Abstracts of Parallel Papers


Ferdows Agha-Golzadeh, Dept. of Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran


Functional linguistics and the problem solution pattern in Text analysis

This paper, largely motivated by Hoey (2001), revisits the issue of written discourse analysis and, in particular, the problem – solution pattern. Much discussion surrounds the way in which texts are produced and understood. The different functional approaches include, Halliday and Hasan’s approach, van Dijk’s process–oriented approach, the procedural approach of de Beaugrande and Dressler, and the problem solution approach of Michael Hoey. These approaches attempt to answer the question: what is a text? How is it constructed and how can it be interpreted?

While functionalist approach focuses on the needs of speakers, and looks at linguistic ways of meeting those needs, for Hoey’s point of view, the processes of reading and writing in any discourse are based on culturally popular patterns of organization between writer and reader. Text may be seen as an interaction between writer and reader in which the writer seeks to anticipate the questions that the writer is going to answer. In conclusion, analyzing some texts indicates that the problem–Solution method is a comprehensive and easy method for producing narrative and non- narrative texts.


M.A. Ajibola, Federal College of Education, Zaria, Nigeria


A Functional Analysis of the Discourse Structure of Television Interview Programme

Linguists, especially those of the structuralist aspect have long believed that spontaneously produced verbal communication is the only form of language worthy of analysis from a discourse point of view .To these structuralists, institutionalised language events do not lend themselves to analysis, as they do not demonstrate flexible discourse structures. However, discourse analysts have demonstrated that even language institutional contexts have discernable discourse patterns.  This is why the present research has attempted to study the discourse structure of television news interviews using the eyewitness news which is transmitted on the Nigerian Television Authority. We shall apply the interpersonal metafunction components of functional grammar for the analysis of some episodes of this programme.  This would help us to determine both the nature and function of elements above and beyond the level of the clause discourse.


Ernest S Akerejola, Department of Linguistics & Psychology, Centre for Language in Social Life, Macquarie University, Sydney


Resource for organising the message in Òkó

The paper will attempt to explore the various resources for organising information in Òkó from the perspective of Systemic Functional Grammar.  It is an exploration into how textual meaning is coded in the language. In other words it is an investigation into how Textual Metafunctional system works in the language, with the clause as the point of entry.

Òkó is spoken in at the Middle Belt of Nigeria, West Africa by a population of about 60,000 people. It belongs in the Kwa, Niger-Kordofanian family. At present, the language exists only in the spoken mode. The paper is a product of an on-going PhD research at Macquarie University, Sydney, aimed at providing a systematic description of the language across linguistic strata in order to make it available for literary and literacy interests. The data have been collected from a range of natural contexts of situation (Halliday and Hasan 1985).


Butt, D., Fahey, R., Feez, S., Sue, S., & Yallop, C. (2000). Using Functional Grammar: an Explorer's Guide (2nd ed.). Sydney: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research, Macquarie University.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1985). An Introduction to Functional Grammar (2nd Edition, 1994 ed.). London: Edward Arnold.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Hasan, R. (1985). Language, Context, and Text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. Melbourne: Deakin University.

Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (1995). Lexicogrammatical Cartography: English systems. Tokyo: International Language Sciences.


Adewole Alagbe, Zaria Academy, Shika, Zaria, Nigeria


Functional Interpretation of Modal Verbs in Students Essay Writings

This paper is aimed at exploring the level of understanding of students in terms of accurate and meaningful use of the modal verbs in English.  It is a fact that students, when making use of modal verbs in their continuous writings, are notable to relate the interpersonal meanings contained in each of the modal verbs appropriately.  Thus, they mix up the meanings.  The students are such that can read and write and are at the peak of their secondary education. Test administration which demands the students to write an essay on a prescribed topic will be used to collect data from one hundred such secondary school students.

In this paper, we intend to use the interpersonal metafunction of Functional Grammar to interpret the various uses of the modal verbs by our subjects.  Thesemodal verbs in question are: need, dare, can, could, will, would, shall, should,may, might, must (have/had + to), am/are/is/ was/were + to, ought + to, used +to.  In the analysis, we hope to expose the flaws that will be found in theiressays.

The paper will reveal in details how the functional theory of grammar has handled the use of modal operators in verbal group in sentences.


Abdullahi Aliyu, Lecturer, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria


Harmony between language and content in Ayi Kwei Armah`s The beautiful ones are not yet born: A systemic functional linguistic interpretation

Very little studies have been conducted using the systemic functional linguistic model in the analysis and interpretation of literary texts to examine how meaning is negotiated in communicative relations as a pragmatic phenomenon and as an instrument for communicative purposes in literary expressions. There is dearth of material, competence and expertise in the application of the model in the studies Africa writers series. Studies available on the series are critical essays and literary criticisms which are heavily subjective and judgmental. Thus the need to apply this model in the studies of African writers series. This paper, therefore, attempts to examine the harmony between language and content in Ayi Kwei Armah`s The Beautiful ones are not yet born: how he uses language to project corruption in the society. The paper adapts the functional grammar by Halliday (1978, 1985, 1994). It demonstrates that language is used to mean, project and fight corruption. Systemic functional linguistic model is a powerful tool for describing social phenomenon.


Mehranghiz Anvarhaghighi, Dept. of Translation Studies, University College of Nabi Akram, Tabriz, Iran


The issue of Themeless Sentences in Farsi Language

For agglutinative languages, of which Farsi is one, thematic structure of some interrogatives, imperatives and declaratives does not accord with their English equivalents in regard to the position of the Theme element as the psychological subject of the clause.

In this contrastive study, having determined the Theme in different Farsi elements, an attempt is made to know where the theme element can be readily left out in Farsi clauses.

To show the fact, James Joyce ‘Dubliners’ along with its Farsi translation have been studied to see in what situation the translated themeless clauses in Farsi still convey the same information with the same cognitive effect.

The problem proved itself to be that of “markedness” and “unmarkedness”


Esmat Babaii, University for Teacher Education, Iran and Hasan Ansary, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


The Impact of Disciplinary Variation on Transitivity:

The Case of Academic Book Reviews

The purpose of this study was twofold. First, an attempt was made to systematically characterize Book Reviews (BRs) as a genre in terms of the elements of transitivity system. Secondly, the possible effect(s) of disciplinary variation (physics, sociology, and literature) on the lexico-grammatical features of this genre was investigated. In so doing, a corpus of  90 academic BRs from discipline-related professional journals were randomly selected and  analyzed. Significant differences were observed in terms of both the type and the frequency of processes and participants in BR texts. This, it seems, points to a difference in semantic configuration of BRs peculiar to each discipline, though they all seem to fulfill a similar communicative purpose of evaluating knowledge production in the academic milieu. From a theoretical perspective, it is believed here that the results of the present investigation have cast new light on the linguistic features of BRs as an academic written genre.


Carl Bache, Institute of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark


Tense and aspect in Systemic Functional Linguistics

According to e.g. Halliday (1994) and Matthiessen (1996), tense in English is to be interpreted at group rank. It is located within the logical mode of the ideational metafunction. The basic system contains a three-way recursive distinction (past, present, future), which makes it possible to view tense in terms of a serial model. As a result the tense category in English comprises a large number of complex tenses in addition to simple present and simple past, and the aspect category is rendered superfluous.

Though the notion of choice is central to the SFL approach to tense in English, I shall argue that it is not taken seriously enough. A close examination of the choice relations involved reveals that the values of the three-way system change significantly when selections are repeated recursively. To capture the finer semantic distinctions which may influence the speaker's choice, I shall suggest certain amendments to the SFL approach.


Felix Banda, Department of Linguistics, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


(De)constructing Difference and Distance in Multilingual/Multicultural Learning Contexts: Mediated Academic Texts as Social Process

Although English is medium of instruction at most universities in South Africa, the majority of learners, even at universities “reserved” for whites only during apartheid, are African languages speakers. To the majority of these learners English is at best a second language and at worst a foreign language. It is not uncommon then for learners to discuss class assignments and other class work among themselves in an African language (most often even in a classroom situation), before proceeding to answer, as requested, orally or written in English. The question then relates to the licensing constraints governing the transformation and recontextualisation of the text as it is (re)produced and interpreted.

Therefore, following on the one hand, studies in New Literacies (Gee, 2000; Baynham, 2000, 2001; Street, 2001; Barton, 1999; Prinsloo & Breier, 1996) which take literacy as social practice; and studies on the analysis of values, identities, ideologies and power relations embedded in texts (Fairclough 2000; Eggins & Slade 1997), on the other, the study attempts to answer the following questions:

·          how is mediation accomplished textually in multilingual/multicultural context?

·          how do learners use the multilingual/multicultural set up to negotiate meaning in literacy events (such as discussing assignments among themselves or with their tutors and/or lecturers before writing and submission for marking)?

·          what values, power relations and ideologies are at play during such discussions?

In answering these questions, we hope to investigate how learners through discussions relating to their academic work assert their own identity as well as bridge the gap and differences resulting from multilingual literacy practices in multilingual context.


Leila Barbára, Sao Paulo Catholic University (PUCSP), Sao Paulo, Brazil


A Discourse Analysis of I have a dream

This paper aims at developing a study on discourse analysis centered in the speech – I have a dream –of the great pacifist, Martin Luther King. This speech will be compared to twenty-three other MLK's speeches. The paper will be developed under a Systemic functional approach with the methodological support of Corpus Linguistics tools concentrating on the ideational metafunction.  The analysis aims at showing linguistic evidence for that speech to be MLK´s most famous speech and emblematic of his views and pacifism.


Tom Bartlett, University of Edinburgh, UK


Exploring the elephant:  Combining functional perspectives

Whereas mainstream SFL approaches to language generally focus on the relationship between culture/society and language use, applying realisation rules from concept to form that largely bypass considerations of the mental representation of prelinguistic form, approaches such as Dik’s FG and RRG focus on the latter aspect with little if any consideration of sociocultural factors.  However, it seems necessary for linguistic work in all areas to be underpinned by a coherent theory of the relationship between language, culture and the mind in order to explain processes of production, reception, acquisition, reproduction and change.  Similarly, for theories in general linguistics and in the evolution of language to be robust, each must be able to account for the other. 

This paper therefore considers the common ground of various functional theories of language and explores how they might inform each other with respect to constructing a coherent model of the interplay of language, culture and the mind.


Biook Behnam, English Department, Azarbaijan University for Teacher Education, Tabriz, Iran and Manijeh Alamy, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


Ideology and Textual Indices: One Incident, Multiple Interpretations

Critical linguistics is a socially-oriented application of linguistic analysis which seeks to explore the relationships between ideas and their social contexts. Its basic claim is that linguistic usage encodes ideological patterns which represents the world in language. In other words, ideology can be materialized in language, so the main aim of critical linguistic analysis is to examine the ideologies which underlie texts.

Kress (1993:174) claims that “all texts equally encode the ideological positions of their producers. But they do not reveal or mask their ideological provenance to the same degree”.

Applying some aspects of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar, we are going to examine the headlines and opening texts of four English newspapers published in Iran: Kayhan International, Iran Daily, Iran News and Tehran Times. The ideational function of language will be worked as the main methodological source to unmask ideological uses of textual elements.

Within this function the transitivity model provides a means of investigating how the linguistic structures of a text effectively encode a particular world-view or ideology.

The pedagogical implications of this type of analysis is that, on the one hand it helps English students to read texts differently, to be careful and to pay attention to the writer’s intention. On the other hand, reflecting upon the ideological forces of the words and structures in texts is an unescapable duty of a translator.


Tony Berber-Sardinha and Leila Bárbara, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil


Lexical choice and metafunction prominence

This paper will present an investigation into the lexicogrammar of meetings, more specifically into the collocations employed by participants in a series of meetings held in Brazil. All the collocations present in a corpus of meetings were extracted using a concordancing package, and word association statistics were calculated. The collocations were then analyzed systemically, in terms of their relevance to the interaction. We explore the role of collocations as they are employed by participants to control the flow of talk, to introduce topics, to take the floor and in a range of other strategies. We also classify the collocations in terms of the roles they seem to perform in terms of metafunctions. Although each collocation realizes all three metafunctions at once, for a number of them one metafunction seems to be most salient. In this way, we are able to explore how ideational, interpersonal and textual roles are realized more prominently by the lexicogrammar through collocational choices.


Surabhi Bharati, CIEFL, Hyderabad, India


Language Development in Multilingual Children

This paper attempts to analyze the development of English in multilingual children. The data are interpreted from a systemic theoretical viewpoint as developed by Halliday (1975, 1978, 1979, 1984) and Painter (1984, 1999).

Halliday’s account of language development is based on first language development. An important aim of this research is therefore to take tentative steps towards extending the data base on which the systemic theory rests. This is done by examining the data related to development of English as a third /fourth language.  An attempt is made to examine the systemic expansion of the children’s meaning potential by reference to the functions they are making language serve for them at a given point in time and the ‘metafunctional’ organization of the (multilingual) adult language to which they are gradually approximating. 


Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar, Ph.D. Candidate, CIEFL, Hyderabad, India


The Proverb and its Definition: A Karmik ( Systemic Functional ) Linguistic  Approach

Ever since the time of Aristotle, many scholars and critics have made a number of attempts to understand the complex nature of the proverb and define it. Most of these attempts centered round either the formal or the sociolinguistic or sometimes the functional linguistic properties of proverbs. Nonetheless,  these attempts have not produced a satisfactory definition of the proverb that is free of the defects of ativyapti (over extension),and avyapti ( under extension),and inclusive of the asadharana karana (the uncommon characteristic ) as applied in the testing of the definition of Brahman in advaitha ( theory of non-dualism) by Sri Adi Samkara Bhagavatpujyapada.

In this paper ,an attempt is made to identify the asadharana karana of proverbs by a *karmic linguistic analysis ; avoid the defects of ativyapti , avyapti, and asambhava (impossible property); and propose a karmic ( systemic  functional ) linguisticdefinition as follows:

A proverb is a culturally confirmed frozen text of a prototypical practice used as an (impressional ) illocution over its categorical action for a projected view of life in a setting.

Such a definition, it is hoped , offers a more precise understanding of “What a proverb is, how it derives its meaning, what its content is, and where it comes from ( Mieder 1993: 13)”



Mieder,Wolfgang (1993).  ‘The Wit of One and the Wisdom of Many’. Proverbs are Never out of Season.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

Karmik linguistic theory (proposed by me) considers language as an impressional cognitional representational action of action. In other words, it considers language as karmik action and proposes that it is used as a resource for the construction of karmik reality of which the impressional cognitional reality, the social reality, and the material actional reality are the derived constituents in a hierarchical structure. As such this theory integrates the formal and functional properties of language via an interconnected  complex network of  actions into a unified theory that considers proverbs as a karmik option in the semiotic representation of action.


Stephen Carey, Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics, and Lynn Luo, Language and Literacy Education Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada


Using Systemic Linguistics to Analyze Online Academic Discourse

This study explores the relationship of context to students' language use in an asynchronous online bulletin board in a mixed-mode graduate seminar.  As with traditional form of writing across disciplines, online writing in academic settings is closely connected to the social structure or organizational setting where people write (Anson, 1988). The contextual reality heavily influences the functional and semantic features of their discourse (Halliday & Hasan, 1980, 1989). The current study investigates the use of English by native and non-native English speakers in online discussion on second language acquisition through the analyses of both students/ electronic messages and interview data with the participants.

Through discourse analyses of online messages and interview data, we attempt to provide a more complete explanation of language use related to social environments in electronic communication. The notion of context for writing in the electronic form is eminently local, historical and interactive (Casanave, 1995).


Peter Chaban, Canada


Standardized literacy testing and teacher training:

do teachers with a background in SFL have better outcomes?


The Province of Ontario, like many other jurisdictions around the world has moved towards standardized testing as an outcome measure for student performance in the educational system. One such test is the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). The OSSLT, which measures reading and writing skills, is used as a graduation requirement for Ontario students. In order to support the expectations set out by this test, a new curriculum was set out and teacher training programs were implemented. The teacher training programs included pre-service education for new teachers and in-service education for established teachers. After five test sessions over two and a half years, there has been no marked improvement in the test scores. The failure rate has been consistently within the 25% range. This score is consistent with other literacy research studies.

It is the hypothesis of this presentation that traditional teacher training programs do not properly prepare teachers to work with the weakest quarter of the student population. Teachers lack an understanding of the relationship between language resources and contextual categories necessary to produce meaning within texts.  

This presentation proposes to review the expectations set by OSSLT, Ministry of Education curriculums and teacher training programs in Ontario Universities in order to identify whether systems gaps do exist. It will also compare the competencies set out for teachers trained in language and literacy education in Ontario with those trained through a SFL programs in Australia.


Maria Herke-Couchman, Sydney Language Technology Research Group, School of Information Technologies, University of Sydney, Australia and Centre for Language and Social Life, Division of Linguistics and Psychology, Macquarie University, Australia


Arresting the Scams: Using Systemic Functional Theory to solve a hi-tech social problem

In the last decade, the internet has networked the planet, providing a diverse population with an awesome information repository as well as a communication vehicle par excellence.

However, this technology's rapid growth has disadvantages as well as advantages. New opportunities have been created, many of which are  economically motivated. Adequate legal surveillance has, up until now, been unable to keep pace with a burgeoning hoard of internet opportunists. The internet, then, is more than an information repository and a communication vehicle ... it is also an environment that is well-suited to the activities of scammers.

In this paper, I will present an interim report on my PhD research. SCAMSEEK is an internet surveillance system being developed by Professor Jon Patrick's team in the Language Technology Research Group at the University of Sydney for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The system uses linguistic analysis to identify and classify scam texts. The interesting challenge of this research is how the rich findings of high level manual discourse analysis may be drawn upon in order to inform the development of a computational system, the foundation of which consists of automatable patterns of low level analysis.

If we are successful, this research will represent a breakthough in useful, informative and interesting large scale analysis of texts applicable to a wide range of research and applications.



Halliday, M. A. K. (1994). An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London, Edward Arnold.

Martin, J. R., S. Eggins, et al. (1993). The discourse of history: distancing the recoverable past. Register Analysis: theory and practice. M. Ghadessy. London, Pinter: 75-109.

Martin, J. R. (2000). Beyond Exchange: APPRAISAL systems in English. Evaluation in Text: authorial stance and the construction of discourse. S. Hunston and G. Thompson. Oxford, England, Oxford University Press: 142--175.

Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (1993). Register in the round, or diversity in a unified theory of register. Register Analysis. Theory and Practice. M. Ghadessy. London, Pinter: 221--292.

Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (1995). Lexico-grammatical Cartography: English Systems. Tokyo, International Language Sciences Publishers.


Saedeh Ahangari Dehkharghani, Tabriz Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


Cross-linguistic study of vocabulary equivalence: English vs. Farsi

Every language is a unique system and it has its own special grammatical, lexical and phonological patterns. AS far as we are concerned only with our own native language, there wouldn't be any problem. But the flow of enthusiasm to get to the thoughts, ideas, and information of other nations make it inevitable to learn the other languages as well and to try to translate from one language to another language.

Translation is usually defined as the process of establishing equivalence between the source language (SL) and target language (TL) texts (Lotfipour, 1987). On the basis of the modern trends in discourse analysis and textlinguistics, TE (translation equivalence) should be characterized in terms of different factors including: vocabulary, structure, texture, language varieties, cognitive effect, aesthetic effect.

 In this paper an attempt has been made to make a contrastive study of Farsi and English vocabulary items, because in determining the TL equivalents of the SL vocabulary one should take care of different layers of meaning reflected in the lexical items, including denotative, connotative, collocative, stylistic, contrastive, figurative and implicative.

Different languages employ different strategies for the lexicalization of the same meaning; for example, an English word {recognize } has a wider denotational range than its Farsi equivalent and it must be translated differently in the following sentences :

1-I recognized my old friend.

2-He refused to recognize a new government.

3-He recognized that he was not qualified for the post.

4-Everyone recognized him to be the greatest living authority on ancient Roman coins.


Geetha Durairajan, Dept. of Evaluation, CIEFL, Hyderabad, India


Towards a Principled Means of Expressing Qualitative Differences Between Levels of Language Proficiency in a Developmental Model

Language proficiency, treated as an individual’s ability or capability is a theoretical construct.  In measuring proficiency it is performance that is actually observed and quantified with proficiency being something that is inferred from it.  In this procedure the focus remains on the end product of performance.  While this may be acceptable in the field of summative language testing, it does not capture the kind of learning and languaging that is a part of ongoing learning, or a developing language proficiency, which is the focus of pedagogic practice.  To capture developmental language learning, it is necessary to be able to describe language, not as a system of rules, representing the end product of language activity/performance/use, but as something that is in the process of becoming; something that is modified.  To do this, it is necessary to find a different language to talk about proficiency, one that will enable a focusing on varied and individual processes of language learning and use.   

This paper is an attempt to articulate a description of language proficiency from the perspective of processes of learning.  To do this, insights will be drawn from the base premises of a Hallidayan construal of language learning and use.  This assumes that languaging grows from an initial protolanguage, through a stage where a differentiation between a pragmatic and mathetic language use is possible, to a stage where language can be modified to incorporate the ideational, the interpersonal and textual nuances of meaning.  A final fourth stage, Brunerian in its conceptualization, of being able to go meta, is also added on to it.  In order to apply this conceptualization of language learning, which is developmental to pedagogy and the description of stages of proficiency, it will be construed as a learning based theory of language learning. 

This conceptualization is theoretical at present and is seen as an initial attempt towards modelling language proficiency on a developmental cline.


John Eliezer, Sana'a, Yemen


The Language of Jokes

The fact that jokes translate from one language to another without loss of effect suggests that they must possess some universal features.  This expectation is only falsified by jokes that exploit language specific features such as puns and alliterations.  This paper aims to make a cross-linguistic study of jokes to uncover the linguistic and cognitive features that make them just as significant a form social interaction as other widely studied forms of discourse.


Peter Fankhauser, Institut fuer Integrierte Publikations und Informationassysteme, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Darmstadt, Germany and

Elke Teich, Institut fuer Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft sowie Uebersetzen und Dolmetschen, Universitat des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, Germany


Lexical cohesion analysis using WordNet

Lexical cohesion is commonly acknowledged as the means of making text hang together experientially. However, it is an extremely tedious task to analyze large amounts of texts in terms of lexical cohesion manually and, in contrast to the analysis of other cohesive devices, such as reference or substitution, only insufficient intersubjective agreement can be achieved. Large, analyzed corpora are needed, however, to investigate the nature of lexical cohesion, e.g., for testing which kinds of taxonomic lexical relations are primarily involved in lexical cohesion, whether it is best to think of lexical cohesion as organized in pairs of cohesive items, as suggested by Halliday & Hasan (1976), or chains (as proposed in most computational-linguistic work, such as Morris & Hirst (1991)), or more as topologies, as suggested in Hoey (1991). Also, only with a large corpus analyzed for cohesive relations can we provide research on lexical cohesion with an empirical basis and carry out calculations of the overall frequency of a lexical item and its taxonomic proximity to other items in the lexical system, measure the distance separating one lexical item from another one in a lexical chain, or analyze the internal make-up of lexical patterns as well as their interaction (cohesive harmony) (cf. Halliday & Hasan 1976; Hasan 1984; Hoey 1991; Martin 1992).

From the perspective of the lexical SYSTEM, having available corpora analyzed for lexical cohesion allows to assess the potential of a lexical item to contract a cohesive relation in terms of the relative probability with which it tends to co-occur with other lexical items. From the perspective of the TEXT, it allows to investigate the relative strength of a lexical pattern and its contribution to the overall texture of a text in collaboration with other kinds of cohesive means. Finally, from the perspective of application, being able to detect lexical cohesion patterns automatically is highly relevant for registerial and generic text classification in contexts of content syndication, e.g., topic demarcation as needed in automatic text summarization, abstracting or information retrieval.

In this paper, we propose a method of lexical cohesion analysis using WordNet (Fellbaum 1993; 1998), an electronic lexical resource that organizes the vocabulary of English content words in terms of basic sense relations (synonymy, hyponymy/supernymy, antonymy, meronymy). Taking the sense-tagged version of the Brown corpus as a data basis, we enrich texts with potential lexical connections by matching the (partially transitive) semantic neighbourhood of each token with its subsequent tokens. Each connection is attributed with the kind and semantic distance of the underlying sense relation, the degree of specificity and part-of-speech of the connected tokens, and the number of intervening sentences between the tokens. By means of simple constraints on these attributes, potential lexical chains or lexical topologies can be determined automatically (or ruled out).


Fellbaum C. (ed.), 1993. Five papers on WordNet. http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/~wn/

Fellbaum C. (ed.), 1998. WordNet: An Electronic Lexical Database. MIT Press

Halliday MAK & R. Hasan, 1976. Cohesion in English. Longman

Hasan R., 1984. Coherence and cohesive harmony. In Flood J. (ed.), Understanding Reading Comprehension, pp. 181-219. IRA

Martin J.R., 1992. English text: system and structure. Benjamins

Morris J. & Hirst G., 1991. Lexical cohesion computed by thesaural relations as an indicator of the structure of text. Computational Linguistics 17(1):21-48

Hoey M., 1991. Patterns of lexis in text. Oxford University Press


John Flowerdew, Dept. of English and Comm., City University, Hong Kong


Textual analysis in the discursive construction of a world class city

With the coming of globalization there has been increased competition among cities internationally to become so-called World Cities, i.e. centres of high technology, industry, trade, banking, finance, professional activity, higher education, and the arts. This paper analyzes three texts to show how one city, Hong Kong, has attempted to discursively construct itself as such a city. Applying ideas from critical discourse analysis, genre theory and branding, and using a functional systemic approach to textual analysis, the paper considers the governmental consultation process designed to promote Hong Kong as a world city and shows how this is influenced not only by the government's control of the various genres which make up the consultation, but also by its use of language.  Textual analysis, as demonstrated in the analysis of the three documents, grounded in the political situation, highlights the manipulative nature of the consultation process.


Lynne Flowerdew, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong


Analysing evaluative lexis in professional and apprentice report writing

using insights from APPRAISAL theory

One aspect of Halliday’s SFL system which has been developed over the past few years most notably by Jim Martin and Peter White is APPRAISAL. The APPRAISAL framework, which specifically concerns the way language is used to evaluate and to manage interpersonal meanings, has mainly been applied to the analysis of media discourse, casual conversation and literature (see White 2001). The research presented here applies the framework to the analysis of professional and apprentice report writing, which very often follows a Problem-Solution organizational pattern. The presenter will describe how the APPRAISAL framework has been used, with some modifications, for coding key evaluative lexis signaling either the Problem or the Solution elements of the discourse under investigation. The importance of taking into account the ‘context of situation’ and ‘context of culture’ for classifying evaluative lexis as either Problem or Solution elements of the discourse will also be discussed.


Gail Forey, Dept. of English, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.


Evoking Authority in Business Texts:

Projecting your Thoughts, Beliefs and Decisions

This paper explores thematic choices and the meanings they realise in an authentic corpus of written English business texts (letters, memos and reports).  The data consists of 62 texts collected during research undertaken in Hong Kong and the U.K.

This paper argues that marked Theme choices play a significant role in written business English. In particular the paper will focuses on how, at a clause complex level, the writer uses the marked choice of projection to express personal and institutional viewpoints; and how the authority of the writer or institution is embedded within this grammatical structure. The paper concludes by offering suggested categories of projection and discussing implications for business English pedagogy.


Gail Forey, Sima Sengupta and Arthur Firkins, Dept. of English, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong


Applying a genre based approach to the teaching of English to students with learning disabilities

This paper presents collaborative work between teacher educators and schools. It focuses on investigating the teaching and learning of English with a group of students identified as having learning disabilities. The aim is to understand the context of the special needs English classroom and to enhance the teaching and learning of English. Material, based on a genre approach to teaching writing, was developed and adopted for the EFL classroom in Hong Kong. The paper will explore some of the initial findings from data collected from teaching encounters with students, interviews with students, teachers and the parent of participating students. We will consider some of the ways in which the findings could provide recommendations to improve EFL pedagogy for students with learning disabilities in and beyond Hong Kong. In addition, we will discuss the issues related to undertaking such university-school collaborative research.


Folashade Frank, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria


Intra-Textuality in News Essays in Nigeria:

Analysis of Selected Samples from TELL Magazine

The paper categorises news essay writing in TELL magazine as an instance of the use of English for specific purposes ESP in Nigeria.  As an academically oriented essay, the news essay is short and expresses the writer s opinion on political, social, religious economic and educational subject matters supported by evidence. Tell News essay, provides this study a sample of Standard Educated Nigerian English (SENE)and is a lofty example of essay in content, length, form and language . 

The study examines the features of intra-textuality -the internal structure and meaning relationships within the text, adopting the functional approach specifically textual analysis. It identifies the syntactic, cohesive and organisational features that ensure the texture within the text.

The paper suggests ways of promoting effective news essay writing through which Nigerians could contribute to and become relevant in national and international discussions in the global village.


Helen Fraser, Language and Learning in Medicine Program, Medical Education Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, Australia, and Carole Gannon


Collaborative learning - using functional analysis of texts written by peers

Students rarely have the opportunity to see each other's examination answers.  Expanding their knowledge through functional analysis of fraternal/s or oral work becomes part of collaborative learning.  This paper discusses the teaching of writing medical explanations in an EAP class for Year 2 Medicine students, using a number of texts written by students in a previous Year 2 examination.

Two central texts are used, one by a student with a language background other than English, another by a local student.

The former included:

• a lack of complexity in causal relations, frequent restatement of given information, in paratactical clauses

• overuse of pronouns as Subjects, mental processes in projecting clauses

• nominal groups representing symptoms or hypotheses, used with relational processes without causal expansion.

The latter included:

• a mix of clause types using material processes as lexicalised verbs, in hypotactic elaboration

• nominal groups, generated from symptoms and mechanisms, used in Thematic positions.

Analysis and comparisons assist the development of student writing.


Wee Bee Geok, English Language & Literature, Nanyang Technological University, National Institute of Education, Singapore.


Metaphors and clauses: A preliminary study of the degree of complexity in the writing of students from three Singapore secondary schools

Twenty written texts from the disciplines of History Geography, Science and Composition writing from three secondary schools are examined for clause complexing and grammatical metaphor use. The complexity in writing in this study is measured by the degree of clause complexing and density of grammatical metaphors in the written texts. A move from the primary school to the secondary school, which introduces students to the learning of the humanities and the pure sciences, engenders a greater degree of complexity both in the course content as well as in the written English. The secondary school disciplines thus necessitate a gradual move away from the congruent type of writing to a more metaphorical mode of expression. The study is interested to find out if there is a similar move in students’ written English and if this is accompanied by a greater degree of clause complexing.


Maryam S. Ghiasian, Dept. of Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran


The functional classification of Persian verbs and its application to media

This article tries to classify Persian verbs in the Halliday’s (1994) framework i.e. systemic functional grammar. In this framework four linguistic metafunctions are introduced as linguistic universals: experiential, interpersonal, textual, logical. This article aims at introducing and explaining the first one, namely: experiential metafunction in Persian.

In Halliday’s view one’s experiences are represented in the transitivity system of the grammar of one’s language as a set of processes. Transitivity, as a part of experiential metafunction, has three elements: process, participant and circumstantial, represented in the clause by verb phrase, noun phrase and adverb respectively. According to external and internal experiences Persian verbs can be classified into six processes: 1- material process 2- mental process 3-relational process 4- verbal process 5- behavioral process 6- existential process.

As a conclusion, it may be said that this metafunction put forward by Halliday is valid for Persian language so that the result of this article will accommodate Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in scrutinizing the media.


Sandra Gollin, Learning Skills Unit, Office of the Dean of Students, University of Western Sydney, Australia


Collaborative writing: competing voices in the re-contextualization process

According to Bakhtin, all texts draw deliberately or unconsciously on previous texts or other voices. This characteristic of texts is particularly noticeable, and available for analysis, in a close examination of the process of collaboration, where a team of writers attempt to merge or blend their different agendas and interests in one document. This paper analyses an instance of collaborative writing where two writers have attempted to combine their voices in one coherent stretch of text. Although they appear to have successfully collaborated, a systemic functional analysis reveals how each writer has managed to retain the key elements of their own ideology in the text through successive drafts. The concept of re-contextualization is a useful lens through which to view changes across different drafts of the emerging text. Notions of intertextuality in its various forms, and hybridity are also used to bring the analysis into sharper focus.


John Grierson, Learning Skills Unit, University of Western Sydney, Australia


The semantics of written argument

Argumentation is a key strategy and mode of reasoning in university discourses. Written arguments, and persuasive essays in particular, are used to assess students' production and critique of knowledge, yet students and lecturers alike often lack a clearly articulated framework of what counts as effective argument. Analytical theories and tools that have been used in analysing and creating arguments include formal and informal logic (the procession from premises to conclusion), rhetoric (argument as persuasion rather than proof, e.g. Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca), Toulmin's account of argumentation as the social act of making, supporting and challenging claims, and pragma-dialectics (e.g. van Eemeren). This paper compares and contrasts these approaches, and argues that they are limited, to different degrees, by a failure to adequately recognise the importance of context in shaping the language of arguments. This paper discusses some ways a semantics of argumentation, informed by the work of Christian Matthiessen and David Butt, can be used to provide teachers of academic discourse and student writers with a detailed, contextually-sensitive and explicit description of arguments in different discourse situations.


Hanita Hassan, Dept. of Modern Languages, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Centre for Language and Communication, Cardiff University, UK; and Theo van Leeuwen, Centre for Language and Communication, Cardiff University. UK


The Functions of Verbal Texts on Corporate Web Sites

 This paper examines closely the functions of verbal texts found on multinational worldwide corporate Web sites using a metafunctional concept of Systemic Functional Linguistic approach.  The strategic nature of the texts, i.e. the extensive use of first and third pronouns as topical Themes, material and relational processes, and declarative mood, suggests that the texts aim to disseminate information about the corporation to Web readers.  Is that it?  The paper concludes by arguing that the functions of verbal texts, beside disseminating information about the corporation, include to advertise not only company products but also the corporate identity.


Susan Hood, Faculty of Education, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia


Evaluative strategies in academic writing: Subjectifying the objective

Written academic argument is often characterized in EAP writing guides as ‘personalised’, suggesting that the task for the novice/L2 writer is to objectify subjective or interpersonal meanings. But is this in fact what writers do?

This paper reports on some aspects of a larger study of evaluation in the introductory sections of a set of published research articles and student dissertations in the general area of language and communication. The study draws on Appraisal Theory (Martin, 2000; Martin and Rose 2003), and in this paper I focus in particular on the nature and function of resources of graduation, and the role of graduation in evoking attitudinal meanings. Analyses reveal that a key rhetorical strategy used by the writers in construing an argument for their own research is, in fact, to give an interpersonal orientation to experiential meanings by grading those meanings, in other words to ‘subjectify’ the objective.


Noriko Ito, Toru Sugimoto, Yusuke Takahashi, Ichiro Kobayashi, Michio Sugeno, Lab. for Language-based Intelligent Systems, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Japan


A Systemic-Functional Approach to Japanese Text Understanding

 We have implemented a Japanese text processing system, combining the existing parser and dictionary with the linguistic resources that we developed based on systemic functional linguistics. In this paper, we explain the text understanding algorithm of our system that utilizes the various linguistic resources in the Semiotic Base suggested by Halliday.

First, we describe the structure of the SB and the linguistic resources stored in it. Then, we depict the text understanding algorithm using the SB and the outputs of the process. The process starts with morphological and dependency analyses by the non-SFL-based existing parser, followed by looking up the dictionary to enrich the input for SFL-based analysis.

After mapping the pre-processing results onto systemic features, the path identification of selected features and unification based on O'Donnell (1994) are conducted with reference to the linguistic resource represented in the system networks. Consequently, we obtain graphological, lexicogrammatical, semantic and conceptual annotations of a given text.


Girish Nath Jha, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


Optimality re-investigation of Hindi stress system

The present paper is adapted from a course paper by me for an advanced phonology graduate course (LIN

G 442), at University of Illinois during 1997. The paper attempts to re-investigate Hindi stress patterns from the Optimality Theory (OT) point of view.  Hindi stress pattern has been investigated by several people - Kelkar (1968), Hayes (1991), Prince & Smolensky (1993) which has generated interest due to its variability and instability.  However, Hindi stress system has been found to be more unstable and complicated than it may appear to be. Therefore, there is a need to re-investigate the relevant first hand data from more than one native speakers to see if the given OT constraint ordering is valid for Hindi or needs to be re-configured to handle variable cases, if any.

Based on Kelkar's (1968)  observations, Hayes' (1991)  generalized that "stress falls on the heaviest available syllable, and in the event of a tie, the rightmost nonfinal candidate wins". This has some obvious complications as noted by Prince & Smolensky (1993). The latter have interpreted Hayes' "heaviest" to be the normal heavy syllable in the three way hierarchy of Hindi syllable weight:

                                                      CVVC, CVCC > CVV,CVC > CV

The syllable weight to stress relationship has been explained by the PK-PROM (peak prominence) constraint. The second complication  in Hindi stress system as noted in Prince &  Smolensky (1993) is the  NONFINALITY constraint in stress assignment by which the prosodic head is nonfinal.  The EDGEMOST constraint which requires the peak to be maximally near the edge has also been found to be operative in Hindi but ranked lowest in the hierarchy:

                                    PK-PROM>> NONFINALITY>> EDGEMOST

This ranking of constraints has been used to explain  valid and invalid (starred) stress markings in words with the following competing syllables

a. light vs. light:

                                                       s .mI'.tI               (committee)

                                                       *s '.mI.tI            

                                                       *s .mI.tI'            

b. heavy vs. light:

                                                      kI.dh 'r (which way)

                                                      *kI'.dh r

c. heavy vs. heavy vs. light:

                                                      pU's.t .kee        (books)

                                                      *pUs.t .ke'e

                                                      *pUs.t '.kee

d. superheavy vs. superheavy:

                                                      a'as.maa.jaah                 ? (Is this a Hindi word)



(These examples are from Hayes (1991) as quoted in Prince & Smolensky (1993)). The paper will examine the OT constraint ordering given above.


Carys L Jones, Dept. of Education and Professional Studies, King's College London, United Kingdom


Thematic Organisation in Mediating the Development of Second Language in Use

This paper examines the case for linking two theoretical frameworks to underpin a pedagogical framework for developing second language in use. The first concerns the thematic organisation of text from a systemic functional perspective and the second concerns the process of second language learning from a socio-cultural perspective. More specifically I will consider the contribution that a textual analysis of students’ essays might make to our conceptualising the mediation of students’ development in their academic writing through drawing on activity theory as the pedagogical construct.

I will refer to a study of the progress made by Japanese students in their written texts using English as a second language over a period of five months (presented at Liverpool, ISFC29) to examine the dynamic interplay between thought and language, and between the ideational and the textual functions of language use.


Aliyeh K.Z.Kambuziya, Linguistics Department, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiyat Modares University


Lenition in Persian

In Persian, a rule which is called /v/-weakening converts the fricative/v/ to the approximant [w] whenever it occurs in the coda of a syllable after the vowel [a]. A subsequent rule shifts [a] to [o] before this [w]. For example, the root [rav] ‘go’ is realized as such in [mi-rav-am] ‘I am going’, but is modified in the imperative [bo-row] ‘go!’. Similarly, the [v] of [nov] emerges in a syllable onset in [nov-in] ‘ now’, but appears as [w] in the coda of [now-ruz] ‘ new year’.

[v] –weakening fails to affect syllable-final [v], whenever it forms the half of a geminate, or whenever [v] occurs in the onset of a syllable or after a consonant.


Ichiro Kobayashi, Dept. of Information Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Ochanomizu University, Japan


A Study on Language-based Knowledge Representation from a Systemic Functional Viewpoint

In the field of artificial intelligence technology, several methods to represent human knowledge have been proposed. However, most of them do not relate to language representation nevertheless human intelligence considerably relates to language activity. Considering this, this

paper aims to explain the relationship between knowledge representation and language representation.


Kenneth Kong, Department of English, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong.


The multiple functions of evaluative nominals in academic discourse

The study proposes to investigate the function of ‘evaluative nominals’, which exhibit the ideational, interpersonal and textual metafunctions in Halliday’s terms. This type of nominals, seldom defined in the literature, used to be regarded as having the potential of realizing the ideational metafunction and includes such words as challenge, danger, task, need, and tendency. Despite their frequent occurrence particularly in academic discourse, very little attention has been paid to this important class of words, except for a few recent studies (Flowerdew, 2003; Schmid, 2000). Besides the conventional ability of conveying ideational meanings, these nominals also have the interpersonal function of negotiating relationships with potential readers, as well as the textual function of signalling logical relationships across clauses. Their collocation patterns with premodifiers and postmodifiers in the different sections of academic discourse will also be discussed.


Thao Le, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Australia and Shane How


The genre of linguistic deception: a case of dysphemism

Euphemism is a strong evidence of sociolinguistic strategies employed in communicative interaction. While euphemism is considered as the appropriate linguistic use of language, the opposite is dysphemism, which is offensive language. However, there is another genre of language which cannot be comfortably assigned to the dichotomy of euphemism and dysphemism. It is how to tell lies effectively.  Communicative competence has been discussed and researched for many decades. Recently some interesting studies have dealt with sociolinguistic and pragmatic issues which contribute great insights into our understanding of systemic functional linguistics, for instance communication strategies, gossip genre, greeting genre across cultures. However, it seems that study of verbal lying has not received any research attention in Vietnamese at all and it could be the case in English. This paper examines the genre of lying in Vietnamese and argues that ‘how to tell lies’ reflects language users’ communicative competence.


Eleanor Uchenna Leleji, Ahmedu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria


A Functional Analysis Of Nigerian Secondary School Students Summary Writing

Summary writing is an important reading and study skill, which constitutes a major component of the certifying examinations that Nigerian secondary school students are expected to sit for. A pass at the credit level in English language is a pre requisite for admission into tertiaryinstitutions in Nigeria, yet less than 10% of the candidates pass English language and summary writing at the credit level annually.

This paper analyses the summaries students in a quasi experimental study. A pre-test post test experimental-control group research design was used. Data was collected by means of summary writing tests. A functional analysis of the summaries of the research subjects showed that while some students summarize effectively and efficiently most students do not. It is recommended that teachers explicitly explain summary writing and its rules, model the processes of summarization, ask process and product questions and give students copious practice.


Karen Malcolm, University of Winnipeg, Canada


Car Advertsiements: A Barometer of Cultural Stereotypes

In the past I have quite enjoyed using car advertisements as texts when

introducing students to various type of linguistic analyses. Unusual lexical collocations and marked phonological patterning become quite clear when analyzing the texts, and make for some interesting discussions concerning register, communicative purpose etc.

However, it is not until recently that I have begun to realize the extent to which car advertisements serve as a barometer of the ever-changing cultural stereotypes prevalent in our society year after year.  In a sense, it is no news, we know how much money goes into marketing research in advertising agencies, and we know how vulnerable consumers are to the very specific information that advertising agencies have and use to manipulate the consumer and persuade him/her to buy their product.

Still, linguistic analysis, specifically phasal analysis and the visual

analysis of Kress and Van Leeuwen,  show how thoroughly cultural norms are encoded in printed car advertisements. Not only do these analyses show evidence of how cultural stereotypes contrast from year to year, but also how they are directed to specific readers. In women's magazines, a particular car is advertised in one way; in men's magazines, another. In science magazines, certain features of a car are selected to appeal to that decoder; in golf magazines, other features are selected to appeal to another type of decoder. The net effect is that car advertisements play an important role in creating, maintaining  and perpetuating the cultural stereotypes, that many of us wish they had transcended long ago.


Alvin Leong Ping, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University


Subject Omission in Colloquial Singaporean English

Many writers have observed that Colloquial Singaporean English (CSE) is a null-subject language, where the grammatical subject of a finite clause can be omitted so long as it is retrievable from context (eg. Gupta 1994: 10-11).  The conditions which permit the omission of the grammatical subject, however, need to be worded more precisely since the notion of “context” is a slippery one.  This paper explores the pro-drop feature of CSE using the theme-rheme framework of the Prague school, one that gives prominence to the contextual (in)dependence of each clausal element and the role it plays in contributing to the further development of the discourse.  It hopes to shed light on which thematic element is favoured for omission, and so clarify the role context plays in facilitating such omission.

Reference:  Gupta, Anthea Frase.  1994.  The Step-Tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.


Maria Martinez Lirola, Dept. of English Philology, University of Alicante, Spain


A systemic functional analysis of three syntactical marked structures (existential sentence, extraposition and passive) in Martin Luther King’s speeches

This paper is within the framework of Systemic Functional Grammar for two main reasons: the importance of the context for the analysis of the main syntactical processes of postponement in English and because it studies language in relation to society and analyses the main reasons for choosing between some linguistic forms or others, fact that is always determined for the function that those linguistic forms have in society.

Instead of having chosen independent examples coming from a computational corpus, we have decided to analyse in detail three postposition structures in English (existential sentences, extraposition and passive) in Martin Luther King’s speeches.

Due to the recurrent use of these postposition structures we can perceive King’s feelings and thoughts. We have also observed that these structures are used in situations of climax and allow the author create social reality through language. In the same way, these syntactical structures contribute to the vividness and expression of the speeches and highlight the unfair social situation that surrounded black people in America.

We will prove that the main reason for the author to use these structures in a recurrent way is to point out the social situation that surrounded him, which is clearly marked by racial segregation.


Liu, Zequan, Yanshan University, Hebei, China and National University of Singapore


Evaluating Textual Equivalence in Translation:

A Register-Based Approach

The main aim of the present paper is to inquire into the suitability of methods deriving from a functional approach to the evaluation of translations. Using the Chinese version of an English beauty advertisement, both from popular Singapore newspapers, the paper illustrates the application of the mode of discourse, one of the three variables of register, to the evaluation of the version. After reviewing the key elements of the mode of discourse and their relations to the textual function of text, the paper makes a detailed analysis of the Chinese text with reference to its choices of topical, textual and interpersonal themes and justifies the solutions the translator made in these respects. It is found that it is easy for the version to achieve high (100%) equivalence in terms of both the role language plays and the channel of discourse. However, as far as the medium of discourse is concerned, it obtained high (100%) correspondence in retaining the explicit topical themes of the original, but only 31% and 25% correspondence with reference to the textual and interpersonal themes respectively. This is because Chinese does not resort to more explicit markers to make the semantic and logical relations between clauses and paragraphs more transparent. This analytical exercise justifies the suitability of register analysis as a tool for both parallel textual analysis and translation quality assessment in translation studies.


Graham Lock and Champa Detaramani, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Being Indian in Hong Kong: the discursive construal of ethnic identity, culture and language by Sindhis and Sikhs in post-colonial Hong Kong

As the Hong Kong SAR passes through a period of sociopolitical and linguistic realignment, shifting patterns of  language use and ethnic identities become interesting and important areas of study. The Indian Community, estimated at about 23 thousand, is one of the largest minority groups in Hong Kong and it has a history dating back to at least the middle of the nineteenth century.

This paper looks at how notions of ethnic identity, culture and language are construed by Hong Kong Sindhi and Sikh participants in four focus group meetings. Using data from transcripts of the four meetings, recurrent lexicogrammatical patterns are identified and related to characteristic metaphors of race/ethnicity, culture and language, and to the cultural models that appear to underlie them. A preliminary attempt is then made to relate these cultural models to the broader discourses of enacting “Indian-ness” in Hong Kong.


Gillian Moss, Colectivo Urdimbre, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Columbia


Issues in the analysis of grammatical metaphor in Spanish texts

This paper presents aspects of the results of a long-term research project on the language of school textbooks in Natural and  Social Sciences used in Barranquilla, Colombia. The first part of this project concentrated on comprehensibility. The second part aims to analyze linguistic features that represent ideological positions.  The methodology used has combined systemic functional analysis of the texts with ethnographic description and interpretation of text-teacher-learner interaction. One of the analyses applied to the texts was that of grammatical metaphor. Some of the difficulties which have arisen in the course of the analysis are related to the application to Spanish of analysis originally intended for English; others appear to belanguage-independent. The paper will describe some of these problems: metaphorical nature of causal verbs,  process-describing nouns, nominalizations based on Latin verbs where no verb exists in the modern language, ‘chicken-and-egg’ cases; and invite comments and suggestions.


Bernard Nolan, Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK


Halliday, semantics, and the meaning of meaning potential

What does Halliday’s notion of meaning potential really mean? While there are a variety of candidate interpretations to be considered (not least those provided by Halliday himself), the claim of this short paper is that once considered, the meaning of meaning in meaning potential is founded upon an indeterminate and largely assumed theory of reference, akin to the nomenclature view of semantics that Saussure, among others, showed to be untenable. From this (largely tacit) theoretical allegiance it follows that the structure of language can be taken to be the reflection of its communicative function - it is organised with respect to the requirement to refer to things, to exchange information, to communicate. The problem for this however is that communicative functions cannot be the basis of linguistic organisation because communicative functions presuppose language. That is, a semantics based on something we do with language (communicating, referring) assumes that meaning can be modelled independently of the mechanisms by which a language institutes and makes available what can be referred to or communicated. Halliday’s view of meaning thus excludes the significance of how a language allocates meaning to its units relationally, i.e., from the meaning-systems in which they are embedded, and guarantees that the potential for pre-existing units of meaning to support an open-ended number of contextually-unique meaning-intentions remains a complete mystery (since no semantic-theory of reference or denotation could ever explain it). The suggestion here is that many of the key problems of modelling and describing meaning in the SFL tradition stem from the liability of Halliday’s initial assumption that the exchange of meanings rather than the categorisation of experience is the primary function of language, and thus the key, both to its structure and to its meaning potential.


David Olatunde, Dept. of French, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria


Structure romanesque et vision sociale

dans Pluie et vent sur Telumée Miracle de Simone Schwarzt-Bart

et La vie et demie de Sony Labou Tamsi

Comme indiqué dans le titre, cette etude se divisera en deux parties. Nous avons affaire à deux auteurs de la même génération. Les deux romans reflètent une grande diversité du monde noir au carrefour de la tradition et de la modernité représentée par I’Occident avec ses contradictions, ses tensions, et ses formes nouvelles de domination et d’ exploitation.

D’une part au monde d’épouvante et d’angoisse que furent la traite et l’esclavage correspond une faune spéciale où nous avons un roman paysan don’t la femme, la dynastie féminine des lougandor est le centre d’intérêt. La mise en question de certaines structures de povdoir, héritées du passé et d’autres instaurées par les temps nouveaux constitue, d’autre part, pour l’essentiel la trame de La vie et demie dont Chaïdana est I’héroine.

L’étude s’intéresse à la création du mythe de la force et de la permanence des deux femmes qui semblent se livrer à leurs qualités exceptionnelles malgré I’ingratitude et I’humiliation de leur condition.

La deuxième partie sera une réflexion sur le refus du langage transparent de la prose classique, ce qui est une attaque contre I’ordre social et moral mais aussi qui est en même temps une ecriture à la recherche d’une identité et d’un idiolecte qui lui est nécessaire pour rendre I’émotion et pour inventer un ordre nouveau.

Dans ce sens nous essayerons de passer en revue nos observations des traits qui singularisent les deux romans par rapport à la norme d’emploi du francais à trois séries de remarques portant essentiellement sur I’emploi des verbes, le langage métaphorique et le lexique proprement dit.


Pan Yin, Foreign Language Dept., Guizhou Technological University, Guiyang City, PR of China.


The teaching of argumentative writing to undergraduates in China --

A genre-based pedagogy

The present study set out to discover the specific difficulties experienced by the Chinese EFL learners in mastering the argumentative genre with a view to helping them cope with those difficulties. It also aimed at identifying the correlation of occurrence of the generic features between the model texts used in teaching the subjects and those of the subjects' sequentially written essays, thus showing how a genre-based approach to teaching argumentative writing improved the students' writing abilities. A four-week experiment comprising 20 instructional sessions was conducted in one class of 28 undergraduates. In order to assess the progress made as well as to record the processes that contributed to the progress, the subjects' four essays written during the experiment were analyzed in terms of the rhetorical patterns and generic structures employed. From these analyses, positive results were observed. Most importantly, three factors were found to contribute to helping the students to overcome their difficulties in argumentative writing, which include:

a)    the cognitive development that empowers them to construct effective and convincing arguments;
b) the writing skills that make for better organization and development in terms of rhetorical patterns that conform to the appropriate genre requirement;
c) and the language itself that enable them to express and refute ideas appropriately and adequately.


The study also showed that after several weeks of instruction and practice, students began to show a strong tendency toward the native-like deductive reasoning pattern which indicates that appropriate instruction to equip Chinese university students with the required rhetorical knowledge seems both necessary and beneficial to the improvement of their writings in the genre type in question.


Pattama Patpong, Macquarie University, Australia


Serial verb constructions: a systemic functional approach to Thai narrative discourse

Serial verb construction is a grammatical phenomenon where a string of verbs is constructed in a single clause without any intervening conjunctions or subordinators. Verbs are combined logico-semantically through expansion and projection. This verb serialization seems to be cross-linguistic phenomenon. It occurs in a wide range of languages around the world e.g. Kwa languages in Africa such as Oko, Akan, some of the Austronesian languages in Oceanic (e.g. Jabeßm, Sakao, Utithian (Durie, 1988)), Sino-Tibetan (e.g. Chinese (Li and Thompson (1973)), Austro-Asiatic (e.g. Vietnamese) Cambodian in Southeast Asian region and Thai-Kadai (e.g. Thai, Lao).

This paper aims to explore Thai serial verb constructions, based on narrative discourse data and using Systemic Functional Linguistics as linguistic framework. It orients toward meaning making resources and grammatical choices underlying meaning potential. A notion of logical interdependency is a key perspective defining Thai serial verb constructions.   

The study is based on a corpus consisting of fourteen folktales ¾ seven simple and seven complex; the criteria for folktale type are based on those of Aarne-Thompson (1946). The logical structure of verbal group complex made up the serial verb constructions is discussed. A system network of Thai serial verb constructions is proposed. This is followed by a detailed discussion of types of expansion in logical-serial verb dependency structure ¾ elaborating, expanding, and enhancing. 


Durie, Mark. 1988. “Verb serialization and ‘verbal-prepositions’ in oceanic languages.” Oceanic Linguistics. 27, 1-2: 1-23.

Halliday, M.A.K. 1994. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 2nd ed. London: Edward Arnold.

Li, Charles N. and Sandra A. Thompson.1973. “Serial verb constructions in Mandarin Chinese: Subordination or coordination?” in Your take the high node and I’ll take the low node. Chicago Linguistics Society. 96-103. 

Matthiessen, Christian, M.I.M. 1995. Lexicogrammatical Cartography: English Systems. Tokyo: International Language Sciences Publishers.

Thompson, Stith. 1946. The Folktale. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. (Reprinted 1977. Berkeley: University of California Press.)


K. Sundara Raj, Acharya Patashala College, Bangalore, India


[Abstract not yet available.]


Yusuke Takahashi, Ichiro Kobayashi, Toru Sugimoto, Noriko Ito and Michio Sugeno, Laboratory for Language-Based Intelligent Systems, Japan


Text Generation with the Semiotic Base: a Systemic-Functional Approach

We show the algorithm for the text generation using the Semiotic Base suggested by Halliday, which stores contextual and linguistic (semantic, lexicogrammatical and expressional) resources. This algorithm generates Japanese texts through some steps including “Global Plan” which describes metafunctional properties of a text to be generated, “Local Plan” which specifies the text structure corresponding to Global Plan and lexical selection with Situation Specific Dictionary: the machine readable dictionary containing lexical items with contextual and linguistic features. Based on the Semiotic Base, our algorithm considers contextual as well as linguistic features. We show the overall structure of the Semiotic Base and some examples of the generating process using the algorithm explained above.


K. Rajamani, Department of English, Mepco Schlenk Engineering College, Sivakasi - 626 005, Tamil Nadu, India


Systemic Functional Grammar: Conjunctive Cohesion

The goal of learning a second language is to acquire general linguistics competencies. In the Engineering colleges, students face campus interviews for placement. The companies expect the students to communicate in writing. After successful placement they have to carry out routine business transaction, give & obtain factual information and establish & maintain business contacts. Exposure to Language use, class room instruction and practice can improve learner’s ability to write. In exams like GRE, TOEFL and  IELTS writing skill is tested.

Grammar accounts for what the speaker can do’ linguistically, that is to say, what he ‘can mean’ and indeed how he can represent the meaning thorough the lexico-grammar and the phonology. Language is a social activity taking place in a situational context and that it fulfils a number of social functions. The social and instrumental functions, which are concerned with social and instrument interaction, are often grouped together as the international function. The grammar thus has a functional input and a structural output. Conjunctive cohesion serves to relate sentences to each other in various types of logical relation. According to Halliday, there are four main conjunctive adjuncts such as  additive, adversative, casual and temporal. Additive conjunction serves to further the discourse topic. It differs from the paratactic relation of coordination by introducing the new clause as an extra piece of information, perhaps reinforcing what has already been said. Adversative conjunction is explained as introducing an item of information which is ‘contrary to expectation’. Casual conjunction marks to relationships of reason. Temporal conjunction specifies the time sequence relationship which exists between sentences. The four main headings have their own sub-classes. Conjunctive cohesion plays a vital role in technical writing. 


Christopher Taylor, University of Trieste, Italy


Some lessons for the Subtitler: analysing multimodal texts for screen translation purposes

Following previous SF analyses of large amounts of film material, the author proposes to continue examining this phenomenon in two distinct ways. Firstly the comparison of film language with genuine spoken discourse extracted from spoken language corpora will continue, adopting ever more sophisticated statistical techniques. Secondly, the kind of ‘phrasal analysis’ devised by Gregory (2001) will be applied to multimodal texts in order to gain a more cogent understanding of how dynamic texts work, and how they can be best transposed into another language/culture. All of this has a general purpose in adding to the already existing material on multimodal text analysis and the specific goal of harnessing greater understanding of such texts to the formulation of successful translation strategies, particularly for subtitling.


Sharon Thomas and Thao Le, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Australia


Cultural meaning in children's world of words

Children' semantic development has been studied for decades. Eve Clark is among one of the influential research pioneers on how children develop words and their meanings. Most research tends to focus on the cognitive or referential meaning. However the mystery of children's world of words has still attracted researchers, particularly from an intercultural perspective. Bilingual children tend to develop code mixing and code switching in their use of two languages. At the University of Tasmania, research on children' semantic development started with verbal explanation and definition strategies. Our recent focus is on aspects of cultural meanings with their cultural metaphors in children's words.  For example, what do words with social meanings such as 'wife', 'teacher', 'neighbour' etc. mean to children of different cultural backgrounds? This paper attempts to discuss this question with examples from Australian and Vietnamese children.


Geoff Thompson, School of English, University of Liverpool, UK


Hearing voices: the recognition of Free Indirect Discourse in narrative

The phenomenon of Free Indirect Discourse (FID), an intermediate blend in projection between quoting and reporting, has been exhaustively explored in text, particularly literary texts. As Halliday (1994: 261fn) notes, “‘Free indirect speech’ encompasses a range of different feature combinations; it is a projection ‘space’ rather than a single invariant pattern”. This means that it is not always easy to pin down precisely where particular instances of FID are located in the ‘space’. However, in many (though by no means all) of the studies, the recognition of FID is taken as largely unproblematic: examples are labelled as FID on the basis of often unspecified intuition. Indeed, the general attitude towards the question of how FID can be recognised is reflected in the claim by Leech et al. (1997: 100) that it “is more or less defined by the absence of formal features to identify it”. In this paper, I present counter-arguments in favour of the view that it is, in fact, possible to draw up a list of features by which FID can be recognised, which can be systematically related to functional considerations.



Halliday, M. A. K. 1994. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.

Leech, G., McEnery, T. & Wynne, M. 1997. “Further levels of annotation.” In R. Garside, G. Leech & T. McEnery (eds) Corpus Annotation: Linguistic information from computer text corpora. London: Longman.


Anne Thwaite, Edith Cowan University, Australia


Realisations of commands in teacher discourse in classrooms where children have Conductive Hearing Loss


Conductive Hearing Loss is a problem which occurs in many communities around the world, including India, Nepal (Prasad, 1993), China (Deng & Wang, 1993), Thailand (Prasansuk et al., 1993) and Australia, and which can affect children’s learning.

This paper will discuss realisations of Commands in the discourse of teachers who are aware that children in their class may have Conductive Hearing Loss. The main analyses employed will be based on Speech Function, Mood and Reference.

Data for this paper were collected as part of the Conductive Hearing Loss project being conducted by Edith Cowan University in Perth,  Australia. This project was funded by an Australian Research Council Strategic Partnerships with Industry [SPIRT] Grant and the industry partners: Department of Education Western Australia, Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia and Aboriginal Independent Community Schools, Western Australia.



Deng Y. C. & Wang R. F. (1993) “Issues of Otitis Media in the Beijing Area”. In W. A. Otitis Media Group (1993), pp.117-121.

Prasad, R. (1993) “Otitis Media in Childhood: A National Health Problem in Nepal”. In W. A. Otitis Media Group (1993), pp.23-27.

Prasansuk, S., A. Na-nakorn & C. Siriyananda (1993) “Otitis Media in Thailand”. In W. A. Otitis Media Group (1993), p. 427.

Western Australian Otitis Media Group (1993) Conference Proceedings. Otitis Media in Childhood: Issues, Consequences and Management. Perth, Australia: W.A. Otitis Media Group.


Mohammad Mehdi Vahedi and Arezu Najafian, Dept. of Linguistics, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


“Classes” in the “Unit” Verb Phrase in Persian

In an influential, and the first descriptive analysis of Persian language based on the theory of “Scale and Category”, (Halliday, M. A. K. (1961: pp.241-292)), Bateni (1969) has provided a detailed analysis of Persian syntax. He recognizes four categories for “Grammar”, namely: unit, structure, class, and system. He, then, divides the units of Persian into 5, namely: sentence, clause, phrase, word, and morpheme. He, then, goes on dividing the unit “phrase” into three classes, namely, noun phrase, verb phrase, and adverbial phrase. My concern in this paper is the class of “verb phrase” (VP) which occupies the “predicate Position” in the higher structure, i.e. the unit of “clause”. The largest VP, according to Bateni, may have at most six constituents (or classes), which come in the fixed order below:


I-   Na-bâyad  bar-dâšte šode  bâšad    

      1        2       3      4            5             6

(it) not  must   on- taken      become  be.Subjunctive

It must not have been taken.


Sentence (I) is a(n) (apparent) passive sentence in Persian. In (I), the 1st constituent, or class, stands for the closed class “negative element”, the 2nd for the closed class “defective verb”, the 3rd for the closed class “non-verbal element” of the prefixed, or compound, verbs, the 4th  for the open class “lexical verb”, the 5th   for the closed class “passive verb”, and the 6th for the closed class “aspect auxiliary”. However, we argue that even though “classes” 3 and 4 count as separate “morphemes” in Persian, they do not (necessarily) count as separate “classes”, contrary to Bateni. Rather, 3-4 count as the same class, i.e. “lexical verb” which may have from 1 to 5 constituents/morphemes, but all occupy the same “class” position in Persian; since “class” is a paradigmatic notion in Halliday’s theory, and may (also) be substituted by a single/sole constituent in the paradigmatic axis in Persian. Persian is a language with abundant complex predicates (CP); the CPs may constitute from one to five independent constituents in syntax and all occupy the same “class” position, i.e. “lexical verb”. The second claim that we intend to substantiate in my article is to show that in an apparent passive sentence like (I), above, the classes 3-4, and 5 count as a CP made up of the “class” non-verbal element, i.e. 3-4, and the class “(light) lexical verb”, 5. To be precise, we make the strong claim that there are no passive structures in Persian, and that the constituent 5 in (I) belongs to the main “lexical verb” class. As a result of this analysis 3-4 plus 5 in (I) count as a single “unit”, CP, made up of two “classes”, the open class, “nonverbal element” and the closed class “light verb element” in Persian.


Sita Yiemkuntitavorn, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia


Systemic Functional Grammar on Thai TRANSITIVITY

The study is based on the theoretical framework of systemic functional theory developed by Halliday and other systemicists. Though systemic functional theory has been widely used in the West for linguistic analysis, it has not captured the attention of research in Thai linguistics. Thus, this proposed study attempts to make this research transition as its contribution to Thai linguistics. The focus is on the description of the experiential grammar of the clause or the system of TRANSITIVITY. In functional grammar, formal units in natural language display a variety of simultaneous grammatical structures, which are fused together in the process of realisation. These structures are the syntagmatic expressions of paradigmatic choices which are themselves realisationally related to the metafunctions of language. Both the paradigmatic and syntagmatic aspects of the experiential grammar of the Thai clause will be examined. This study consists of three components: (a) reviewing the linguistic analysis of Thai from different grammatical perspectives, (b) examining the reasons why Functional Grammar provides deep linguistic insights into the understanding of Thai linguistics, and (c) conducting a comprehensive analysis of Thai system of transitivity.