Systemic Functional Linguistics

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Systemic Functional Linguistics Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), pioneered by Michael Halliday, considers language to be a social semiotic system. The notion of the system was taken from his teacher, J. R. Firth, who considered systems to refer to possibilities subordinated to structure. This was somewhat liberated by Halliday regarding the dimension of choice from structure and made it the central organising dimension of this theory (Halliday 2004). For an English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher, traditional prescriptive grammar is far from practical and quite tedious, unless under formal or pretentious circumstances. Grammar that focuses explicitly on the correctness of sentence forms has deemed to be ineffective for learners.…show more content…
Based upon these factors, this methodology is pragmatic to say the least. From my experience teaching EFL in Saudi Arabia, a student’s main aim is to acquire practical language that will facilitate everyday social situations. I have always done my best to fuse grammar lessons with lexis (lexicogrammar), and to train my students to view them as one thing with two fractions. Separating them can remove practicality, prevent possible contextualisation and cause a lot of confusion. Grammar in Saudi Arabian schools is also taught as something rather technical, so even if a student has a good understanding, it would still be quite the challenge when putting the grammar to use. Halliday describes the relation of grammar to lexis as one of a 'cline ', and therefore, one of 'delicacy '. In 1961, he wrote 'The grammarian 's dream is...to turn the whole of linguistic form into grammar, hoping to show that lexis can be defined as "most delicate…show more content…
To add to this, Carter, Hughes and McCarthy (2000) have used a visual newspaper cut out, as opposed to just text that would surely help bring the exercise to life. In Teaching English as a Foreign Language (2003), Riddell states that language needs context because context provides meaning. One way to illustrate meaning is via a situation. This can be done in a number of ways, including pictures. This method gives an exercise increased tangibility, not to mention the appeasement of visual learners. More on the Hallidayan interpretation of meaning-making in visual semiotic modes can be found in the works of Kress and Hodge (1976). The two areas of concern are: various types of images such a photographs, drawings and diagrams, and displayed art in painting, sculpture and

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