Friday Seminar Schedule: Semester 2, 2013

Friday Seminar Schedule 2013: Semester 2

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 semester 2 2013. 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, Transient Building Room 203. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Friday August 9th – [cancelled]
Friday August 16th – Mary Macken-Horarik
Friday August 23rd – Pauline Jones and Honglin Chen
Friday August 30th – David Rose
Friday September 6th – [cancelled]
Friday September 13th – Janine Delahunty
Friday September 20th – Ayumi Inako
Friday September 27th – [cancelled]
Friday October 4th – [no seminar: reading week, ASFLA Melbourne]
Friday October 10th – Jo Lander
Friday October 18th – Sally Humphrey
Friday October 25th – FeiFei Liu
Friday November 1st – ChRIS CLÉiRiGh and Peter White

Saturday, November 23rd – end-of-year Get-Together!

NB: access to archives of previous Friday seminar presentations can be found via links at the bottom of this page.



Friday August 9th

Friday August 16th
Presenter: Mary Macken-Horarik
Title: Getting on with one’s relations, building teacher knowledge about language and negotiating real-world realities: How to build a grammatics ‘good enough’ for school English


In an era of national curriculum, English teachers are now expected not only to ‘develop students’ understanding about how the English language works’, but to progress this in a ‘coherent and cumulative’ way across the school years. They must not only promote ‘learning that is portable and applicable to new settings across the school years and beyond’ but assist students to interpret and compose ‘an increasingly broad repertoire of spoken, written and multimodal texts’ (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009:5). Meeting these demands calls for new kinds of knowledge about language (KAL) and greatly expands the role of grammar within English. What is the potential of systemic functional grammar in this context? How do we adapt this extravagant theory to the challenging curriculum context facing teachers already in full-time work? What could possibly be ‘good enough’ to give teachers and students access to productive ways of thinking about disciplinary practices, to salient resources for meaning and to generative rhetorical tools for reading and writing texts? Can theory underpinning SFG – what Halliday calls ‘grammatics’ – provide some powerful traction in the field of school English?

This talk builds on insights generated in the course of a large-scale project funded through the Australian Research Council which is led by Mary and co-investigated with a research team including Kristina Love and Carmel Sandiford at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne and Len Unsworth at Griffith University in Brisbane. Firstly, it considers the importance of attention to ‘relations’ in a project working at the interface of theory (grammatics) and practice (English teaching). Secondly, it reviews the choices we made about what to make salient in our first year’s workshops on narrative and what we learned in the process. Thirdly, it touches on the negotiation of real world realities such as staff room fires, technical over-load and the fitful nature of development in both teachers and students when it comes to KAL. The talk will move to consideration of the implications of the study for a model of teacher KAL in contemporary school English.

Friday August 23rd
Presenter: Pauline Jones and Honglin Chen, University of Wollongong
Title: Grammar and pedagogy: Some complementarities in recent Australian curriculum reform and dialogic teaching


Dialogic teaching refers to ‘pedagogy that draws on the power of talk to engage and shape student’s thinking, and to secure and enhance their understanding’ (Alexander, 2008:92). In our view, the notion of dialogic teaching resonates with the meaning-based approach to learning as initially espoused by Halliday (1993; 2008). Alexander argues that dialogic teaching is characterised by five core principles – collective, reciprocal, supportive, cumulative and purposeful – principles that recognize the interrelationship between the interpersonal and the ideational.

The inclusion of the functionally-oriented Language strand in the new Australian school curriculum is both promising and challenging: promising in terms of students acquiring ‘a coherent, dynamic, and evolving body of knowledge about the English language and how it works’ (ACARA, 2009); but challenging in terms of teachers’ linguistic and pedagogic knowledge. Previous studies have well documented Australian teachers’ anxiety about their linguistic knowledge (Hammond & Macken-Horarik 2001; Jones & Chen, 2012). This anxiety is confounded by the uncertainty about what an appropriate pedagogy for contemporary ‘grammar’ teaching might look like as there are few models available. Further, grammar teaching bears the weight of its own history with imagined ensembles of activity and performances that are usually decidedly ‘undialogic’. In this paper, we draw on data from an early primary classroom to consider (a) what dialogic teaching principles might offer a contemporary pedagogy and (b) how the curriculum metalanguage can foster dialogic talk through the redesigning of familiar routines and tasks. In doing so, we offer a modest extension of Alexander’s work by providing some linguistic realizations of the principles in this new curriculum moment.

This paper was part of a symposium entitled ‘Classroom discourse studies: SFL in Conversation with Dialogic Teaching’ presented at ISFC 40 in Guangzhou with colleagues Jennifer Hammond, Lorraine McDonald, Janine Delahunty and Alyson Simpson.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (2009). Shape of the Australian Curriculum. (previously National Curriculum Board): Canberra, ACT.
Alexander, R (2008) Toward Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking classroom talk (4th ed) York, Dialogos UK Ltd.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1993) Towards a language based theory of learning. Linguistics and Education, Vol 5, no 2, pp93-116.
Halliday, M.A.K. (2008). Three Aspects of Children’s Language: Learning Language, Learning through Language, Learning about Language (1980). In J. Webster (Ed.), The Language of Early Childhood – M.A.K. Halliday (pp. 308-326). New York: Continuum.
Hammond J. & Gibbons, P (2005) Putting Scaffolding to work: The contribution of scaffolding in articulating ESL education. Prospect, Vol 20, no 1, pp6-30.
Jones, P. & Chen, H. (2012) Teachers’ knowledge about language: Issues of pedagogy and expertise. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. Vol 35, no 2, pp147-168.

Friday August 30th
Presenter: David Rose, University of Sydney
Title: Analysing pedagogic discourse: an approach from genre


Pedagogic discourse is the context in which we acquire, not just knowledge, but identities as social actors. Bernstein (2000) characterised pedagogic discourse as an instructional discourse embedded in a regulative discourse, by which he meant that the learning activities and outcomes of the school are shaped by and reproduce the system of tacit rules that regulate ‘order, relations and identity’ in a society. Bernstein’s sociological model is not easily mapped onto SFL’s social semiotic model of text-in-context. One assumption has been that ‘instructional’ is associated with exchanging information and ‘regulative’ with controlling classroom behaviour, but this misses Bernstein’s point that all pedagogic discourse is simultaneously both instructional and regulative.

Rose & Martin 2012 propose an alternative model to capture the complex interrelations of instructional and regulative discourse, using register and genre theory. In brief, a curriculum genre (after Christie 2002) is redefined as a configuration of pedagogic activities (learning cycles), pedagogic relations (of teachers and learners), and pedagogic modalities (verbal, visual, manual), together projecting fields of knowledge and identities acquired by learners. All these elements of pedagogic register must be analysed together to interpret how knowledge and identities are acquired. This paper presents a new methodology for classroom discourse analysis, that reveals the complexity of pedagogic discourse but is practicably appliable for any pedagogic context, whether the research focus is on language learning or identity formation.

Bernstein, B 2000 Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: theory, research, critique. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield
Christie, F 2002 Classroom Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum.
Rose, D. (2007a). Towards a reading based theory of teaching. Plenary paper in L. Barbara & T. Berber Sardinha (eds.). Proceedings of the 33rd International Systemic Functional Congress, São Paulo: PUCSP, 36-77. ISBN 85-283-0342-X
Rose, D. & J.R. Martin 2012. Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: Genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney School. London: Equinox

Friday September 6th

Friday September 13th
Presenter: Janine Delahunty
Title: Learning to connect – connecting to learn: balancing social and cognitive purposes in online dialogue


This paper reports a study-in-progress of discussions in a post-graduate online subject in which the asynchronous forum was utilized for tutorial-like interactions. Due to the considerable differences in the nature of interacting in a virtual environment, compared to face-to-face (such as the impact of lack of usual meaning-making cues – aural and visual; spatial and experiential distance, Martin, 1992), the nature of dialogue can be challenging to online instructors and learners. Ongoing research into online pedagogy becomes even more pressing when taking into account the exponential growth of e-learning options being implemented worldwide, not always designed with the crucial connections between dialogue and learning in mind (Alexander, 2008; Mercer, 1995, 2000).
Using SFL to analyse selected texts from the online discussions, insight was gained into the interactants’ representations of the world (experiential), their reactions to it (attitudinal response) and the relationships being enacted (interpersonal) as they engaged in dialogic inquiry (Wells, 1999). These allow close attention to the linguistic resources being used in episodes of online teaching-and-learning. The online context is ripe to consider Alexander’s (2008) principles of dialogic teaching, which together demonstrate the importance of balancing social (collectivism, reciprocity and supportiveness) with cognitive (cumulation and purposefulness) aspects of dialogue to foster new understandings of adult learning contexts. The descriptive categories available in the SFL model render more visible the linguistic resources used when balancing the purposes of talk, hence making this aspect more tangible in a virtual context.

The paper was originally presented at the ISFC40 Conference in Guangzhou, China in July as one of four papers in a symposium entitled “Classroom discourse studies: SFL in Conversation with Dialogic Teaching”, along with Jenny Hammond, Lorraine McDonald, Pauline Jones and Honglin Chen.
Janine Delahunty

Alexander, R. (2008). Essays on Pedagogy, Abingdon UK, Routledge.
Halliday, M. A. K. and Matthiessen, C. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, London, Hodder Headline Group.
Martin, J. R. (1992). English text: system and structure, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Martin, J. R. and White, P. R. R. (2005). The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English, NY, Palgrave Macmillan.
Mercer, N. (1995). The Guided Construction of Knowledge: Talk amongst teachers and learners, Bristol, UK, Multilingual Matters.
Mercer, N. (2000). Words and Minds: How we use language to think together, London UK, Routledge.
Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic inquiry: towards a sociocultural practice and theory of education, Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Press.

Friday September 20th
Presenter: Ayumi Inako
Title: Involvement in the physicists’ tweets on Fukushima nuclear crisis


This paper concerns the tweets of two Japanese physicists’ (P1 and P2) during the aftermath of the nuclear crisis in Japan in 2011, and addresses how their tweets enabled a new community of shared values and concerns to emerge around their Twitter site. While the major component of their tweets was focused on communicating their scientific knowledge towards people who were concerned about the situation, the physicists also used various affiliation strategies to gain readership. The focus of this paper is on one of these ‘marginal’ strategies employed which falls into the category of involvement (Martin and White 2005, 33-35). Involvement is one of interpersonal systems in discourse semantics, alongside those of appraisal and negotiation, and refers to the negotiation of tenor relationship in terms of solidarity and power. It concerns discourse semantic categories of reciprocity and proliferation in Poynton 1990. For instance, Japanese keigo, or honorific expressions, is a lexico-grammatical resource in Japanese for realising unequal power relationships of dominance and deference, and therefore is a resource for realising patterns of non-reciprocity. On the other hand, colloquial language such as Mood contraction falls into the latter category of proliferation, realising a degree of intimacy or familiarity.
In this paper, I start by introducing SFL concepts of individuation and involvement, and briefly introducing how respectful language functions in Japanese. Then, I demonstrate how the two physicists deployed such resources in a different manner, and discuss how cumulative use of involvement resources, together with the scientific knowledge they constantly disseminated and negotiated with their followers, effectively invited readership beyond the scientific community, enabling the emergence of a new kind of Twitter community.

Inako, A. (forthcoming). Affiliation over Crisis: Physicists’ Use of Twitter Mode on Fukushima Daiichi NPP Accident. Proceedings of JASFL.
Inako, A. (forthcoming). The First Month on Plutonium: A Physicist’s and a Freelance Journalist’s Reaction to the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis on Twitter. The International Journal of the Oita Text Forum.
Kaiser, S., Y. Ichikawa, N. Kobayashi and H. Yamamoto. (2001). Japanese: A Comprehensive Grammar. London: Routledge.
Martin, J. R. (1992). English Text: System and Structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Martin, J. R., & White, P. R. R. (2005). The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Martin, S. (2004). A Reference Grammar of Japanese. Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press.
Poynton, C. (1990). Address and the Semiotics of Social Relations: a Systemic-functional Account of Address Forms and Practices in Australian English. PhD, University of Sydney, Sydney.
Teruya, K. (2007). A Systemic Functional Grammar of Japanese. London: Continuum.
Thomson, E. A. and W. S. Armour eds. (2013). Systemic Functional Perspective of Japanese: Description and Applications. Sheffield: Equivox.

Friday September 27th
Presenter: tba

Friday October 4th

ASFLA week, Melbourne

Friday October 10th
Presenter: Jo Lander
Title: Mode matters: recontextualising academic essays and talk

This Friday I will present a longer version of my presentation at ESFC 2013 in Coventry, UK: The conference theme was ‘Language in a digital age: Be not afraid of digitality’; I addressed the subtheme of ‘texts which achieve digitality’, having had a previous life in non-digital form, specifically asynchronous online discussions.
As written but dialogic texts, such discussions aim to occupy a pedagogic space previously the domain not only of face to face tutorials but also of written essays. In this presentation I focus on the latter, describing the adaptations of written academic genres in response to the affordances and constraints of mode in this specific digital and instructional context. The analysis is based on case study date in postgraduate health professional education.
Asynchronous online discussions are written, with a response expected, and allow for reflection and delayed responses, but exhibit other mode characteristics which may constrain interaction, particularly their public, visible and persistent nature as multilogues, with participants identified. Academic genres or genre fragments were found to be set within a conversational matrix (cf Eggins and Slade 1997), confirming Coffin, Painter and Hewings (2006). Analysis of these texts using ENGAGEMENT within the APPRAISAL system (Martin and White 2005) tracked participants’ evaluation both of sources outside and ideas generated within the discussion.
The presentation will discuss findings, which showed amongst students a tendency to avoid argumentation (confirming other research e.g. Coffin, Hewings and North 2012) and reduced levels of source evaluation compared to written academic texts. Instead, students tended to focus on their own activity as ‘researchers’ or their personal sensibilities. Moderator feedback similarly privileged the maintenance of relationships over commitment to ideas, suggesting that building communities (e.g. Anderson et al 2005) and constructing knowledge (e.g. Jonassen et al 1995), cornerstones of the pedagogical rationale for online discussion, may be in conflict. In conclusion, I ask: Should we be afraid?

Anderson, T., Rourke L., Garrison D. & Archer W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 5(2) 1-17
Coffin, C., Painter, C. & Hewings, A. (2005b) Argumentation in a multi party asynchronous computer mediated conference: a generic analysis. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, pp 41-63.
Eggins, S. & Slade, D. (1997). Analysing casual conversation. London: Cassell.
Jonassen, D., Davidson, M., Collins, M., Campbell, J. & Haag, B. B. (1995). Constructivism and computer-mediated communication in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-26.
Martin, J. R. & White P. R. R. (2005). The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Friday October 18th
Presenter: Sally Humphrey
In this talk I present for consideration some developments to a
meta-semiotic framework, which has proved useful in organising
teachers’ knowledge of language for particular educational contexts.
This framework, conceptualised as a ‘4×4 toolkit’ draws on SFL
theories of metafunction, rank and strata to encourage teachers to
consider text from multiple perspectives – above from the grammatical
forms foregrounded in past syllabuses and below text type structures
popularised in some enactments of genre based pedagogies. The 4×4
builds on a 3×3 framework developed for use in training tutors for
academic literacies in the SLATE project (Humphrey, Martin, Dreyfus
and Mahboob, 2010), but raises the profile of logical meanings
related to field and distinguishes more delicate units of meaning
within the clause. The particular focus of this presentation relates
to the role of resources at discourse semantic level (within and
across phases of text) in providing a bridge for teachers to make
explicit the functions and forms of the lexico-grammar. A number of
issues (both theoretical and pedagogical) remain in the conception
and application of the 4×4 and the presenter hopes fervently that the
brain power of the SFL community will sweep these magically away

Friday October 25th
Presenter: FeiFei Liu, UTS

This Friday I will present some pilot analysis of my PhD research project, which focuses on the strategies of persuasion and affiliation in newspaper editorials in Australia and China. The present study draws on appraisal framework (Martin & White 2005; Hood 2010), and on genre theory (Martin & Rose 2008) and periodicity to investigate the logogenetic patterns of evaluative meaning in the chosen text. The focus is on how the writers express his value position and persuade the potential readers to align with them towards the issues, and in particular the construction of community with reference to instantiation and individuation in the logogentic development of text. It is intended that this study should have relevance for researchers and students within the areas of media and communication studies, cross-cultural studies and applied linguistics.

The editorial for the pilot study is about Boston bombings (title: Terrorist threat remains abroad and on our shores), and collected from The Australian. In this analysis, two different contrastive communities are construed within the text logogenetically referencing to appraisal framework, instantiation and individuation.

Don, A.C. 2012, ‘Legitimating tenor relationships: Affiliation and alignment in written interaction’, Linguistics and the Human Sciences, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 303-27.
Hood, S. 2006, ‘The persuasive power of prosodies: Radiating values in academic writing’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 37-49.
Hood, S. 2009, ‘Texturing interpersonal meanings in academic argument: Pulses and prosodies of value’, Text type and texture. In honour of Flo Davies, pp. 216-33.
Knight, N.K. 2010, ‘Wrinkling Complexity: Concepts of Identity and Affiliation in Humour’, New Discourse on Language: Functional Perspectives on Multimodality, Identity, and Affiliation, p. 35.
Martin, J.R. 2008, ‘Tenderness: realisation and instantiation in a Botswanan town’, Odense working papers in language and communication, vol. 29, pp. 30-58.
Martin, J.R. 2009, ‘Realisation, instantiation and individuation: some thoughts on identity in youth justice conferencing’, DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada, vol. 25, no. SPE, pp. 549-83.
Martin, J.R. 2010, ‘Semantic variation: Modelling realisation, instantiation and individuation in social semiosis’, New Discourse on Language: Functional Perspectives on Multimodality, Identity, and Affiliation, pp. 1-34.
Rose, D. & Martin, J. 2012, Learning to write, reading to learn, Equinox Pub.
White, P.R.R. 2012, ‘Exploring the axiological workings of ‘reporter voice’news stories–attribution and attitudinal positioning’, Discourse, Context & Media.
Zhao, S. 2010, ‘Intersemiotic relations as logogenetic patterns: Towards the restoration of the time dimension in hypertext description’, New Discourse on Language: Functional Perspectives on Multimodality, Identity, and Affiliation, pp. 195-218.

Friday, November 1st
Presenter: Peter White

Author: ChRIS CLÉiRIGh

Title: Our Threefold Order: Construing Human Individuality Through Metalanguage


In Construing Experience Through Meaning, Halliday & Matthiessen(1999: 610) write:

The human individual is at once a biological “individual”, a social “individual”, and a socio–semiotic “individual”:

as a biological “individual”, s/he is an organism, born into a biological population as a member of the human species.

as a social “individual”, s/he is a person, born into a social group as a member of society. “Person” is a complex construct; it can be characterised as a constellation of social rôles or personæ entering into social networks …

as a socio–semiotic “individual”, s/he is a meaner, born into a meaning group as a member of a speech community. Meaner is also a complex construct. …

These different levels of individuality map onto one other: a meaner is a person, and a person is a biological organism. But the mappings are complex; and at each level an individual lives in different environments — in different networks of relations.

This paper uses the domains of experience construed by the clause grammar and instantiation — a type of elaborating ascription — to distinguish the social and socio-semiotic dimensions of human individuality and map them onto the biological dimension. This largely entails an expansion of the model of consciousness presented in Halliday & Matthiessen (1999), and an exploration of its implications.


DENTON DA 1993 The Pinnacle Of Life: Consciousness And Self-Awareness In Humans And Animals Sydney: Allen & Unwin

HALLIDAY MAK 2008 Complementarities In Language Beijing: The Commercial Press

HALLIDAY MAK & MATTHIESSEN CMIM 1999 Construing Experience Through Meaning: A Language-Based Approach To Cognition London: Continuum

HALLIDAY MAK & MATTHIESSEN CMIM 2004 An Introduction To Functional Grammar London: Arnold

PIKE KL 1982 Linguistic Concepts: An Introduction To Tagmemics Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press

end of academic year get together for the functionally-inclined
23rd November 2013

**Rosie and the Travelling Circumstances will be on stage on the night.**
5 Stoke Ave – just near Marrickville Park.
Around 7pm start
Take 428 or 412 bus or train to Petersham. Pick up can be arranged.
Phone 95698110 or 0409665081.
Please bring some salad or dessert to augment the other great food being provided!

** archives of earlier seminar series and the links to recordings and/or pdfs of the presentations may be accessed by clicking on the links below:
Second Semester 2010
First Semester 2011.
Second Semester 2011.
First Semester 2012
Second Semester 2012
First Semester 2013
[Back to QuickLinks at the top of this page]

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