The label `semiotic grammar' captures a fundamental property of the grammars of human languages: not only is language a semiotic system in the familiar Saussurean sense, but its organizing system, its grammar, is also a semiotic system. This proposition, explicated in detail by William McGregor in this book, constitutes a new theory of grammar. Semiotic Grammar is `functional' rather than `formal' in its intellectual origins,
approaches, and methods. It demonstrates, however, that neither a purely functional nor a purely formal account of language is adequate, given the centrality of the sign as the fundamental unit of grammatical
analysis. The author distinguishes four types of grammatical signs: experiential, logical, interpersonal, and textural. The signifiers of these signs are syntagmatic relationships of the following types, respectively: constituency, dependency, conjugational (scopal) and linking (indexical, connective). McGregor illustrates and exemplifies the theory with data from a variety of languages including English, Acehnese, Polish, Finnish, Japanese, Chinese, and Mohawk; and from
his pioneering research on Gooniyandi and Nyulnyul, two languages of the Kimberleys region of Western Australia.
`As one who desires to produce a 'practical' bilingual grammar and dictionary for a group of people living in a multilingual-multicultural environment, I found many of M's arguments for semiotic grammar compelling, largely because he attempts to explain linguistic units on the basis of the unity of syntax, semantics and pragmatics.'
Lou Hohulin, Notes on Linguistics 2.4 (1999)
2: Basic Concepts of Grammatical Theory
3: Syntagmatic Relations: A Classification of Signs
4: Constituency: The Experiential Semiotic
5: Dependency: The Logical Semiotic
6: Conjugation: The Interpersonal Semiotic
7: Linking Relationships: The Textural Semiotic
8: Enough Ain't Enough: The Grammar of Nominal Tautologies in English
9: Grammar and Beyond