SFL Passages Submitted by NASFLA Members
Language is a political institution: those who are wise in its ways, capable of using it to shape and serve important personal and social goals will be the ones who are 'empowered' (to use a fashionable word): able, that is, not merely to participate effectively in the world, but able also to act upon it, in the sense that they can strive for significant social change.
M.A.K. Halliday & Ruqaiya Hasan, 1989
The acceptance of the view that the cultural reappears in the individual creates a common ground for dialogue between the two theories. However, by ignoring systematic variation in semiotic mediation, Vygotsky tells a simple story. For Bernstein the story is more complex: the varying social relations of class through the varied functioning of their distributive rules ultimately become differentiated internal realities of the differently positioned subjects, shaping differently their notions of the significant and relevant. The child is no longer generic: differently positioned children become the concern: the adult agent of semiotic mediation is no longer culturally neutral: s/he is the voice of a distinct ideology (Hasan 1999 p. 19).
Frances Christie, 1999, Pedagogy and the shaping of consciousness : linguistic and social processes
Language is for the living of life, not for the production of structures.
When children learn language, they are not simply engaging in one kind of learning among many; rather, they are learning the foundation of learning itself.
M.A.K. Halliday, 1993, "Towards a Language-Based Theory of Learning"
The underlying causes of educational failure are social, not linguistic; but there are obvious linguistic links in the causal chain, and it is reasonable — indeed necessary, if only to help get the picture straight — to look to linguistics as a contributory source of ideas and practice. The point I would make is that, given the nature of the problem (and of language), the contribution of linguistics will be indirect and global rather than direct and local. In other words, it is by trying to raise the general level of community discussion of language, and the general efficacy of language education in school, more than by special language-stimulating projects aimed at particular groups, that linguistics can be of most help in the cause of education for a just society. This is not to belittle the importance of special programmes designed to help those who are at risk. It is simply that here the guiding considerations are PEDAGOGICAL [emphasis added] rather than linguistic. Linguistics comes in, once again, as background knowledge and ideology: providing descriptions of languages, and of varieties - dialects and registers - within languages; and, in the process, helping to raise the status of those languages and varieties that are part of the symbol-package by which a particular group is marked off, and marked out, for discrimination and abuse.
M.A.K. Halliday, 2007, Linguistics and Education
From Bernstein I learnt…that linguistics cannot be other than an ideologically committed form of social action.
M.A.K. Halliday, 1985
To be literate is not just to have mastered the written registers... but to be aware of their ideological force.
M.A.K. Halliday, 1996, "Literacy and linguistics: a functional perspective"
The nature of language is closely related to the demands we make on it, the functions it has to serve.
M.A.K. Halliday, 1970
..context is in text: text carries with it, as a part of it, aspects of the context in which it was produced and, presumably, within which it would be considered appropriate.
Suzanne Eggins, 1994
We contend that the conception of ‘knowledge’ as something that exists independently of language, and may then be coded or made manifest in language, is illusory. All knowledge is constituted in semiotic systems, with language as the most central; and all such representations of knowledge are constructed from language in the first place.
M.A.K. Halliday & C. Matthiessen, 1993
The semantic perspective enables us to emphasize four aspects of human consciousness which have been rather less foregrounded in cognitive approaches. One is that of meaning as a potential, a systemic resource which is deployed in -- and ongoingly modified by -- individual acts of meaning in language. Whereas most theoretical work in linguistics since the mid century has focused strongly on syntagmatic relations -- what goes on with what, systemic theory has foregrounded the paradigmatic -- what is meant in relation to what might be). The second is that of meaning as growth, a semogenic resource which is constantly expanding in power by opening up new domains and refining those that are already within its compass. The third is that of meaning as joint construction, a shared resource which is the public enterprise of a collective (whereas thinking is essentially a private phenomemon located within the individual). the fourth is that of meaning as a form of activity, a resource of energy which is powered by the grammar at the heart of every language.
M.A.K. Halliday & C. Matthiessen, 1999
Texts provide the means through which individuals interact to learn the system, and it is through which individuals interact to learn the system, and it is through the heteroglossic aggregation of individual (always already social) systems that the semiotic trajectory of a culture evolves.
J.R. Martin, 1997, "Analyzing genre: functional parameters" in Genre and institutions: Social processes in the workplace and school