I was also very struck by the tidiness of Halliday's idea of parallel instantiations. A text is an instance of a repertoire is an instance of a language system, and a context of situation is an instance of an institutional/situational type is an instantiation of a context of culture. (Third edition of Introduction to functional grammar, p. 28)
It's a little TOO tidy, no? First of all, cultures are material and social in a way that language systems are not (I'm not even sure if language systems can be said to exist). Secondly, situations are biomechanical in ways that cultures are not (Halliday says that texts don't really exist in a biomechanical sense or even a lexicogrammatical sense--they are semantic objects which are realized by the clauses that make them up). Thirdly, and since I do elementary education, this is the biggest problem for me, how does one develop out of the other?
All this is miles from Vygotsky (although Halliday claims that he shares the Vygotskyan idea of man as a social being). Vygotsky seems much closer to Volosinov (and in our own day, Roy Harris). In this view, linguistic reality is like any other reality; it is, in the final analysis, concrete and material, and everything else is merely our descriptions of it.
Seoul National University of Education
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Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2006 1:04 AM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Beyond Alterity/Intersubjectivity
> Mike asked:
> "To me the question often returns to "how can xmca be a medium that allows us to get all the help we, collectively, need and can get?"
> In this context of bridging CHAT and SFL, it's a great research question to which I've given a little thought before responding. A grand Utopian "let's all work together scheme" is, IMHO, as daunting as any. xmca has had periods of intense communication, has been a way to share half-baked ideas, has certainly mediated professional development (speaking personally), and has served for posting jobs, conferences, promoting one's work, etc, and lately, for discussion of literature. Until now the readings have been essentially one at a time. If we wish to see what the SFL and CHAT can have to do with each other, I'd like to suggest reading two papers, side by side. To take up the lead by Phil, a text is also an instantiation of the semiotic potential of language, an instantiation of the possibilities in its meanings. What I think we want to do, in broad answer to the broad research question, is to bring the meanings in CHAT in relationship to those of SFL. We can do so !
> by writ
> ing about them, together. More specifically, we can discuss two papers at a time, in which there may be possible relationships. Two that I'd like to suggest below lean a little more towards Halliday's work, with the understanding that this is a Vygotsky list of whose writings many more subscribers are familiar. I have both articlwes in PDF form, should we decide to pursue this path.
> (1) Wells, G. (1994). The Complementary Contributions of Halliday and Vygotsky to a "Language-Based Theory of Learning." Linguistics and Education, 6, 41-90.
> (2) Halliday, M. A. K. (1993). Towards a Language-Based Theory of Learning. Linguistics and Education, 5, 93- 116.
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