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Systemic Functional Linguistics in the Digital Age

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Systemic Functional Linguistics in the Digital Age explores the insights that SFL offers to help us understand and explain the new meanings afforded through digital channels and how they are shaped by and shape their digital contexts.

SFL offers a sophisticated architecture for exploring how meanings are construed in context, and this volume focuses on three specific perspectives. Part 1 examines texts that are ‘born digital’ or digitally conceived, such as tweets and blogs. Part 2 focuses on texts that ‘achieve digitality’, or have come to replace or supplement non-digital texts with similar functions, such as an online university lecture or medical consultation. Part 3 examines and interprets texts singly or in corpora using digital tools and allows us to see patterns within and across texts that are generally not visible in single texts.

The volume offers contributions from international scholars which both initiate new and sustain current lines of enquiry in SFL research within the unifying context of digitality.

Published: Nov 15, 2016

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
List of Figures Sheena Gardner, Sian Alsop
List of Tables Sheena Gardner, Sian Alsop
Acknowledgments Sheena Gardner, Sian Alsop
Introduction Sheena Gardner, Sian Alsop
Part I: Texts that Are Born Digital: New Digital Genres
1. “There’s power in stories”: A Multimodal Corpus-Based and Functional Analysis of Fandom Blogs Maria Grazia Sindoni
2. Digitality and Persuasive Technologies: Towards an SFL Model of New Social Actions and Practices in Digital Settings Sandra Petroni
3. Digital Citizenship: Social Actors in Blog Posts to Chilean Online News Portals Lesmer Montecino, Cristina Arancibia
4. Imagined Community and Affective Alignment in Steve Jobs Memorial Tributes on YouTube Anu Harju
5. Commenting, Interacting, Reposting: A Systemic-Functional Analysis of Online Newspaper Comments Mariavita Cambria
Part II: Texts that Achieve Digitality: Professional Genres Recontextualized
6. “We’re hearing from Reuters that…”: The Role of Around-the-Clock News Media in the Increased Use of the Present Progressive with Mental Process Type Verbs Ben Clarke
7. The Construal of Terminal Illness in Online Medical Texts: Social Distance and Semantic Space Meriel Bloor
8. Moving Online to Teach Academic Writing in Science and Engineering: Theory and Practice Helen Drury
9. Cut and Paste: Recontextualizing Meaning-Material in a Digital Environment Daniel Fryer
10. Analysis of an Online University Lecture: Multimodal Perspectives Mersini Karagevrekis
11. Transitivity in Language Event Reports in an Online Corpus of Science Journalism Blanca Garcia-Riaza
12. Is this the End of Hypertext?: Hotel Websites' Return to Lineality Martin Kaltenbacher
Part III: Texts that Have Digitality Thrust Upon Them: Super Powers in Text Analysis
13. On Negotiating the Hurdles of Corpus-Assisted Appraisal Analysis in Verbal Art Donna R Miller
14. Diachronic Change from Washington to Obama: The Challenges and Constraints of Corpus-Assisted Meaning Analysis Paul Bayley, Cinzia Bevitori
15. The Role of Corpus Annotation in the SFL-CL Marriage: A Test Case on the EU Debt Crisis Sabrina Fusari
16. Grammatical Metaphor through the Lens of Software? Examining “Crisis” in a Corpus of Articles from The Financial Times Antonella Luporini
17. A Corpus Approach to Method of Development: Discourse Markers and Presuming Reference in 32 ICE-GB Text Types Michael Cummings
18. Journey of Three Digitised Texts: Entextualisation and Recontextualisation in a Corpus Study Tom Morton, Anne McCabe
19. Annotating Cohesive Ellipsis in an English-German Corpus Katrin Menzel
Chapter 20: Linguistic Characteristics of Schizophrenia and Mania Computationally Revealed Ekaterina Shagalov, Jonathan Fine
End Matter
Subject Index Sheena Gardner, Sian Alsop
Author Index Sheena Gardner, Sian Alsop


Offers a selection of state-of-the-art SFL studies. Complementary approaches, which integrate qualitative analysis with corpus linguistics, are presented as the driving force for change in SFL research. In general, the chapters are well organized, with a clear introduction to provide a contextual and theoretical backgrounds, a description of the method and data to be analysed, an account of the analysis and detailed discussion of the results.

This volume is a timely publication that showcases how SFL can be applied to study new genres that have emerged in digital contexts, how qualitative interpretation of quantitative information may be usefully informed by SFL, and how SFL and corpus research can benefit from each other. As such, it is highly recommended.
Discourse Studies