An Introduction to Functional Grammar by Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday, Christian M. I. M.

By Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday, Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen

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Nevertheless, the meanings that are realized by these wordings, and the meanings realized by an extraordinary human disaster and humanity’s belief in justice are, ultimately, construals of human experience; and when we now read or listen to that text we are understanding it as just that. Interfacing with the ecosocial environment is a property of language as system; it is also, crucially, a feature of those instances through which small children come to master the system; but it is not something that is re-enacted 28 Basic concepts for the study of language in every text.

This is the kind of thinking we have tried to adopt throughout the present work. 1 Towards a grammatical analysis Let us take a passage of three sentences from the transcript of Nelson Mandela’s speech and start exploring its lexicogrammar: To my compatriots I have no hesitation in saying that each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld. Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal.

These ‘absent’ items do not need to be mentioned; they are part of the meaning of the items that are there in the text, virtually present once the relevant vectors have been established. Figure 2-1 illustrates the lexical relations set up within this passage. (iv) Paradigmatic/grammatical (the grammatical system) As discussed in Chapter 1, grammatical categories are organized in systems. For example, there is a system of PERSON, based (in English as in most other languages) on the opposition of ‘you-and-me’ versus ‘everyone (and perhaps everything) else’, and then on that of ‘you’ as opposed to ‘me’ (Figure 2-2).

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