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Book: Hybridity in Systemic Functional Linguistics

Chapter: 2. On the (non)necessity of the hybrid category behavioural process

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24290


In his provocative paper, David Banks takes issue with the neatness of the classification of process types as illustrated by the cover to IFG2 (Halliday 1994), maintaining that such neatness is illusory, whereas ‘…natural languages have the habit of being frustratingly untidy. They very rarely, if ever, fall into neat preprepared boxes’. Neatness is also not tantamount to correctness, or with the requisite clarity of status and definition that categories should have and the behavioural category does not. So he challenges the need for this too-‘hybrid’ ready-made ‘box’, admitting however that the phenomena it is meant to accommodate are indeed real and need to be dealt with. This he proposes can be done more satisfactorily at a greater level of delicacy, which would include networks providing the further choice between voluntary and involuntary perception and between projecting and nonprojecting verbal processes. Cases falling outside of these networks ‘can be analysed either as material or as mental, depending on the particular clause in which they appear; or indeed as both’ (emphasis added), meaning that process types can be seen as primary or secondary and that it is the context that will determine which, highlighting, for example, whether action in the physical world or a given mental state is of greater importance – which one might call a theory of permeable contexts and hybrid process types.

Chapter Contributors

  • David Banks ( - dbanks) 'Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France'