntax of English (14), and of course Simon Dik’s extended version of FG (9). 

A drastic change in the line of publications took place in 1991. For financial and commercial reasons Foris Publications sold its linguistic series to Mouton de Gruyter in Berlin, and the series editors decided to continue the FGS at Mouton. In the years between 1992 and 2005, with the average of one book per year, thirteen volumes appeared, three of them based on a dissertation, those by Kees Hengeveld (15), Martine Cuvalay-Haak (19), and Hella Olbertz (22). The majority consisted of collections of articles (16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, and 27). The two volumes by Simon Dik, edited by Kees Hengeveld (20 and 21), in which the latest state of the art of FG, including the analysis of complex constructions, was presented, formed an enormous input to the field of functional linguistics, while the volume by Pamela Faber and Ricardo Mairal Usón (23) attracted great interest in the fields of semantics and English linguistics.

The purpose of the Functional Grammar Series was to provide an outlet for high-quality book-length work in Functional Grammar. As the call for contributions stated, all manuscripts were welcome that were relevant to the aim of the series, namely to determine to what extent Functional Grammar can offer explanations for a wide variety of linguistic phenomena, both language-specific and cross-linguistic, in terms of the conditions under which and the purposes for which language is used. The fact that the FGS only allowed manuscripts within the Functional Grammar framework proper meant that the series had a very transparent profile. In the eighties of the previous century, when the competition between linguistic models such as Generative Grammar, Relational Grammar, West Coast Functionalism, Form-Content Analysis and Montague Grammar was conspicuous, it was appropriate to draw strict boundaries. Now in the early years of the new millennium, it seems as if the borderlines between linguistic models have become vague, flexible or even highly irrelevant. The goals of linguistic research do not seem any longer a matter of competition between models. Given this background and also the new development of Functional Discourse Grammar, which has a much wider scope than traditional FG, the editors of the series considered the time ripe to stop the series. After a successful period of twenty years in which Functional Grammar has come to be recognized as a major force in world linguistics, Functional (Discourse) Grammarians will now have to find other ways to get their manuscripts published, as several have already done in the past.

The editors,  Casper de Groot & Lachlan Mackenzie


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