SFL and languages other than English

LinC Summer school and workshop 2016
SFL and Languages other than English

The focus of this course is on Systemic Functional Linguistics and Languages Other than English. We
have brought together experts in areas such as typology, translation, language description and
annotation. Each participant on the course will choose six sessions (two per day for a total of 6 hours
each day) from the nine sessions listed below. Session descriptions have been presented in
alphabetical order by surname.

Instructors on this course include:

• Jorge Arus Hita, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
• Mohamed Bardi, Macquarie University
• Robin Fawcett, Cardiff University
• William McGregor, Universität Trier
• Stella Neumann, RWTH Aachen University
• Mick O’Donnell, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
• Miriam Taverniers, Ghent University
• Chris Taylor, Università di Trieste
• Gordon Tucker, Cardiff University

Metafunctional journey through Spanish
Jorge Arus Hita

After a brief presentation of the Spanish language, an overview will follow of the different
strands of meaning (experiential, interpersonal, textual and logical). Emphasis will be made on
the way the different metafunctions interplay in Spanish in order to construe meaning. This
interplay will be discussed by means of examples and in turn compared to English examples so
as to better appreciate the specificities of Spanish.

In the second part, we will work with a bilingual text (Spanish original and English translation)
and together discuss how the texts reflect the contrasts in the way the different
metafunctions interplay in each language.

Fluency in Spanish is not necessary. Examples with English glosses will be provided.

Analysing Arabic Text from an Ideational Perspective: Potential and Challenges
Mohamed Ali Bardi, Al-Maarefa Colleges for Science and Technology – Saudi Arabia

Ideationally, language is a resource for construing our experience of the world around and
inside us as meaning. Experience is construed as a semantic model – a vast model of the
categories of experience. The most general category in this construal is that of a
‘phenomenon’, which is further classified into three classes of phenomena: the element, the
figure and the sequence. The elements are the components that interact within a figure. They
come in three different types viz. processes, participants and circumstances. Figures, which
correspond to clauses, consist of elements, but do themselves form sequences. A sequence is
a series of interrelated figures which correspond to a clause complex. There are different
kinds of relations which figures within a sequence can enter into i.e. either expanding or
projecting. Grammatically, this has to do with the logic mode of organization which construes
experience serially as a chain of sequences.

The first session about Arabic will be dealing with the figure i.e. a variety of clause types. One
of the main challenges students encounter when analyzing a text is to properly divide it into
sequences especially identifying minor clauses that are construed by nominalized verbal
forms. Once most of the clause types are defined, we’ll look during the second session into
the figure to study the elements that interact within it. We will focus on the process and
identify all process types. One of the main objectives of the study of the process is to
demonstrate how it could also help in dividing the text into clauses. Towards the end of the
second session, all that was theoretically covered earlier will be put into practice, we’ll try to
divide a variety of texts into clauses and then into processes and the participants in those
processes. We’ll try to see how language use ideationally varies from one register to another.
We’ll analyze depending on how much we have left a political speech, a short extract from a
novel, a literary critic, two translations of one text, a news article.

Working knowledge of Arabic is expected for this workshop.

Theory and practice in writing a systemic functional grammar : how we wrote computerimplemented lexicogrammars for Japanese
Robin Fawcett, Cardiff University
Description TBC

Workshop language is English. No familiarity with Japanese is required.

Post-Firthian perspectives on linguistic typology
William McGregor, Universität Trier

Compared with most other modern “functional” approaches, SFG and its congeners – which I
will refer to collectively as Post-Firthian (PF) – has shown relatively little interest in linguistic
typology, and has made at best limited impact on it. We will begin by overviewing what makes
PF approaches different from the paradigm functional-typological approach (also dubbed
atheoretical), namely the central theoretical place of emic phenomena (e.g. the linguistic
sign). We will examine the consequences to the practice and shape of linguistic typology. We
will focus attention on experiential grammar, in particular grammatical (role) relations,
transitivity, and ergativity. In the second session we will turn to (a subdomain of) possession,
and examine a set of data from a small selection of languages in view of developing a

The language of the session is English and there are no other language requirements.

Issues in Translation
Stella Neumann, RWTH Aachen University

Translations are often described as being recognizably different from non-translated text in
terms of properties such as explicitness, interference of linguistic features of the source
language, etc. Arguably these properties are a result of various factors such as contrastive
differences between the source and the target language, differences between the registers
involved but also understanding and workflow-related aspects in the translation process.
In the first part, this session will take a closer look at some practical issues in the translator’s
concrete task. Starting out from a definition of translation we will examine some of the factors
that may have an impact on the linguistic properties of the final translation. The second part
of the session will then concentrate on the linguistic study of translations. The focus will be on
translation properties as investigated in corpus-based translation studies and in experimental
studies tapping into the translation process.
There are no specific language requirements but participants are expected to be bilingual at

Using UAM CorpusTool for annotation of languages other than English
Mick O’Donnell, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

This workshop will lead the attendees through the process of using UAM CorpusTool for
corpus annotation in languages other than English. In the first session, we will explore manual
annotation in a variety of languages, ranging from those with latinate writing systems, to
those with Cyrilic, Arabic, Chinese, etc. scripts. Manual annotation involves the user
identifying segments and coding them themselves, which is appropriate in those contexts
where automatic means to identify the pattern do not yet exist.

In the second session, we will explore the use of UAM CorpusTool for automatic analysis with
languages other than English. We will start with POS (part-of-speech) analysis of texts from a
range of languages, and how this analysis can be used to produce quick profiles of the texts.
We will then use automatic syntactic analysis for a small range of languages where parsers are

Language of the workshop will be English.

Verb patterns in a typological perspective
Miriam Taverniers, Ghent University

In this session the focus is on how three structural-functional frameworks — viz. Systemic
Functional Linguistics (SFL), Role and Reference Grammar (RRG), and Functional Discourse
Grammar (FDG) — theorize and model verb patterns and relations between those patterns in
a typological perspective. The session will consist of a presentation and then a practice part.

The presentation will be built up as follows:
1) In the theoretical exploration of each model the following topics will be focused on:
• general components in the design of the model (differentiating dimensions and levels of
• views on the meaning-structure relation; the syntax-semantics interface and the role of
• conception of the lexis-grammar relation;
• modelling of the structure of the clausal syntagm, focusing on layering of structure, and the
relation between syntax and morphology.
2) A second part will focus on how the three structural-functional grammars, with their own
specific designs/architectures, and their specific models of variation in verb patterns, address
issues in functional-language typology.
The three structural-functional models will be viewed from a meta-SFL perspective, i.e. SFL
will be taken as a starting point and RRG and FDG will be explored against the background of
SFL. The complete exercise of comparing the three different frameworks (i.e. what they are
like as linguistic models) will be carried out with a view to understanding how they deal with
questions in functional language typology (i.e. what they can do when faced with a typological

In the hands-on part, participants will work with a number of related verbal structures in
Germanic and Romance languages that contain patterns of secondary predication. The aim is
to explore how different patternings can be delineated and how they can be modelled as
belonging to a network of patterns, and in this exploration, reflect upon the use and value of
specific tools and modelling concepts that were discussed in the presentation of the three
structural-functional models (esp. how the relation between lexis and grammar is modelled;
and esp. the specific concepts/tools of the system network and agnation from SFL; frames or
constructional/syntactic templates, verb alternations and coercion from RRG and FDG).
The language of the session is English and there are no other language requirements.

Audio Description – textual access for the sensorially disabled
Chris Taylor, Università di Trieste

This session is devoted firstly to explaining what audio description is, namely the providing of
verbal descriptions of what appears on screen in a film or television programme sandwiched
between the ongoing dialogues, and examining some best practices. The session will be based
on the results of the European project ADLAB (Audio Description: lifelong access for the blind)
and on the resulting publications Audio Description: new perspectives illustrated and the
manual of guidelines for audio describers Pictures Painted in Words. The study of audio
description involves many aspects of SFL ranging from theme development to appraisal. There
will also be a hands-on opportunity to produce a short AD of a film clip.

Language of the workshop is English and will include examples from Italian although no
knowledge of Italian is required.

Modelling lexis and phraseology in English, French and Italian in a Systemic Functional Grammar
Gordon Tucker, Cardiff University

In this session we shall explore how lexis and phraseological expressions are handled in
Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG).

SFG is primarily concerned with the choices available to language users, what it means to
make a given choice and what the consequences are of making one choice rather than
another. In our session we shall focus on choices that involve lexis and phraseological
expressions, rather than those involving ‘larger’ grammatical structures and meanings.
Grammar and lexis are not, however, two separate, independent areas of linguistic
organisation. They are, as we shall see, extremely interdependent. This is the position now
strongly adopted within major theories of language, such as Cognitive Grammar and
Construction Grammar. In terms of SFG, Michael Halliday argued a number of decades ago
that ‘the lexicon (….) is simply the most delicate grammar. In other words there is only one
network of lexicogrammatical options’ (Halliday 1978:42). Phraseological expressions (idioms,
formulaic and metaphorical expressions, fixed and semi-fixed expressions etc.) can be seen to
fall somewhere between ‘grammar’ and ‘lexis’ on the lexicogrammatical continuum.
So we shall explore how lexis and phraseology expressions are organised within the overall
lexicogrammar, emphasising their interdependence with grammatical structure. We shall also
explore how their organisation accounts for various phenomena associated with lexical
choice, such as: collocation, colligation, sense relations (synonymy, meronymy, antonymy
etc.), polysemy, formalilty, technicality etc.

We shall also explore how lexical and phraseological phenomena are handled in languages
other than English, and in particular in French and Italian. There will of course been local
differences between the languages, and we will need to account for phenomena that are
exclusive to a given language, but on the whole, we would expect to find that the general
organisational principles are the same across languages.

The language of the session is English and there are no other language requirements.

leer más

The UAM CorpusTool is a state-of-the-art environment for annotation of text corpora. So, whether you are annotating a corpus as part of a linguistic study, or building a training set for use in statistical language processing, this is the tool for you. http://www.corpustool.com/features.html

Leave a Comment