An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics.An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics by Suzanne Eggins 2nd Edition, Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd., 2004. pp. 384, Rs. 1245
An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics is an updated overview of the concepts and methods of linguistic analysis in the framework developed by M. A. K. Halliday. The book introduces the concepts and demonstrates how the techniques of systemic functional linguistic theory can be applied to the analysis of texts. Written in ascending order, the book begins with the general understanding of language use and gradually moves into the more complex and sophisticated linguistic analysis. At the end, the reader who may not have prior knowledge of systemic functional linguistics, feels quite equipped with the conceptual clarity to deal with both the dimensions of systemic functional theory of language: these dimensions are (a) theory of language as social process (what language is, how it works, its relation with context and (b) analytical methodology (analysis of transitivity tran·si·tive
1. Abbr. trans. or tr. or t. Grammar Expressing an action carried from the subject to the object; requiring a direct object to complete meaning. Used of a verb or verb construction. , mood, theme and the clause complex etc.)
Organized into eleven chapters, the book has the foreword fore·word
A preface or an introductory note, as for a book, especially by a person other than the author.
an introductory statement to a book
Noun 1. summarizing changes in the second edition, an appendix which provides detailed analysis of texts and a bibliography. The first chapter, 'An overview of systemic functional linguistics' aims at the orientation: the author attempts to initiate a dialogue with the reader and sets out to give an overview of systemic functional linguistics. The chapter introduces many key concepts and terms to the readers which are developed in detail in subsequent chapters. Besides explaining a functional semantic approach to language, the author provides text examples with the answer the answers to the questions concerning the systemic functional approach to language: (1) How do people use language? (2) How is language structured for use?
In order to clarify the basic unit, the second chapter, 'What is (a) text' explains The concept of "text" and what the nature of text tell us about the organization of language as a text forming resource. The author distinguishes between "a text" and "a non-text", by explaining the concepts of texture, cohesion and coherence with the help of examples. Reminding the readers of the Hallidayan concept of text, which refers to both spoken and written forms, the author says, "text is a technical term for any unified piece of language that has the properties of texture."
In the third chapter, 'Genre: culture of context in texts', the author explores the dimensions of contextual coherence, that of "genre" by interpreting "genre" as the cultural purpose of texts and examines how texts express "genres" through structural and realizational patterns of language. The chapter reconnoiters how texts are coherent in terms of their cultural context, through the notion of genre. Concepts of "register configuration", "schematic structure" the uses of "genre analysis" and "critical genre analysis" are discussed with examples in both written and spoken English.
Having explored how texts are coherent with respect to their cultural context, the fourth chapter, 'Register: Context of situation in text' looks more closely at how texts are coherent with respect to their context of situation through the concept of register. The author explores answers to the following questions: (1) what is meant by context of situation and the register variables? (2) how is register realized in language? The author deals with the idea of context of situation by answering the basic problems like why does context matters and how context gets into text? The pivot of the chapter is the register theory around which the three variables of field, tenor and mode revolve re·volve
v. re·volved, re·volv·ing, re·volves
1. To orbit a central point.
2. To turn on an axis; rotate. See Synonyms at turn.
3. . The author concludes with a clear illustration of the relationship between the ideational i·de·ate
v. i·de·at·ed, i·de·at·ing, i·de·ates
To form an idea of; imagine or conceive: "Such characters represent a grotesquely blown-up aspect of an ideal man . . . , interpersonal and textual metafunctions and the register.
The fifth chapter, 'Introduction to the Lexico-grammar' begins by exploring the lexico-grammatical level of language by asking: what is the function of grammar? Why does language have this intermediate level of grammatical coding? Examining the basic principles of systematic functional linguistic grammatical analysis the author presents the multifunctional perspective on the clause that is developed in the following chapters. Assuming that language allows us to mean anything we wish to mean and that language enables us to make more than one meaning at a time, the author describes how language can take a finite number of expression units to realize an infinite number infinite number
a number so large as to be uncountable. Represented by 8, frequently obtained by 'dividing' by zero. of meanings we need to express in our daily life. The focus of the chapter is on principles of grammatical analysis dealing with concepts such as constituents, the rank scale, bracketing, and embedding 1. (mathematics) embedding - One instance of some mathematical object contained with in another instance, e.g. a group which is a subgroup.
2. (theory) embedding - (domain theory) A complete partial order F in [X -> Y] is an embedding if in the clause constituents.
In systemic functional linguistic terms, the interpersonal meaning is one level of meaning in the clause. The sixth chapter, 'The grammar of interpersonal meaning: mood' explores how the clause is structured to enable us to express interpersonal meanings, by dealing with Mood structure of the clause. The author in the chapter explores the relationship between functional constituents and their configurations in clauses of different Mood types and looks at the role of modality modality /mo·dal·i·ty/ (mo-dal´i-te)
1. a method of application of, or the employment of, any therapeutic agent, especially a physical agent.
2. in interaction. The chapter focuses on Mood structures of the clause in terms of exchanging information and exchanging goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. , and the role of modality (modalization and modulation) in interaction.
Having looked at how people use language in text in chapter 2 and how the clause is structured to enable to express interpersonal meanings, the seventh chapter, 'Systems: meaning as choice' deals with the systemic aspects of the theory, the systemic modeling of meaning as choice. In order to explain the concepts of semiotic semiotic /se·mi·ot·ic/ (se?me-ot´ik)
1. pertaining to signs or symptoms.
2. pathognomonic. system, that how a sign in a semiotic system gets its meaning through entering into both paradigmatic See paradigm. and syntagmatic syn·tag·mat·ic
Of or relating to the relationship between linguistic units in a construction or sequence, as between the (n) and adjacent sounds in not, ant, and ton. relations with other signs. To illustrate this, the chapter presents a simple semiotic system of traffic lights and then the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes with respect to relation between linguistic signs. The chapter focuses on the concept of system and issues related to the notion that there is a relationship between system and structure. Another issue focused in the chapter is the priority of paradigmatic relations in systemic functional linguistics.
The eighth chapter, 'The grammar of experiential ex·pe·ri·en·tial
Relating to or derived from experience.
ex·peri·en meaning: Transitivity' explores the component of the ideational metafunction which is concerned with how we represent reality in language. The chapter focuses on the description of the system of transitivity which is about the process types associated with participant roles Noun 1. participant role - (linguistics) the underlying relation that a constituent has with the main verb in a clause
linguistics - the scientific study of language and configurations. Different process types (Material, Mental, Relational, Verbal, Behavioural, existential ex·is·ten·tial
1. Of, relating to, or dealing with existence.
2. Based on experience; empirical.
3. Of or as conceived by existentialism or existentialists: ) are explained with examples and diagrams, which are concerned with three aspects of the clause: the selection of the process, the selection of participants and the selection of circumstance.
The ninth chapter, 'The grammar of logical meaning: Clause complex' deals with the logico-semantic systems of the clause complex which provides options that can be used to link individual clauses of experiential meaning together into ideationally coherent clause complexes. After defining the clause complex, the chapter reviews two systems of logical relations: taxis taxis (tăk`sĭs), movement of animals either toward or away from a stimulus, such as light (phototaxis), heat (thermotaxis), chemicals (chemotaxis), gravity (geotaxis), and touch (thigmotaxis). , (parataxis par·a·tax·is
The juxtaposition of clauses or phrases without the use of coordinating or subordinating conjunctions, as It was cold; the snows came. and hypotaxis hy·po·tax·is
The dependent or subordinate relationship of clauses with connectives.
[Greek hupotaxis, subjection, from hupotassein, to arrange under : or how two or more adjacent clauses are linked to each other through relations of dependency or interdependency) and logico-semantics (the types of meanings that allow adjacent clauses to project or expand on each other). The chapter explains the readers how logical systems of the clause complex complement transitivity choices, and that how variations in the amount and types of logical relations realize differences in mode and genre.
The tenth chapter, 'The grammar of textual meaning: Theme' discusses the third level of meaning in the clause i.e. textual meaning. Describing the structural configurations by which the clause is organized as a message the chapter helps the readers to recognize the major system involved, that of Theme with a configuration of the clause into two functional components of a Theme (point of departure from the message) and a Rheme rheme
[From Greek rh (new information about the point of departure). The chapter then explores how the thematic structures Thematic structure is a term in linguistics. When people talk, there are purposes in three separable parts of utterances—Speech Act, Propositional Content and Thematic Structure. of the clause realize the tripartite TRIPARTITE. Consisting of three parts, as a deed tripartite, between A of the first part, B of the second part, and C of the third part. semantic structure of language, when we recognize textual, interpersonal and experiential (or topical) thematic elements. The chapter therefore is about the system of theme, "the element which serves as the point of departure of the message" and "that which locates and orients the clause within its context" (Halliday and Mathiesen 2004: 64). Thematic structures in different clause types are presented with examples in this chapter.
The scheme of the eleventh chapter, 'Explaining text: applying SFL SFL - System Function Language. Assembly language for the ICL2900. "SFL Language Definition Manual", TR 6413, Intl Computers Ltd. (Systemic functional linguistics)' is designed first to summarise the linguistic model presented in the previous chapters and then to demonstrate how a systemic functional approach to language can be applied to text analysis in a comprehensive manner. The demonstration of text analysis offers a comprehensive lexico-grammatical and cohesive analysis of three crying baby texts (in chapter 1). The chapter shows explicit interpretations, how the texts are alike and different and relate those patterns to the cultural and situational contexts of which they are the realization.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Dr. Suzanne Eggins, "In the ten years since the first edition, much has happened to systemic linguistics This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.
Please help recruit one or [ improve this article] yourself. See the talk page for details. and to me, since 1994, Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) has moved from 'marginal' to 'mainstream' as an approach to language, at least in Australia."
As a text book or reference book aiming at introducing the principles and techniques of the systemic functional approach to text analysis, the book impressively interprets Halliday's theory in a reader centered, clear, concise approach. Written for students who may have little or no formal knowledge of linguistics, the book covers most of the major concepts in systemic linguistics (semiotic system, genre, register, text, cohesion, grammatical metaphor). Taking the third edition of Halliday's An Introduction to Systemic Functional Grammar This article needs more context around or a better explanation of technical details to make it more accessible to general readers and technical readers outside the specialty, without removing technical details. There is an inappropriate amount of jargon in this article. (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004) as a base book, the second edition of Eggins'
book appeared with a theoretical modification of chapter four (Discourse semantics: cohesion) of the previous edition after which it has become the main part of chapter two (What is (a) text?) in the new edition resulting in a better focus on important concepts like texture, cohesion, coherence and the relationship among them.
The text book successfully shows that the systemic functional linguistics is one of the most powerful models of grammatical theory that has been constructed "for purposes of text analysis: one that would make it possible to say sensible and useful things about any text, spoken or written in modern English Modern English
English since about 1500. Also called New English.
the English language since about 1450
Noun 1. ." (Halliday 1994: XV)
Reviewed by SUKHDEV SINGH & DIVYA KALIA
Guru Nanak Dev University Guru Nanak Dev University, or G.N.D.U., was established at Amritsar, India on November 24, 1969 to commemorate Guru Nanak Dev's birth quincentenary celebrations. Introduction
It is a both residential and an affiliating university. , Amrisar