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†

18. The ‘architecture’ of language according to systemic functional theory: developments since the 1970s

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

Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen [+-]
Hunan University
Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen is a Swedish-born linguist and a leading figure in the systemic functional linguistics (SFL) school, having authored or co-authored more than 160 books, refereed journal articles, and papers in refereed conference proceedings, with contributions to three television programs. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, in the School of Foreign Languages, Hunan University, Guest Professor at Beijing Science and Technology University, and Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. Before this, he was Chair Professor, Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Professor in the Linguistics Department of Macquarie University. Professor Matthiessen has worked in areas as diverse as language typology, linguistics and computing, grammatical descriptions of various languages, grammar and discourse, healthcare communication studies, functional grammar for English-language teachers, text analysis and translation, multisemiotic studies, and the evolution of language. He has supervised over 40 research students.

Description

The development of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) has always been of an evolutionary kind rather than of a revolutionary kind: Halliday (e.g. 1959; 1961) built on his immediate predecessors instead of distancing himself from them and new findings have been added in a cumulative fashion. This has been true of all aspects of SFL – theory, description, analysis, application – and it has certainly been a property of the development of the systemic functional model of the ‘architecture’ of language (and in more recent years of other semiotic systems as well). Here I will be concerned with the modelling of this ‘architecture’. The term ‘architecture’ has been used quite widely in discussing the organisation of language and of other systems as well (see Matthiessen, in press, for general remarks). It embodies a helpful metaphor – as long as we keep in mind that language is not rigid, it is not static and it is not designed.

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Citation

Matthiessen, Christian. 18. The ‘architecture’ of language according to systemic functional theory: developments since the 1970s. Continuing Discourse on Language - A Functional Perspective, Volumes 1 and 2. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 505-561 Nov 2005. ISBN 9781845531140. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=25344. Date accessed: 06 Feb 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.25344. Nov 2005

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