Making Sense of Functional Grammar: A Review of the Book by Linda Gerot and Peter Wignell
If you are looking for a comprehensive and accessible introduction to functional grammar, you might want to check out Making Sense of Functional Grammar by Linda Gerot and Peter Wignell. This book is a workbook that guides you through the main concepts and features of systemic functional grammar, a theory of language that focuses on how meaning is made in different contexts and purposes.
In this article, we will give you an overview of what functional grammar is, what topics are covered in the book, and why you should read it if you want to improve your language skills and analysis.
What is Functional Grammar
Functional grammar is a branch of linguistics that studies language as a resource for making meaning. It differs from traditional grammar, which focuses on the rules and structures of language, by looking at how language is used in different situations and for different functions.
Functional grammar is based on the idea that language has three main metafunctions: ideational, interpersonal, and textual. The ideational metafunction is about how language represents our experience of the world, such as actions, events, things, qualities, and relations. The interpersonal metafunction is about how language expresses our attitudes, opinions, feelings, and roles in relation to others. The textual metafunction is about how language organizes information into coherent and cohesive texts.
Functional grammar also recognizes that language varies according to different factors, such as the field (the topic or subject matter), the tenor (the relationship between the participants), and the mode (the channel or medium of communication). These factors form the context of situation, which influences the choices we make in language.
What Topics are Covered in the Book
Making Sense of Functional Grammar is divided into 12 chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of functional grammar. The chapters are:
Genre and Grammar, Text and Context: This chapter introduces the concept of genre, which is a type of text that has a specific purpose and structure. It also explains how genre relates to grammar and context.
The Clause as Message: This chapter explores how clauses are organized into themes and rhemes, which indicate what the clause is about and what information is added to it.
The Clause as Exchange: This chapter examines how clauses are used to interact with others through speech functions (such as statements, questions, commands), mood (such as indicative, imperative, interrogative), modality (such as possibility, probability, obligation), and polarity (such as positive or negative).
The Clause as Representation: This chapter analyzes how clauses represent our experience of the world through processes (such as material, mental, relational), participants (such as actors, sensors, carriers), and circumstances (such as time, place, manner).
Nominal Group: This chapter describes how nominal groups (groups of words that function as nouns) are structured into heads (the main word) and modifiers (words that add information to the head).
Verbal Group: This chapter explains how verbal groups (groups of words that function as verbs) are structured into operators (words that indicate tense, aspect, voice, modality) and main verbs.
Adverbial Group: This chapter discusses how adverbial groups (groups of words that function as adverbs) are structured into heads (the main word) and modifiers (words that add information to the head).
Prepositional Phrase: This chapter covers how prepositional phrases (groups of words that start with a preposition) are structured into prepositions (words that indicate the relationship between two elements) and complements (words that complete the meaning of the preposition).
Clauses in Combination: This chapter shows how clauses can be combined into complex sentences through coordination (joining clauses with conjunctions such as and, but, or) or subordination (embedding clauses within other clauses with conjunctions such as because, if, when).
Cohesion: This chapter explores how texts are made cohesive through reference (using words that point back or forward to other elements in the text), substitution (using words that replace other elements in the text), ellipsis (om 061ffe29dd