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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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Grammatical metaphor: A window to understand rewriting in academic contexts (Lucia Rottava / Sulany Silveira dos Santos)


Lucia Rottava, Sulany Silveira dos Santos Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul / Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa /

Grammatical metaphor: A window to understand rewriting in academic contexts

Abstract: This study focuses on the concepts of rewriting and grammatical metaphor with the purpose of investigating how novice writers deal with academic literacy. The major contributions of this study lie in the conceptions students bring with them about rewriting practices and in their specific difficulties when dealing with rewriting in academic contexts.

1 Introduction

This exploratory study analyzes the rewriting of texts produced in academic contexts under the perspective of systemic functional linguistics (SFL). The hypothesis of the study is that, when rewriting, novice writers in higher education level introduce changes in their texts in order to organize them in terms of ideas, reasons and causes (Eggins 2004). To accomplish such changes, it is assumed the writers use ‘grammatical metaphor’. This concept, developed by Halliday (1985, 1994, 2004), is a linguistic resource which enables “variation in the expression of meaning” (Halliday 1994, 341).

Academic and scientific writings are characterized by the presence of grammatical metaphors; thus novice writers need not only to read but also to use them in their academic texts. Nominalization is the most common resource used to build grammatical metaphors in order to pack information in academic texts; it in turn distances the writer from his/her interlocutor. Since grammatical metaphor is a...

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