Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153409
Title: A CRITICAL ACCOUNT OF RECENT SYSTEMIC THEORY
Authors: SHARIFFA LUBNA ALSAGOFF
Issue Date: 1986
Citation: SHARIFFA LUBNA ALSAGOFF (1986). A CRITICAL ACCOUNT OF RECENT SYSTEMIC THEORY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The focus of this thesis is on theoretical, rather than practical, issues. The main aim is to compare the theories of Halliday, Hudson, and Fawcett, keeping in mind the influence of Generative linguistics on particularly Hudson and Fawcett. Halliday's model of Systemic linguistics forms the main focus of the comparative study. The primary assumption that I make with respect to Halliday's model is that it is theoretically stable - there has been very little change over the last two decades in the theoretical apparatus. The first chapter engages 1n some of the major issues concerning the organizat1on of Systemic theory. However, because Halliday, Hudson, and Fawcett have different ideas on what a linguistic model of language should be, there is no homogenous or standard Systemic theory. Instead, there exist three separate models. The organizat1on of these three models reflect the different interests and biases of the three Systemicists. Halliday’s main focus is to establish the social nature of language; Fawcett's is to develop a holistic model of language, and Hudson is interested in a purely formal treatment of linguistic structure. Therefore, Halliday, Hudson and Fawcett have different domains of research, methods of investigation, as well as different types of explanations or descriptions of language. The explanatory power of a theory can only be appreciated with respect to its theoretical goals. After laying the foundation in the first chapter, the- second chapter moves on to consider the technical apparatus of the three Systemic models. For convenience, I divide Systemic 'grammar' into three basic components those of system, realization, and structure. In all three- models, 'system' is the generative base of the theory, while the realizational component basically provides rules for the formation of structures. However, each of the three components differ greatly in structure and degree of importance 1n the three models. This means that the three theories each provide a different explanatory mechanism, although they are all built from the three fundamental concepts of system, realization, and structure. The last chapter provides an overview of the points raised in the previous chapters. A fairly clear picture emerges from the two chapters: certain basic characteristics are identifiable in each of the three models. The main features that distinguish Halliday's theory are the strong sociolinguistic bias in linguistic explanations, and the central role of 'system' as an interpretative, rather than formal, device in the grammar. Hudson, on the other hand, approaches Systemics with a strong formal bias, while Fawcett's holistic model is distinctive because it alone attempts to account for both linguistic knowledge and knowledge of the world. This chapter also includes a discussion of Halliday's and Hudson's latest books so as to obtain a more complete perspective of Systemic theory.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153409
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