The key argument of this book, originally published in 1984, is that when human beings communicate with each other by means
of a natural language they typically do not do so in simple sentences but rather in connected discourse - complex expressions
made up of a number of clauses linked together in various ways. A necessary precondition for intelligible discourse is the
speaker's ability to signal the temporal relations between the events that are being discussed and to refer to the participants
in those events in such a way that it is clear who is being talked about. A great deal of the grammatical machinery in a language
is devoted to this task, and Functional Syntax and Universal Grammar explores how different grammatical systems accomplish
it. This book is an important attempt to integrate the study of linguistic form with the study of language use and meaning.
It will be of particular interest to field linguists and those concerned with typology and language universals, and also to
anthropologists involved in the study of language function.