the sequential linking of a few ambiguous words|
A sentence is a random linkage of words.
It may be meaningful or grammatical or both or neither.
The principal function of a meaningful sentence is to attempt to link awarenesses in communication across
the separation of time... be it fractions of a second or thousands of years.
It does not have to be grammatical to achieve this but meticulous grammar
usually contributes to precision of understanding when that is required.
At the meaningless end of the spectrum the word sequence... an the with... is
not grammatical and is unlikely to be meaningful unless someone has designated it as a password.
Between the meaningless and the flawlessly grammatical is the domain of poetry and linguistic evolution.
The word sentence... graffiti the time wall will with years...
is not exactly grammatical but there are words in it which could evoke associated concepts.
In fact with very little resequencing it is possible to come up with a range of options which shift matters away
from the meaningless, via the poetic, towards the strictly grammatical.
Thus... time will wall the years with graffiti... becomes the sardonic imagery of a presiding judge's comments
when the political dissident is sentenced.
Certainly such a sentence was contrived, but then they all are.
Although a sentence may be grammatically acceptable, most are padded out with substantial redundancies
which structural grammars appear to welcome.
They seem to enjoy the minutiae, intricate classification details and introspective analysis.
A functional grammar on the other hand, would mercilessly purge redundancy with respect to the attempted purpose of the communication.
Consider for example, the elements of a written version of the prosecuting officer's reaction...
'that sentence was not really very fucking long at all!'...
A functional analysis would defrock the superfluous and theatricality without shame or pity.
The so-called punctuation symbols are simply predetermined protocols indicating
beginnings, ends, groupings,
emphatic conviction, etc. and would be immediately stripped as irrelevant.
As well as that, 'really', 'very', 'fucking', and 'at all' are merely protocols.
The first is an unsubstantiated claim of reality,
the second an opinionated modifier to the scale of 'longness',
the third an expletive insertion of emotive padding
and the fourth an add-on of pure irrelevance.
These classifications can then used to eliminate rather than describe their pedigree.
Of the two complex-concepts present, 'sentence'
is an existential reference to a class concept,
and 'long' a vague unstandardised concept of duration or distance.
For the three remaining words, 'that' functions as an
indicator to the event of concern,
'was' as a modal claim for prior existence,
and 'not' as a logical relationship of reversal.
In terms of communication functions the sentence immediately collapses to
...that sentence was not long....
The hardy functionalist spade-wielding appeal prosecutor however...
would be even more succinct by simply shaking his head and
replacing the whole sentence with a cryptic