This book, based on revised papers originally delivered at the VII International Systemic Functional Workshop in Valencia in 1995, explores some of the choices open to speakers and writers for the expression of meaning in different socio-cultural contexts. Many of the papers draw their inspiration from models of language developed by Michael Halliday and in particular recent theories of variation in relation to texts and genres explored by Halliday and his followers. There is an emphasis on the interdependence and interaction of linguistic choices across sentence boundaries and speaking turns, and also a consistent focus across many papers on the importance of lexicogrammar in the construction of texts. Several papers examine the differences between native-speaker and non-native-speaker choices in speech and writing. The volume also contributes to our understanding of differences and similarities between spoken and written varieties of English and of the central significance of interpersonal functions in the communication of messages. By drawing on naturally-occurring data collected on a range of genres as diverse as philosophy articles, scientific research papers, emergency telephone calls, and casual conversation, contributors both refine descriptions of the relations between text and context and offer numerous new insights and analyses.