Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

13. SFL in computational contexts: a contemporary history

Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2 - Ruqaiya Hasan†

Michael James O'Donnell [+-]
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
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Lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
John A. Bateman
University of Bremen

Description

Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as we know it today is the result of a continual evolution of theory and description. The theory had its roots in Firth’s teachings in linguistics,2 which were taken up and developed by Halliday, first in his system/structure description of Chinese (1950s), later in his development of scale and category grammar (1961) and afterwards in the evolving complexity of SFL. Intertwined with this evolution we find also the evolution of computers and their use in relation to SFL. Computational applications of SFL, such as sentence generation and analysis, have enabled practitioners to explore just how complete the systemic model of language is: when confronted with real texts, is the theory sufficient to provide formal instructions for interpreting those texts; and when confronted with meanings, is the theory sufficient for providing formal instructions that motivate natural texts corresponding to those meanings. In this way, the computer-using linguist (or computational linguists as they are now called) could find where the model failed to work and needed to be changed. They have also found gaps in the theory: places where SFL does not tell us enough to allow us to generate a text or to understand one – and thus point to where the theory needs to be extended. This chapter summarises the evolution of computational applications which use SFL, or help those who use SFL. We look at those applications which use SFL for machine translation, parsing, text generation and dialogue systems. We also look at tools which help the practitioner: coding tools and system network drawing tools.

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Citation

O'Donnell, Michael; Bateman, John. 13. SFL in computational contexts: a contemporary history. Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 343-382 Nov 2005. ISBN 9781845531140. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=25337. Date accessed: 06 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.25337. Nov 2005

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