In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Lexical-Functional Grammar

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works
  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Bibliographies
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Constituent Structure
  • Grammatical Functions
  • Lexical Integrity
  • Optimality Theory
  • Nonconfigurational Languages
  • Computational Implementations
  • Formalism

Linguistics Lexical-Functional Grammar
Yehuda N. Falk
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 October 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0025


Lexical-functional grammar, usually referred to as LFG, is a theoretical approach to syntax and related components of grammar originally developed in the late 1970s by Joan Bresnan and Ronald Kaplan. Conceived within the general program of generative linguistics, LFG differs from other such approaches in several respects. Unlike mainstream approaches within generative linguistics, LFG is a lexicalist, non-derivational, non-transformational framework. Unlike even most other non-derivational frameworks, LFG envisions syntactic description as focusing on Grammatical Functions rather than Constituent Structure, although constituent structure is also part of LFG syntax. LFG syntax thus includes two distinct dimensions of representation: c-structure (a surface constituent structure) and f-structure (a representation of surface grammatical functions). LFG has been applied to the analysis of a wide range of Syntactic Constructions in a wide variety of languages. In addition, it has a well-developed Formalism and has been used extensively in work in Computational Implementations.

Reference Works

The Lexical-Functional Grammar Home Page is an overall reference to various aspects of LFG. Information about the LFG community of scholars can be obtained at the International Lexical-Functional Grammar Association. A useful reference to LFG formalisms and analyses is Dalrymple 2001.

  • Dalrymple, Mary. 2001. Lexical-functional grammar. Syntax and Semantics 34. New York: Academic Press.

    An accessible, comprehensive reference on LFG syntax and semantics.

  • International Lexical-Functional Grammar Association.

    The International Lexical-Functional Grammar Association is the umbrella organization for research in LFG and organizes the annual international LFG conference. The homepage includes information about the officers, about donating, about joining, and has a link to a database of LFG linguists.

  • Lexical-Functional Grammar Home Page.

    Links to useful LFG-related resources.

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