Introduction: Conceptualizing Language Systemically
System in Systemic Functional Linguistics - A System-based Theory of Language - Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen
Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen [+]
University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Beijing
This book is about the notion of ‘system’ in Systemic Functional Linguistics, or SFL. SFL is a system-based theory of language in context, so ‘system’ is quite central to the theory. There are a number of distinct but related senses of the term “system”, which I identify, explain and differentiate in this introductory chapter. By way of introduction, I give examples of systems of choice in text in context, showing how speakers make choices and then revise them, thereby revealing aspects of the system behind their choices. This key sense of system as a choice or contrast among options in meaning (and wording, and sounding) will run through the whole book, but the related senses of “system” will also be part of the overall picture that I present.