The Construal of Experience Across Languages: Beyond English Grammatical Accounts

Experiential Grammar in Systemic Functional Linguistics - Assumptions and challenges - Beatriz Quiroz

Beatriz Quiroz [+-]
Departamento de Ciencias del Lenguaje, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Beatriz is Assistant Professor at the Department of Language Sciences in the Faculty of Letters of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC-Chile), where she teaches and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students in Linguistics. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney, Australia, in 2013. Her current research, informed by Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), focuses on a metafunctionally integrated description of clause systems in Chilean Spanish, with special emphasis on the system-structure principle embodied by the theoretical dimension of axis. Other research interests include the interaction between lexicogrammar and discourse-semantics, and systemic functional language typology. Further details about her work and academic interests can be found at


This chapter reviews descriptive generalisations in SFL that are relevant to the account of experiential grammar across languages. The discussion is framed within work on SFL Language Typology, as developed from the early 90s to date. First, the distinction assumed in SFL between theoretical and descriptive orders is addressed. Next, convergence and divergence across languages is discussed in terms of key descriptive generalisations emerging from the SFL account of a number of languages. The chapter then discusses the nature of experiential ‘probes’ across languages, including metafunctional diversification, the varying contribution of resources along the rank scale, and some of the complementarities and/or tensions that may be relevant – as in the conceptualisation of models of participation (e.g. transitive/ergative in English; centrifugal/centripetal in Tagalog), and of orbital/serial structuring of experiential features. The above discussion draws on work specifically addressing experiential cryptogrammatical patterns in Spanish (Quiroz, 2013), Tagalog (1996, 2004), Pitjantjatjara (Rose, 1996, 2001), among other languages. Theoretical, descriptive and methodological challenges for ongoing and future work across languages are explored towards the end of the chapter

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Quiroz, Beatriz. The Construal of Experience Across Languages: Beyond English Grammatical Accounts. Experiential Grammar in Systemic Functional Linguistics - Assumptions and challenges. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781795668. Date accessed: 17 Jan 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.31719. Oct 2022

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