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Book: Hybridity in Systemic Functional Linguistics

Chapter: 10. Registerial hybridity: Indeterminacy among fields of activity

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24298


Christian Matthiessen and Kazuhiro Teruya clarify their theoretical and analytical position with their very title – Registerial hybridity: indeterminacy among fields of activity – and continue to do so throughout their chapter. They focus on the mixture of functional varieties of language working in diverse institutional domains, making use of a typology of registers that has been created by Matthiessen and other members of The PolySystemic Research Group at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and which are, as they put it, ‘seen “from above”, from the vantage point of context’. Their interpretation of ‘hybridity’ stems from the idea of indeterminacy that was proposed in Halliday and Matthiessen (1999:547--562) as a way of getting at and teasing out ‘fuzziness’, ‘vagueness’, ‘ambivalence’ etc.. Indeed the authors distinguish, discuss and exemplify a wide range of indeterminacy types: ambiguities, overlaps, blends and neutralizations. In closing, they return to the context-based register typology for the purpose of locating the cases of indeterminacy that have been examined within it, and consider still other kinds of register mixing, including satire as employing ‘effective registerial strategies for bringing features of commonly accepted views into critical relief’.

Chapter Contributors

  • Christian Matthiessen ( - book-auth-110) 'The Hong Kong Polytechnic University'
  • Kazuhiro Teruya ( - kteruya) 'The Hong Kong Polytechnic University'