Systemic Functional Grammar

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Systemic Functional Grammar is a theory that is oriented to the description of how language makes meaning in context. According to Halliday (2014, p54), the word Systemic represents the development of details system networks in grammar, and the word Functional, the development of the theory of metafunctions in language.
As language is a resource of information, the meaning which writer and speaker means come from a context of culture and by means of extra linguistics factors, like field, tenor or mode. The structure of language shows meaning which is interpreted by the audience.
In Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) as well as in traditional grammar, the use of Subject, Actor and Theme are necessary in a sentence structure.
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It is in the central part. For instance in the sentence I have to finish my work in time. I is the subject the doer of the action. It could be a noun, a pronoun, or a nominal group like Marie and Claire are shopping together. In this case, Marie and Claire are the subject of this clause.
As language is a tool of communication for society to interact with one another, subject can have these three functions in a sentence: the concern of the message, something that is being predicate, and the doer of the action (Matthiessen 2004, p54).
The concern of the message directly point out to whom the message is addressed.
In SFG, the verb is called the predicate. So the subject seen as something that is being predicate means that, for instance if you tell someone to do something, they are the assumed subject of the sentence which is a message. The truth or falsehood of the statement is vested in the subject (Matthiessen 2004,
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4.3 Clause 3
By the duchess My nephew was brought This toy
Actor Subject The duchess is here both the theme and the actor as it is placed in front, but also she is the one who does the deed.

This assignment discussed the dynamics surrounding the concepts of Subject, Actor and Theme. It then explained the conflations of these terms using the Systemic Functional Grammar framework and the traditional grammar, using examples.
Formed with two words: Systematic and Function, SFG make sense of meaning in language usage. Subject, Actor and Theme are essential to the construction of a clause.
The subject plays an important role in a clause. Divided in three parts, psychological, grammatical and logical subject, each function is important to one another to make sense of the clause. Depending on the clause, it then evaluates to be called, Subject, Actor and Theme.


Bartlett, T. and O 'Grady, G. (2015). The Routledge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics. 4th ed. Florence: Taylor and

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