View Book

Negotiating Social Relations

ID: 3020 - View Book Page - Edit In OJS

Language abounds with resources for negotiating community and identity – both across metafunctions, including ideational resources such as technical and specialized lexis, and interpersonal resources such as naming and vocatives, and across strata, including accents in phonology, slang, grammatical markers, and discourse semantic style. This book introduces research within Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) exploring community and identity in terms of individuation, that is, how language users deploy this wealth of resources to commune. It does this through introducing two key perspectives on individuation – allocation, the differential use of language across society, and affiliation, the way people use language and multimodal resources to build community and enhance social bonds.

The book begins by reviewing a ‘user in uses’ approach to language that explores how the way different people use language interacts with the different uses language is put to, before explaining how this has informed the development of key affiliation concepts such as ‘coupling’ (values construed as evaluative attitude about ideational meaning) and ‘bonds’ (alignment around these couplings). After contextualizing these concepts in relation to work on coding orientation deriving from Bernstein’s sociological approach of code theory and its recent development by Maton into Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) and the influence this has had on SFL modelling of allocation (in particular Hasan’s seminal studies of semantic variation), we explore how affiliation is enacted verbally in dialogic contexts, multimodally through language with body language, and ambiently in online contexts. In order to illustrate our framework while focusing on variation in interpersonal meaning, we focus on a number of texts about motherhood.

Published: Jun 1, 2025