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Approaches to Systemic Functional Grammar

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This volume brings together contributions to a key area of interest within the framework of systemic functional linguistics: the role of meaning in the lexicogrammar. A key figure in the debate on this role is Robin Fawcett who has long argued for a fully semantic lexicogrammar where the relevant systems are seen as representing ‘choices between meanings’. This volume, a festschrift in honour of Fawcett’s long-standing contribution to the field, raises important questions related to lexicogrammatical meaning within systemic functional linguistics by examining the meaning-form interface, lexicogrammatical meaning in theme and transitivity, as well as lexis, intonation and its role in computational models. Importantly, discussions in the volume also explore the relationship between alternative approaches to systemic functional lexicogrammar, notably between the Hallidayan model and the Cardiff Grammar model developed primarily by Robin Fawcett.

Published: Jun 11, 2020

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Foreword Christian Matthiessen
About the editors Gordon Tucker, Huang Guowen, Lise Fontaine, Edward McDonald
Introduction Gordon Tucker, Huang Guowen, Lise Fontaine, Edward McDonald
Section 1: Divergence
1. Finding Complementarity in the Approaches of M.A.K.Halliday and Robin Fawcett Jonathan Webster
2. Relating Form and Meaning: A Comparison of the Cardiff Grammar with Other Functional and/or Cognitive/constructionist Approaches Christopher Butler
3. On the Abstractness of Levels of Description in Systemic Functional Linguistics Mick O'Donnell
4. Embedding in the Cardiff Grammar: A Comparative Study Zhang Delu
5. ‘United but not the Same’: Exploring Ways of Talking across Divergence within SFL Edward McDonald
Section 2: Convergence
6. From Form to Meaning in the Cardiff Model of Language and Its Use: A Functional-Syntactic Analysis of ‘He has been Talking about Going to the Grand Canyon with Margaret for Many Years’ Huang Guowen
7. On the Meaning-Form Interface of the Cardiff Grammar Victor Castel
8. Lexical Representation in the Cardiff Grammar: An Appraisal Gordon Tucker
9. Referring and the Nominal Group: A Closer Look at the Selector Element Lise Fontaine, David Schönthal
Section 3: Description
10. Quantifying Things: The ‘Quantifying Modifier’ and its Raising Construction in Japanese Hiroshi Funamoto
11. Intonation in Semantic System Networks Paul Tench
12. On Choosing the Subject Theme Margaret Berry
13. Negation in Japanese: A New Treatment of Nai as a Process Type in the Japanese Transitivity Network - A Kyoto Grammar Approach Masaaki Tatsuki
14. An Alternative Model of the Transitivity System of Chinese Wei He
15. The Ideational Semantics of the Canonical Existential Clause in English Kristin Davidse
Section 4: Towards Consilience
Models - Predictions - Data: An (Un)problematic Relationship? Erich Steiner
End Matter
Index Gordon Tucker


As I review the list of insightful and substantial contributions to this volume by scholars who (like me!) admire, and have benefited from, Robin’s enormous multi-faceted contributions to linguistics in general and to our academic community in particular, I am of course struck by the variety of contributions, both in terms of geography and in terms of subject matter. This is entirely appropriate, reflecting Robin’s engagement with and support of scholars and students around the world.
From the Foreword by Professor Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University