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Function in Systemic Functional Linguistics

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Function is one of the most essential concepts in systemic functional linguistics. While indicating the research perspective of the theory, its meaning varies with its different positions in the different domains of the overall theoretical framework, and there are still controversies, issues and indeterminacies over its meaning and use within and beyond systemic functional linguistics. This book aims to provide an accurate and detailed description of this concept within the overall theoretical architecture of systemic functional linguistics. Specifically, it shows the development of the concept in systemic functional linguistics, and the meanings of the concept at different levels of the framework, such as grammatical functions, proto-language functions, and metafunctions in social communication. At the same time, it also elaborates the relations between function and the related concepts, compares the concept of function in SFL with that in other theories and approaches, studies its applications in other disciplines and in the description of other languages, and finally, it also discusses the issues, controversies, limitations over the concept of function and the expectation of its further development in the future. The book will be the author’s own original research with citations and quotations from leading scholars in the field.

Published: Oct 1, 2025