On Explanation in Systemic Functional Theory


  • M.A.K. Halliday University of Sydney




description, explanation, metafunction, systemic functional theory


Professor Halliday raises 13 representative questions for thinking about the English language and the answers are given by reference to the Systemic Functional Theory, in particular the three metafunctions: questions 1–5 and 12 are concerned with the Interpersonal while 3–5 are also textual; 6–10 involve the Textual, among which 6–8 refer to both thematization and information while 9–10 are mainly informational: the thematic principle interpret the initial status of the clause while the informational whether the end weight importance (9) or Given for reference (10); questions 11–13 deal with verbs in their respective phase, modality and polarity. Such a description and interpretation makes one rethink about English why it has evolved the way it has by what it looks like.

Author Biography

  • M.A.K. Halliday, University of Sydney

    Professor M.A.K. Halliday is a British-born Australian linguist who developed the internationally influential systemic functional linguistic model of language. His grammatical descriptions go by the name of systemic functional grammar (SFG). He has worked in various regions of language study, both theoretical and applied, and has been especially concerned with applying the understanding of the basic principles of language to the theory and practices of education. He received the status of Emeritus Professor of the University of Sydney and Macquarie University, Sydney, in 1987. He has honorary doctorates from University of Birmingham (1987), York University (1988), the University of Athens (1995), Macquarie University (1996), and Lingnan University (1999).








How to Cite

Halliday, M. (2015). On Explanation in Systemic Functional Theory. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 10(1), 13-27. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v10i1.27274