Introduction

Reading systemic functional linguistics

Authored by: Tom Bartlett , Gerard O’Grady

The Routledge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415748407
eBook ISBN: 9781315413891
Adobe ISBN: 9781315413884

10.4324/9781315413891.ch1

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Abstract

We are very pleased to present the current volume of work bringing together forty chapters that, between them, present a critical overview of the ‘extravagant architecture’ of systemic functional linguistics (SFL). SFL is unique amongst linguistic theories in attempting to account for the structural, social and developmental features of language within a single coherent – though far from simple – framework, and in the current volume our overriding concern was to provide an overview of this theoretical architecture in as much breadth and critical depth as possible, allowing full chapters for areas that are often treated as subsections in other collections. But there are many ways into the theory and many interconnections between the concepts to be explained. This makes the editors’ job of imposing a schematic structure on the book a daunting task and one that is based, ultimately, on a somewhat arbitrary decision. The particular direction we have chosen largely follows the hierarchical arrangement of Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar (1994) in considering language from within, below and above the cause, with sections on general theoretical issues and applications framing these descriptions within the wider contexts of linguistics and social life. The approach we have taken is, we believe, a distinctive and productive one, and in this brief introduction we first describe the ways in which we think the book is an original contribution to the literature, then suggest alternative ways of navigating the highways and by-ways of the theory.

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