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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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Challenging Moves and Supporting Moves in discourse (Margaret Berry)


Margaret Berry University of

Challenging Moves and Supporting Moves in discourse

Abstract: This paper presents the beginnings of a descriptive framework for distinguishing different types of Challenging Move in discourse, the eventual aim being to relate different types of Challenge to different types of context of situation. Distinctions drawn include those along metafunctional lines and those based on exchange structure.

1 Introduction

Burton (1978) complained that much work on discourse structure assumed what she called a “polite consensus-collaborative model” of discourse. She proposed that it was necessary to distinguish between Supporting Moves and Challenging Moves. This distinction has been much discussed since then (e.g. Berry 1981a, 135–9; Ventola 1987, 104–109; Martin 1992, 71–6; Tsui 1994, 161–3; Eggins and Slade 1997, 211–3; O’Donnell 1999, 89–95; Martin and Rose 2007, 240–4 and 252). The paper here will first review existing work and then consider ways of taking the study further.

The eventual aim is to investigate whether different kinds of Supporting Move and Challenging Move occur in different kinds of context of situation. Eggins and Slade (1997/2006, 19), for instance, distinguish between ‘pragmatic conversations’, those which have a pragmatic purpose, such as Ventola’s (1987) service encounters, and ‘casual conversations’, where the aim is simply to keep talking, as in their own dinner party conversation. Do the kinds of Support and the kinds of Challenge in pragmatic conversations differ from those in casual conversations...

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