This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."
This volume gathers together 14 interviews with M A K Halliday, the founder of systemic functional linguistics (SFL), recorded over four decades – the most recent of which was conducted in 2011 and published here for the first time. In these engaging conversations with colleagues Halliday explores his own development as a student of language in Britain and China, the evolution of SFL theory around the world, its place in the field of general linguistics and its many sites of application.
The dialogic mode enacted here allows Halliday to touch on many points of personal history and intellectual challenge that have not been addressed in formal publications (in his books or collected papers), including answers to the many thought-provoking questions his colleagues had waited sometimes years to ask. Accordingly each chapter offers a fresh illuminating window on the innovative thinking and assured convictions of this towering figure in linguistics.