LINGUIST List 5.1045

Mon 26 Sep 1994

Sum: Teaching Functional Grammar

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  1. "P. K. W. Tan, Sum: Teaching Functional Grammar

Message 1: Sum: Teaching Functional Grammar

Date: Tue, 27 Sep 1994 09:21:15 Sum: Teaching Functional Grammar
From: "P. K. W. Tan <elltankwleonis.nus.sg>
Subject: Sum: Teaching Functional Grammar

I posted a message a while back to ask for comments
from those who have been involved in teaching
(Hallidayan/systemics) functional grammar. This
was partly a result of some of the earlier discussion
on teaching (Chomsyan) generative syntax, and partly
a result of my having taught it in relation to a
course on literary stylistics.
 I received only a couple of responses, but I
thought they were of sufficient interest to the group
for me to summarise or indeed to quote them.
 The replies stressed that although functional
grammar is not widely taught in the US, it is not
totally absent there:

 By the way, SFG [systemics functional grammar] is
 indeed taught in the US, at least by Peter Fries
 at Central Michigan. (Chris Butler)

 I thought you ought to know that just because
 systemics is not being widely taught in the US does
 not mean no one is learning it. (Philip Graber)

I stand corrected in my earlier erroneous assumption.
The responses also stressed the usefulness of SFG in
dealing with real data:

 SFG is explicitly data-oriented, and many practitioners,
 I think, regard it as essentially a theory which is more
 interested in the analysis of texts than in anything else.
 (Chris Butler)

 I learned systemics by myself using Margaret Berry's
 book, and was overjoyed to find a model that hand a
 `ring of truth' not only in accounting for actual data,
 but also in terms of more general notions of what
 language is. (Philip Graber, posting from the US)

The responses have all been highly positive, but of course
a couple of responses can hardly be generalised into a
general reaction. If there are those with rather more
negative responses, I'd also still be very happy to hear
from you.
 My thanks to all who have taken the time to write.

 Peter K. W. Tan
 (elltankwleonis.nus.sg)
 English Language and Literature
 National University of
 Singapore
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