Friday Seminar Schedule 2012.2: 2nd Semester

On this page you’ll find the schedule for the series of presentations for the Friday afternoon seminars held at the University of Sydney, sponsored by the Dept of Linguistics during second semester 2012. The program is subject to change, but WITH as much notice as practicable: see sys-func mailing list for any updates.

Seminars are held as usual from 4pm till 5.30pm at the Camperdown campus of SYDNEY UNIVERSITY, NEW LAW Building ROOM SR 442. Everyone is welcome to attend.

After each of the seminars are given, a link to the powerpoint slides themselves, or a pdf version of the talk will be added below each of the relevant abstracts. If possible we will provide audio-visual recordings of the presentations, similar to those uploaded for previous semesters. Stay tuned for new additions: check under each of the abstracts after the date for the talk.
GENTLE REMINDER: Many of the audio-visual recordings made available at this site, are of presentations of research that is sometimes still in progress. If you would like to cite any of the material you see, please contact the speaker directly by email. Contact either ChRIS CLÉiRIGh or eldon if you need to find a contact address.

Friday August 10th – Maryam Ghiasian
Friday August 17th -Shoshana Dreyfus
Friday August 24th – Bill Crowley
Friday August 31st – Sue Hood
Friday September 7th – Ed McDonald
Friday September 14th – David Rose
Friday September 21st – Yaegan Doran
Friday October 5th – Jennifer Blunden
Friday October 12th – Shoshana Dreyfuss
Friday October 19th – Kristin Davidse
Friday October 26th – Margarita Vidal Lizama
Friday November 2nd – Erika Matruglio

Other pages on the site can be accessed via the top menu bar. These include an “About” page, and access to the Blog (“All Posts“) where you are invited to add your comments or register and post, as well as a page where we make available a collection of pdf-ised powerpoint presentations (“Presentation Collection“) which were made at times and places other than the friday seminars…
The blog posts can also be accessed via the sidebar by clicking on the titles of any of the most recent posts.

Friday, 10th August
Presenter: Maryam Ghiasian
Title: “Analyzing text and images in Persepolis: reviewing multimodality through Critical Discourse Analysis spectacles”


‘Persepolis’ is a French–language autobiographical novel, by Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian writer and artist. It depicts her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution through the use of black and white comic strips. It was translated into English and Persian. In 2007, an animated film with the same name, “Persepolis”, was created. Using language and image as an integrated medium in comic strips is a way of conveying connotative meanings in any cultures and contexts. Based on Kress and van Leeuwen (2006), the present study tries to illustrate the ideational, interpersonal and textual meanings in some participants who are represented differently. Since these participants were depicted as protagonists and antagonists in the whole story, another theoretical framework was also applied to the text as a whole: Laclau’s and Mouffe’s (1985) ideas within a critical discourse analysis by which polarized signifiers such as freedom–Veil, Marx-God, are analyzed. In this study, the analyzed data confirm the idea of a dialectic relationship between the dominated discourse and the verbal and visual modes of the text.

Kress, Gunter and Theo van Leeuwen (2006) *Reading images: The grammar of visual design*. 2nd edition. London and New York: Routledge

Laclau, E. and C. Mouffe (1985) *Hegemony and socialist strategy: Towards a radical democratic politics*. London: Verso

Select Bibliography:
Chiu, Monica (2008) Sequencing and contingent individualism in the graphic, postcolonial spaces of Satrapi’s Persepolis and Okubo’s Citizen 13660. English Language Notes, Special Issue (Graphia: The Graphic Novel and Literary Criticism) 46(2): 99-114.
El Refaie, Elisabeth (2010a) Visual modality versus authenticity: The example of autobiographical comics. Visual Studies 25(2): 162-174.
Halliday, M.A.K. 2004. An introduction to functional grammar. 3rd ed. Revised by Ch. Matthiessen. London: Edward Arnold.
Jorgensen, M. and L. Phillips (2002), Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method,
London: Sage Publications.
Kress, G., and T. van Leeuwen. 2006. Reading images: The grammar of visual design. 2nd ed.London: Routledge.
Said, Edward (1997) Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World
Ghiasian, Maryam (2009) “cultural attitudes of west towards Iranians reflected on the structure of English Language Periodicals” in cultural studies (Persian journal),2(1): 123-139
Marandi M. and H. Pirnajmuddian(2009),”constructing n axis of evil :Iranian memoir in the land of free”in American Journal of Islamic social science,26(2):23-47
McCloud ,Scott,1993,Understanding comics, Harper perennial.

Maryam Ghiasian is an assistant professor at Payame Nur University (open
university),Tehran. She studied Linguistics at the University of Tarbiat
Modares, Tehran and analyzed her thesis data at UTS as a research fellow in
2006-2007. Maryam is a discourse analyst whose work is involved
in multimodality and critical discourse analysis of the media, memoirs, and
primary school curriculum. She is currently the head of the Linguistics and Persian language teaching department at Payame Nur University and is a member of secondary schools English text books authors association at the Ministry of Education.

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Friday, August 17th:
Presenter: Shoshana Dreyfus, Sydney University
Title: ‘When there is no speech: ­ the limits of protolanguage’

The paper explores an interventionist action research project focused on communication with a severely
intellectually disabled boy named Bodhi. Due to a rare chromosome disorder resulting in intellectual disability, Bodhi¹s language has not developed beyond the protolinguistic phase – there has, in other words, been no movement from micro-functions through macro-functions to metafunctions and a fully developed linguistic system as occurs in typically developing children (Halliday 1975, Painter 1984). Although Bodhi is limited to the semiotic resources of protolanguage, he has nonetheless been able to increase his meaning potential through interaction with determined caregivers. The study reported in this presentation explores the nature and limitations of protolanguage – what Bodhi could and couldn’t do/mean in the absence of metafunctions, ranks and strata; what aspects of meaning caregivers worked on to facilitate interaction with him in a domestic environment; how the meaning potential was expanded through intervention and use; and finally, what the shape and limits of this interactively constructed protolinguistic meaning potential appear to be. The study highlights the sense in which for both protolanguage or language, language development is always about teaching and learning ‘how to mean’.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1975). Learning How to Mean. London: Edward Arnold.
Painter, C. (1984). Into the mother tongue: A case study in early language development. London: Frances Pinter.

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Friday, August 24th:
Presenter: Bill Crowley
One of the most notable differences between experienced and
inexperienced writers is the rate at which they reach closure upon a
point. The experienced writer characteristically reveals a much greater
tolerance for what Dewey called ” an attitude of suspended conclusion”
than the inexperienced writer, whose thought often seems to halt at
the boundary of each sentence rather than move on by gradations of
subsequent comment, to an elaboration of the sentence.
Another major difference is that for the inexperienced and often
less able writer there is an absence of movement between abstract and
concrete statements. Papers tend to contain either cases or
generalizations but not both. If anything, students seem to have
more difficulty moving from abstract statements down to more concrete
levels than they do moving up the ladder of abstraction.
These and other related matters are particularly important for
students wishing to write well in History, Economics, Law, Sociology
and similarly related subjects- and of course English Language and
Literature. These and related matters will form the basis of our
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Friday, August 31st:
Presenter: Sue Hood, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS

Title: Elevating the emic: Ethnographies, stories and knowledge

Ethnographic research practices that privilege an emic perspective of first-hand observation/reflection are often proposed as essential to the making of legitimate claims about the social world. Where grounds for research legitimacy rest on an emic perspective then the observed every day world and its subjective voices must retain a place in the written accounts, and one significant means by which this is achieved is in the telling of stories. Stories are said to open space to and elevate the authentic subjective voices of the everyday world, and as such constitute a radical departure from the un-commonsense knowledge practices we anticipate in academic writing. In this presentation I question what elevation of the subjective and everyday means in an analysis of stories in ethnographic research from a number of disciplines, and critique claims that story telling in research writing represents a radical departure from un-commonsense academic knowledge practices.

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Friday, September 7th:
Presenter: Ed McDonald
Announcing the inaugural Sydney session of


under the combined auspices of the
Associated Systemic Seminarians
& the
Professional Institute for Sociological Semantics in Theorising and Actioning the Knowledge Economy

In his usual cogent and penetrating style, Dr McHorse takes on the weighty topic of

The Dual Role of the Academic in the Knowledge Economy
as Knowledge Producer & Discourse Controller
analyses why the academic tends to fall down so badly on the latter
and makes concrete suggestions for how the academic can Take Control

Dr McHorse’s presentation will be interspersed with verbo-musical highlights
including his Theme Song “McHorse the Knife”
as well as the popular favourites
Old Vice-Chancellor (“Dere’s an old place called de Univers’ty”) &
The Academic’s Swansong (“It’s all for the best”)

For a brief biog of Dr McHorse and an outline of some of his methods please refer to

McDonald, E. (2011) Learning Chinese, Turning Chinese: challenges to becoming sinophone in a globalised world, London: Routledge.
in particular, Chapter 9 ‘From Ed McDonald to Ned McHorse: negotiating multiple identities in a globalised world’
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Friday, September 14th:
Presenter: David Rose
Title: Bringing language to consciousness: recontextualising KAL

Probably everyone reading this would agree that knowledge about language is useful for both teaching and learning language. Probably most of us would have acquired a lot of KAL through studying courses and/or textbooks in linguistics. But teaching and learning linguistics is a very different field from teaching and learning language. In Bernstein’s terms, linguistics courses and textbooks recontextualise the field of production of linguistic theory, for the purposes of apprenticing students into that field. To that end, their starting points are with the linguistic systems described in the field, which students are expected to memorise and apply to analysing text examples.
In contrast, Halliday and Painter have shown us that children actually learn language by construing its systems from repeated experience of instances as text-in-context, largely unconsciously, and that knowledge about language is brought to consciousness at moments of uncertainty. This seminar will illustrate an approach that recontextualises this principle to teaching KAL in both the classroom and teacher training programs. Starting points are with instances, and systems are accumulated as their features are brought to consciousness and named.

**David has provided us with the slides from his presentation. The PDF version can be downloaded by clicking here

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Friday, September 21st:
Presenter: Yaegan Doran
Title: Math, Grammar and Genre.
Or the universe as we know it.

Mathematics provides scientists with a powerful tool to describe and predict the world around them. This seminar will take a step toward understanding this power by providing a snapshot of the organisation of mathematics at the levels of genre and grammar. It will begin by introducing the generic staging of two very broad genre families: derivations, aimed at developing new symbolic relationships, and quantifications, which find numerical results. Following this, we will jump down to the grammar, where we’ll see mathematics’ overall architecture is organised in a considerably different way to that of language. Lacking an interpersonal metafunction, and containing only a very minimal experiential component, it will be shown that the organisation of mathematics is primarily determined by its elaborate logical system. This includes obligatory nesting somewhat analogous to language’s experiential rank scale. This realisation allows us to begin to understand the power of mathematics for scientists, but also puts a focus on SFL’s descriptions of constituency, and the current theory’s adequacy for modelling extensively recursive systems.

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September 28th NO SEMINAR: Reading Week

Friday, October 5th:
Presenter: Jennifer Blunden, doctoral student UTS
Title: A poor relation

Museums and galleries today are increasingly important cultural and educational
resources, with exhibitions one of theirprimary means of providing access to their
collections and scholarship. Integrating artefacts with graphics, text, multimedia,
built forms and three-dimensional space, the exhibition experience is complex and
multimodal. Yet written texts as labels, on screens or in print materials continue
to play a central role, both in mediating visitor experience and understanding and
in construing relations among the various museum professionals involved in their
development. Arguably, as exhibitions become even more multimodal, the role of
language is becoming even more critical and pervasive.

Yet compared to other forms of public and educational discourse, the language of
exhibition texts has only rarely been the object of focused scrutiny by systemic
functional discourse analysts. As observed by Decrosse & Natali (1995: 157) ‘text in
the exhibition medium … is, in relation to the broad field of linguistics, a poor
relation’. While some work has since been done in this area (eg, by Ravelli,
McLulich, White, Stenglin & Pang), Decrosse & Natali’s comment remains substantially
true today. This seminar will present preliminary findings from a doctoral research
project that seeks to bring exhibition text back into the spotlight and demonstrate
a valuable role for SFL as a descriptive, critical and pedagogic tool for the museum
and broader cultural and heritage interpretation professions.

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Sat – Sun 6th – 7th October: Freeling

Friday, October 12th:
Presenters: Shoshana Dreyfus, Namali Tilakaratna & Tobin Bales
Title: Dealing with difficult emotions: exploring the limits and expanding the scope of the AFFECT network in SFL.

This paper reports on a research project that used the AFFECT network from the APPRAISAL system (Martin & White, 2005) to examine 90,000 lines of data from internet blogs. Building on the work of both Bednarek (2009) and Martin & White (2005), the researchers found it necessary to expand the network in a number of ways. Additionally, the researchers found a number of grey areas, which will be explored in this presentation. These include:
• How do we decide whether to subsume some emotions into already existing types or whether to make new ones?
• What criteria do we use to make these decisions?
• Does there have to be a certain number of instances to motivate a new category?
• What to do about double coding eg hybrid categories such as “a horrifying experience” (appreciation + affect)
• What to do about categories that the types of affect are unclear eg annoyed being a possible combination of ennui and displeasure
• The blurry boundaries between AFFECT and APPRECIATION, AFFECT and mental processes, and AFFECT and behavior, to name a few.

In exploring these areas, the researchers hope to shed further light on this enormously complex area of attitudinal language.

Bednarek, M. (2009). Language patterns and ATTITUDE. Functions of Language, 16(2), 165 – 192.
Martin, J. R., & White, P. R. R. (2005). The language of Evaluation: appraisal in English. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Friday, October 19th:
Presenter: Kristin Davidse, University of Leuven, Belgium
Developing a speech function analysis of tagged utterances in spontaneous dialogue
(Kristin Davidse, Ditte Kimps and Bert Cornillie, University of Leuven)


In this paper we propose a corpus-driven description of the various speech functions that ‘tagged utterances’ (TUs) may serve in authentic dialogue. Our datasets consist of the TUs with both variable and invariant tags extracted from the prosodically transcribed parts of the Corpus of London Teenage Language and the London-Lund Corpus of Spoken English.
We distinguish between TUs used in the exchange of information or goods-and-services (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004). On these two communicative dimensions, TUs can be used with more speaker- and more hearer-oriented functions.
In information-oriented exchanges, TUs are either the first part of the adjacency pair (Martin 1992) (AP1), as in (1), or its second part (AP2), as in (2), or they are embedded in longer turns by one speaker (3).

(1) A: brother, brother J\ack#
B: yeah I kn\ow# but
C: yeah but it’s Fr= Fr\ench# \isn’t it#
B: yeah I know so it should be fr\ere# (COLT)

(2) A: what’s wr\ong with it#
B: it’s dead \innit# (COLT)

(3) A: I wouldn’t call him g\enuine# but he’s not two f\aced#,if he doesn’t l\ike you he t\ells you it# d\oesn’t he# m\ind you# I don’t know# (COLT)

In the latter two options, the speaker makes a statement , i.e. ‘gives’ information to the hearer, either volunteered (3) or asked for (2). With TUs in AP1, the speaker expects or demands some response of the hearer (Axelsson 2011). However, as illustrated in (1), the distinction between statement and question is mostly neutralized by the declarative form of the stem, the absence of interactional elements activating a question-reading, and predominantly falling tone on the tag. For the rare TUs in AP1 that are clearly questions, formal and contextual recognition criteria will be developed.
In goods-and-services-oriented exchanges, TUs are always used as AP1, classifiable as:
– a command (benefiting the speaker)
– an offer (benefiting the hearer)
– a proposal for joint action (benefiting speaker and hearer)
We will draw up quantitative profiles of the distribution over the datasets of these TU-types, correlating them with the basic semantic and grammatical parameters and the attested intonation patterns.
Our findings strongly thwart the predictions in for instance Quirk et al (1985), whose description of English TUs runs as follows. The function in dialogue of a TU is question-like in that it requests a response from the hearer. In the unmarked case, the tag has a rising pitch contour. Investigation of the tones on the tags in our datasets contradicts the prediction that rising tone is the unmarked option. In the COLT dataset, rising tone on tags is found in only 10%, 80% have a fall, and 10% have no pitch change (cf. Halliday & Greaves 2008). One could think that this is related to other non-standard and shibboleth features of teenage talk, but the LLC dataset featuring educated adults confirm the predominant use of falling tone: 24% rise, 64% fall, 4% either fall-rise or rise-fall, 8% no pitch change. Presumably in correlation with this, the TUs do not function as clear questions in the majority of cases.


Axelsson, K. 2011. Tag questions in fiction dialogue. Unp. PhD. thesis. Göteborg University.
Halliday, M.A.K. and W. Greaves. 2008. Intonation in the Grammar of English. London: Equinox.
Halliday, M.A.K. & C.M.I.M Matthiessen. 2004. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 3d edn. London: Arnold.
Martin, J. 1992. English Text: system and structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Quirk, R., S. Greenbaum, G. Leech & J. Svartvik. 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.

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Friday, October 26th:
Presenter: Margarita Vidal Lizama, FASS-UTS
Title: Radical pedagogy, popular education and critical pedagogy: how do they relate?

Various kinds of pedagogic practices and theories can be distinguished
within the broad field of radical pedagogy, which can be loosely understood as
‘education for social change’. An epistemological description of radical pedagogy is
provided by Bernstein (1990), who elaborates a topology of kinds of pedagogies based
on two general principles. Within the topological space of radical pedagogy,
Bernstein includes various authors as representatives of radical pedagogy. Two of
these authors are Henry Giroux, known by his work in critical pedagogy, and Paulo
Freire, whose philosophical disquisitions on pedagogy have said to inspire and
underpin pedagogic proposals in both North and Latin America. In the North American
context, Freire has had a major influence in the work ofGiroux; in the Latin
American context, Freire is commonly described as the major theoretical framework
informing the practice of popular education. Thus, a link could be made between
radical pedagogy, critical pedagogy and popular education via the educational
philosophy proposed by Freire. However, from a popular education perspective, it
appears that there are important differences in the way particular forms of radical
pedagogy – specifically critical pedagogy – and popular education in Latin America
represent and carry out their practice.

This seminar is part of a doctoral research project on popular education in Chile,
and it focuses on a preliminary description of the representations of popular
education and critical pedagogy construed in their respective literature. The aim of
this analysis is to make visible different possible topological positions within the
space of radical pedagogy. At the same time, this exploration aims to reflect on the
implications that these conceptions of radical pedagogy may have for the
‘disadvantaged’ or ‘marginalized’ people that they set to help. This reflection
seems relevant considering the important space that different forms of radical
pedagogy appear to have today, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon context.

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Friday, November 2nd:
Presenter: Erika Matruglio, University of Technology, Sydney
Title: Making Room for Meaning: the curious case of CAFS

Previous work into the senior secondary school subject of Community and
Family Studies (CAFS) has shown marked differences in high-stakes student writing
when compared to other humanities subjects. These differences centre to a large
extent around tendencies towards more explicit expression of attitude and in
particular, more use of the resources of Affect than other humanities subjects
(Matruglio 2008, 2009, 2010). This paper builds upon this earlier research to
explore the basis of these differences. I will focus in detail on one representative
CAFS text and examine structural features in order to determine why a text which has
been graded highly by an experienced HSC marker seems to be very limited in the
meanings that the student makes. I will show that although the text has an emergent
generic structure, issues of mode constrain the text to the everyday, commonsense,
lived experience and that this prevents the use of technicality, abstractions and
other features of more highly valued academic writing. A reworking of the text
points to the way that the existent features of the text could be built upon to
result in a more powerful response and therefore provides pedagogical implications
for improving writing in this subject. Throughout the presentation I will also
reflect on the processes involved in working on linguistic analysis of student texts
with an aim to developing a better understanding of what school subjects actually
are as bodies of knowledge.

Matruglio, E. (2008) “Semantic Gravity Meets Appraisal: What knowledge in schools?”
Paper presented at the Disciplinarity, Knowledge and Language Symposium, Sydney
University 8-10 December

Matruglio, E (2009) “Situating Society and Culture in Schools; Subject Students and
Scripts” Paper Presented at Friday SFL Seminar Series, The University of Sydney,

Matruglio, E (2010) “Evaluative Stance in Humanities: expectations and performances”
in Appliable Linguistics Mahmoob, A. and Knight, N. (Eds). London, Continuum

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That completes our program for the second semester.
We at interstrataltension hope you’ve enjoyed the 2012 series of talks and thank you for stopping by.

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