What Use are Strata? Does Stratification Make a Difference?

Strata in Systemic Functional Linguistics - Levels, Layers, Planes, Domains - Elissa D. Asp

Elissa D. Asp [+-]
Saint Mary's University
Elissa D. Asp is Professor of English and Linguistics, and Coordinator of Linguistics at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS. She was educated at Glendon College and York University in Toronto, where she specialized in linguistic description of discourse and linguistic theory. She is interested in functional and formal theories of language and developing models that elucidate language processing in context. Ongoing research addresses three main areas: (1) language and discourse correlates of dementias, especially neurodegenerative diseases associated with ageing; (2) MEG studies of neurocognitive networks supporting language and discourse processing; (3) theoretical implications of these studies for models of language.


This chapter considers whether stratal organization matters when it comes to potential and actual applications. Arguments are made that the utility of strata are reflected primarily in textual analysis and socio-cultural critique through discourse analysis that is enabled by linking discourse and context to the grammar on the one hand, and work on text generation and related computational tasks on the other. The relevance for text analysis and socio-cultural critique means that in practice stratified models have had very broad influence in fields such as education and areas where ‘designed discourse’ has roles. The relevance for computational tasks is perhaps more specific to the grammar insofar as, for example, the treatment of morphosyntax or lexicogrammar as realizing semantic selections simplifies morphosyntax. Stratified models may also have potential to be informative about neural injuries that affect language and discourse though this potential is underdeveloped in SFL work in clinical linguistics.

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Asp, Elissa. What Use are Strata? Does Stratification Make a Difference?. Strata in Systemic Functional Linguistics - Levels, Layers, Planes, Domains. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2024. ISBN 9781781797303. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35445. Date accessed: 02 Dec 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35445. Mar 2024

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