Veltman, Robert
School of European & Modern Language Studies
University of Kent at Canterbury

Robert Veltman
Eliot College
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2

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Strand: semiosis in language and other modalities


Most attention within SFG modelling has been directed to the question of interrelationships between the levels of Meaning and Wording and to a lesser extent between the Lexicon and Grammar as organisational components of Wording. Relationships which involve the so-called 'lowest' levels of the language system are somehow taken for granted. The Meaning-Expression relation is taken to be essentially arbitrary, with 'echos' of iconicity captured at the Meaning-Wording level as 'natural' pairings (Halliday 1985/94:xvii-xx). Similarly, although SFG has distinctly less to say about it, the relationship between Wording and Expression is considered to function according to the principle of 'duality of patterning'. Arbitrariness and Duality suggest unyielding impenetrability and separateness; and while SFG has reinterpreted the former, duality has as yet not been properly interpreted in SFG terms. This paper argues:

The paper also examines the major SFG text on duality (Halliday 1992 in Davies & Ravelli eds. 'How do you mean?') and attempts to interpret the claim that 'meaning is realized by the realization of wording in sound'.