Interpersonal meaning and the clause

Authored by: Thomas Hestbæk Andersen

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


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The interpersonal metafunction represents ‘the idea that language can be used as a means of communicating information’ (Halliday 1975: 21). The fundamental nature of any communication process is that of dialogue (Halliday 1975: 31); hence the interpersonal resources of language designate ‘the area of the language in which choices are made which assign communication roles to the performer (whether speaker or writer) and to the addressee (whether listener or reader)’ (Fawcett 2011: 1). In this way, the interpersonal resources (both the lexicogrammatical and semantic resources) reflect and construe an intersubjective aspect of semiosis; as Halliday (2002 [1992]: 354, emphasis original) points out, ‘[m]eaning is intersubjective activity, not subjective’.

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