Language as purposeful: functional varieties of text. 2nd Edition

Miller, Donna Rose (2017) Language as purposeful: functional varieties of text. 2nd Edition. Bologna: Centro di Studi Linguistico-Culturali (CeSLiC), p. 269. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/5504. In: Quaderni del CeSLiC. Functional Grammar Studies For Non-Native Speakers of English ISSN 1973-2228.

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This second edition of Language as Purposeful: Functional Varieties of Text, first published in 2004, is an across-the-board revision of that first edition – one that was motivated by our teaching and research experience over the years, but also by explicit student observations. The volume now offers an even more comprehensive introduction ‘about and around’ register theory and analysis. The theoretical input has been substantially fleshed out, as well as thoroughly reworked, as have the practical samples of register analysis. Further changes are detailed in the Preface to the new edition. But some things remain the same. Our approach to functional varieties of text is still, as it has always been, unapologetically Hallidayan. Indeed, today we are more than ever convinced that the ideal model for educating our NNS of English to language awareness is his functional grammar (FG, Halliday 1985/1994/2004/2014). The reasons for this are, of course, many. To begin with, with what better tool could we carry on our relentless efforts to explode those die-hard myths that would see the study of grammar as a boring and/or elitist enterprise, even one that is basically meaningless? Indeed, FG sets its sights high: to “observe the humanity of our communication processes, not just their form” (Martin 2010: 1-2, our emphasis), or as Christie puts it, to explore “some of the most important and pervasive of the processes by which human beings build their world” (1985/1989: v). We ultimately aim to guide our students to observing/exploring these processes. And one crucial way to do this is by furnishing them with the tools that FG provides for understanding how language use is not a minor or ‘neutral’ player in the social fields of everyday life (Williams 2016: 339), as well as – why not? – encouraging them to investigate how such awareness can best be put to worthwhile social use. After all, FG is an exceptionally ‘appliable linguistics’ (e.g., Halliday 2002 [2009]: 3), one that successfully challenges the boundaries between theory and practice. And of course, as Halliday insists, “the value of a theory lies in the use that can be made of it” (1985b: 7).

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Monograph (Essay)
Miller, Donna RoseUniversity of Bologna
esp sfl fg functional grammar registers english linguistics
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08 Feb 2017 09:59
Last modified
08 Feb 2017 10:16

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