Gilbert, Janet R.
Delta College

Janet R. Gilbert
Delta College
English Division S-5
University Center, MI 48710

Strand: lexicogrammar English / discourse English / educational

Title: Language in Orbit: Exploring Connections from Word Group to Sentence to Genre

"The sentence has evolved by expansion outwards from the clause" (Halliday, IFG 192). I am exploring the concept that genres, as we recognize them in English, have evolved by expansion through the same processes that created the sentence. I trace six processes from some primary patterns in the word group orbit as they spiral through to primary patterns in the sentence orbit and finally to patterns in the wider orbit of genre.

This Language in Orbit perspective is particularly useful in teaching composition. Gaining a sense of the system in sentences simultaneously with a sense of the system in genres has proved to be a natural and effective way for students to grow as writers.