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Challenging Boundaries in Linguistics

Systemic Functional Perspectives

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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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Expansion in law student essays: The relationship between success and logical reasoning in the Legal Problem Question Answer genre (Jumani Clarke)

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Jumani Clarke University of Cape Townjumani.clarke@uct.ac.za

Expansion in law student essays: The relationship between success and logical reasoning in the Legal Problem Question Answer genre

Abstract: By looking at a legal register at the stratum of semantics, this study compares the logical relations of two student essays in the Problem Question Answer genre to illustrate how the successful essay uses a higher degree of logical meanings of elaboration and extension to construe the contextual structure Issue-Rule-Application-Conclusion.

1 Introduction

Many of the exercises in undergraduate legal studies involve a series of activities that include identifying relevant laws to fit given specific hypothetical or historical situations and applying those laws to arrive at logical and coherent conclusions. The student expands on both the details of the law, rephrasing its conditions and recommended actions in more familiar terms, and also expands on the details of the situation, highlighting the circumstances that are relevant to the law. Understanding register to be a functional variety of language, these activities of expanding on coded laws and on the given circumstances to which it is applied resonate with a particular variety of semantic meanings that constitute the register of law and their corresponding text types, the academic legal genres.

Under the logical metafunction of language, these activities have a particular contextual structure, elsewhere called the generic structure potential (Hasan 1978, 1984) or the schematic structure (Martin 1992). On studying a few student texts, it seems likely...

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