System in Systemic Functional Linguistics - A System-based Theory of Language - Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen

System in Systemic Functional Linguistics - A System-based Theory of Language - Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen

The System as a Navagational Tool in Language Description and Text Analysis

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
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 in the Department of Linguistics at University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, 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

In the previous chapter, I have shown how language can be conceptualized as a resource and represented by means of systems forming system networks. These system networks are ‘dispersed’ throughout the stratal systems that make up language and also the extra-linguistic higher-order system of context. Systemic terms are related across strata by inter-stratal realization so that all of language in fact can be thought of as a gigantic system network. In this chapter, I will discuss some of the consequences of modelling language systemically – of foregrounding the paradigmatic mode of axial order. I show how the system can serve as a cartographic and navigational tool in both descriptions of the linguistic system and the analysis of texts. First I explain the notion of systemic cartography, and then I show how systemic descriptions are used in text analysis, and how systemic text analysis can be presented as systemic scores with chords. In the course of this account, I introduce systemic frequencies in text and relate them to probabilities in the system, noting how this conception of language as a probabilistic system enables us to interpret evolution as gradual change in systemic probabilities and register variation as variation in probabilities. I end the chapter with a summary of the system as a navigational tool.

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Citation

Matthiessen, Christian. The System as a Navagational Tool in Language Description and Text Analysis. System in Systemic Functional Linguistics - A System-based Theory of Language. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 143-162 Dec 2023. ISBN 9781781799024. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38384. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38384. Dec 2023

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