Posts tagged ‘SFL’

13 April 2010

Grammar in schools

On the comeback of grammar in the new Australian curriculum for English. In the Sydney Morning Herald.

Grammar was cut in the ’70s because of a view it didn’t help students’ writing, said Dr Sally Humphrey from the University of Sydney’s linguistics department.

”It was like, ‘We’re just going to give you building blocks; we’re not going to show you how it works in text.”’ The grammar starring in the new curriculum ”isn’t a set of rules for ‘correct’ use”, she said, but ”a set of resources or a tool kit” to be used according to the situation – whether it’s texting, giving a presentation in class or writing a history essay. […]

It’s about ”letting kids in on the ‘secret’ of how good writers and good text producers do their work through the resources of language, through the resources of grammar – ‘hey, this is how it’s done!’,” Dr Humphrey said. ”And that’s an equity issue … Kids who haven’t got access to middle-class homes and middle-class ways of using language that are valued in the schools, they do need [the workings of language] made explicit.”

The draft curriculum is open for comment until 23 May 2010.

7 March 2009


Another term for the glossary: Ecolinguistics. And a two day symposium on current trands and developments in Ecolinguistics: The Ecology of Science is to be held on 11 and 12 June 2009 at the University of Southern Denmark (Odense).

Symposium on Ecolinguistics: The Ecology of Science

Call for Papers. Deadline: 18 Apr 2009

Ecolinguistics emerged in the 1990’s as a new paradigm of linguistic research which emphasises the ecological context in which societies are embedded. Einar Haugen’s “The Ecology of Language” and Michael Halliday’s 1990 work “New ways of Meaning: the challenge to applied linguistics” are often credited as a seminal works which provided the stimulus for linguists to consider the ecological context and consequences of language.

Among other things, the challenge that Haugen, Halliday and others put forward was to make linguistics relevant to the issues and concerns of the 21st century such as the the widespread destruction of ecosystems and the loss of languages. Since Haugen’s and Halliday’s initial comments, the field of Ecolinguistics has developed considerably, especially in Europe with a working group “Human  Ecology and Language” and symposia held in Austria and Germany. The discipline of Ecolinguistics is divided into two main branches: eco-critical discourse analysis and the ecology of languages. However, Ecolinguistics is still about to find its own home but it holds an interdisciplinary potential with academic subjects such as cultural geography, environmental history, eco-feminism, cultural studies, anthropology, eco-psychology and social ecology.

The aim of the symposium is to trace and merge current and new trends and developments in Ecolinguistics in order to explore avenues for future research.

Please submit tiles and an abstract for 20 minutes presentations to Jørgen Bang

10 February 2009

CfP: 2nd International Discourses and Cultural Practices Conference

Very interesting looking conference on “International Discourses and Cultural Practices” is planned for 7-9 July 2009. The deadline for abstracts is 27 February. Unfortunately Sydney is too far flung for me this year.

Professor Deborah Cameron – University of Oxford
Professor Don Kulick – New York University
Professor Lesley Farrell – University of Technology, Sydney
Professor Phil Graham – Queensland University of Technology
Professor Rick Iedema – University of Technology, Sydney

Friday 27 February 2009 Submission of abstracts for review
Friday 27 March 2009 Notification of acceptance of papers

The aim of the conference is to explore discourses and cultural practices from a range of perspectives. We are interested in theoretical and applied research on discourses and cultural practices eg discourse and subjectivity, theories of discourse, practices as ‘the new discourse’; descriptive studies of discourse and cultural practices in specific contexts eg work, play, popular culture, organizations, media; and applications to professional and pedagogical contexts.

Papers, plenaries and colloquia will address themes and questions such as:

  • Discourses in professional practice: What roles do linguistic and cultural practices play in the organization and enactment of work?
  • Discourses and identity: How do we and others construct our sense of self through talk and text?
  • Academic discourses: Why do the discourses and cultural practices of the academy work as they do?
  • Discourse and intercultural communication: How do discourses differ in relation to different cultural practices?
  • Gendered discourses: How do discourse, gender and sexuality interrelate?
  • Classroom discourses: How do the language practices of the classroom relate to learning and teaching?
  • Discourses and international communication: What is the relationship between discourses, development and globalization?
  • Digital discourses: how are new technology producing new discourses?
  • Discourses and popular culture: What is the impact of popular culture on the formation of new discourses?

These are the main themes so far. If you would like to organize a paper of colloquium on other themes please let us know.

The Conference will be held in the Eastern Avenue Auditorium and Lecture Theatre Complex, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney.

Professor Diana Slade, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney
Professor Brian Paltridge, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney

Professor Chris Davison, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,University of New South Wales
Professor Brian Paltridge, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
Professor Alastair Pennycook, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney
Associate Professor Hermine Scheeres, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney
Professor Diana Slade, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney
Dr Marie Stevenson, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney

c/o Renata Atkin, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney
Email: renata.atkin…/at/…
Telephone: +61 2 9514 3973 Fax: +61 2 9514 3030
PO Box 123 Broadway, NSW 2007

1 February 2009

Van Dijk: Context Models

Long-awaited book by Teun van Dijk on context is now available from Cambridge University Press. Society and Discourse: How Social Contexts Influence Text and Talk.

Van Dijk presents a new theory of context that explains how text and talk are adapted to their social environment. He argues that instead of the usual direct relationship being established between society and discourse, this influence is indirect and depends on how language users themselves ‘define’ the communicative situation. The new concept Van Dijk introduces for such definitions is that of context models. These models control all language production and understanding and explain how discourse is made appropriate in each situation. They are the missing link between language and society so far ignored in pragmatics and sociolinguistics. In this interdisciplinary book, the new theory of context is developed from a linguistic and psychological perspective.  The theory is applied to the domain of politics, including the debate about the war in Iraq, where political leaders’ speeches serve as a case study for detailed contextual analysis.

On the sys-func (systemic functional linguistics) email list, the point was raised that, indeed, this may have been ignored in pragmatics and sociolinguistics, but it sounds strikingly familiar to genre and register theory.