Locating Rhetorical Structure Theory in Systemic Functional Linguistics

Rhetorical Structure Theory and Its Applications - Past, Present and Future - Bo Wang

Bo Wang [+-]
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Macau
Bo Wang received his doctoral degree from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests include systemic functional linguistics, translation studies, discourse analysis, and language description. He is co-author of Lao She's Teahouse and Its Two English Translations (Routledge), Translating Tagore’s Stray Birds into Chinese (Routledge) and Systemic Functional Insights on Language and Linguistics (Springer). He is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Macau, China.
Yuanyi Ma [+-]
Yuanyi Ma received her doctoral degree from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research interests include systemic functional linguistics, translation studies, discourse analysis, and language description. She is co-author of Lao She's Teahouse and Its Two English Translations (Routledge), Translating Tagore’s Stray Birds into Chinese (Routledge) and Systemic Functional Insights on Language and Linguistics (Springer). She is an independent researcher in China.

Description

In Chapter 1, we relate RST to Systemic Functional Linguistics by locating RST in the various dimensions of SFL. In terms of stratification, RST serves as a semantic resource for realizing fields of activity within context, and it is in tern realized by the lexicogrammatical systems that are used in clause complexing (cf. Halliday 1985; Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: Chapter 7; see Matthiessen for explorations of fields of activity). In terms of metafunction, RST is located within the logical mode of the ideational metafunction, and it is closely related to the textual system of PROGRESSION and the experiential system of CONFIGURATION. RHETORICAL RELATIONS is a logical system. It has the properties of logical systems in general, and it involves both the systemic options from the system (paradigmatic property) and iterative relational structure (syntagmatic structure). In terms of instantiation, RST on the one hand deals with text analysis and investigates text ¬– a semantic unit located at the instance pole of the cline of instantiation. On the other hand, it is extended to the potential pole of the cline of instantiation as systems of rhetorical relations. Also, it involves the intermediate registerial patterns along the cline by taking registerial variation into consideration (see Chapter 4).

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Citation

Wang, Bo; Ma, Yuanyi. Locating Rhetorical Structure Theory in Systemic Functional Linguistics. Rhetorical Structure Theory and Its Applications - Past, Present and Future. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2026. ISBN 9780000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=41440. Date accessed: 21 May 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41440. Feb 2026

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