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Challenging Boundaries in Linguistics

Systemic Functional Perspectives


Edited By Stella Neumann, Rebekah Wegener, Jennifer Fest, Paula Niemietz and Nicole Hützen

Linguistics, like any discipline, is full of boundaries. However, in nature, as Ruqaiya Hasan points out, there are no clear cut boundaries. The participants of the 42nd International Systemic Functional Congress held at RWTH Aachen University addressed and challenged the notion of boundaries in linguistics in many creative ways. Twenty-one of the papers presented at the congress are collated in this volume. The six sections cover topics that challenge theoretical notions and stances, and explore historical, interpersonal and lexicogrammatical boundaries as well as those between languages and in language development. The volume presents a state of the art overview of systemic functional linguistic theorising with extensions into other theoretical frameworks.

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Communication linguistics as a social and cognitive semiotic (Karen Malcolm)


Karen Malcolm University of

Communication linguistics as a social and cognitive semiotic

Abstract: In this paper Malcolm discusses the revisions she has made to communication linguistics and phasal analysis since its inception with Gregory 1985. She currently sees communication linguistics as a social and cognitive semiotic, capable of describing the dynamic shifts of intentional and non-intentional, linguistic and non-linguistic communicative events.

A few years ago, I read a fascinating dissertation by Naomi Knight (2010), Laughing our bonds off, in which she discusses how people use humour to reveal and negotiate their personal and shared evaluations of people, things and ideas through their experiential and interpersonal couplings (2010, 159). They do this in order to identify themselves as, and affiliate themselves with, members of a group by constructing social bonds around shared meanings and values (2010, 205, 212). Knight writes, “Negotiating community is a dynamic process played out as texts unfold in the myriad of discourses materializing the communion of everyday and institutional life” (2010, 204).

In her analyses of the conversational humour of friends, Knight used the descriptive methodology of communication linguistics known as phasal analysis. Gregory and Malcolm (1995) came up with phasal analysis and communication linguistics in the early eighties as they analyzed children’s discourse. Their theoretical framework was influenced by Halliday’s systemic functional grammar, as well as Pike’s tagmemics and Fleming’s version of stratificational grammar. Phasal analysis enables linguists to discover how all discourse is structured unconsciously...

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