Re: [xmca] LCA - More questions/comments on Halliday and Wells

From: Jim Martin (
Date: Thu Jun 30 2005 - 15:09:19 PDT

Hi Kristen

People have been using Halliday's ideas to work on modalities other than
langauge, including activity, for over a decade now - inspired by Kress
& van Leeuwen's Reading Images. A list of refs is attached. Most of
the work is on image; Martinec focusses on action.

For affect in the same model see:

Macken-Horarik, M & J R Martin [Eds.] 2003 Negotiating heteroglossia:
social perspectives on evaluation. (Special Issue of Text 23.2).

Martin, J R & David Rose 2003 Working with Discourse: meaning beyond the
clause. London: Continuum. Chapter 2.

Martin, J R & P R R R White in press The Language of Evaluation:
appraisal in English. London: Palgrave.

Attached also a selection of refs to SFL inspired langauge in education
work... and some of its co-texts from a recent paper of mine; I think
you'll find localised and expanded contexts considered.



Kristen R. Clark wrote:

> Dear fellow XMCA-ers - A few of us at LCHC were able to have an
> informal meeting to discuss the Halliday and Wells works. In
> attendance were Koichi Haishi, Ignacio (Nacho) Montero, Lars Hennig
> Rossen, Marie Judson, Deborah Wilson, and Kristen Clark.
> We generally agreed that the overall discussion has been interesting
> and that the readings were key in helping us orient ourselves to the
> similar and complementary approaches of Halliday and Vygotsky. A
> couple of general issues were raised which were in agreement with
> Gordon's general introduction - that questions of objects/levels of
> analysis and whether one would utilize Vygotsky or Halliday as a
> framework for approaching specific problems are generally bound up in
> one's particular research goals and commitments.
> Prominent among our discussion was whether the privileging of language
> (on the part of Halliday) towards a semantic theory of development may
> be too bold an account in that it casts development in purely
> linguistic terms. It seems important to make explicit the
> multi-modality of the sociocultural experience and the significant
> role of affect/emotion, and of course, biological constraints in
> development.
> These notions of multi-modality seem to emerge strongly with the
> increasing relevance of new information and communications
> technologies (particularly in schools). To say that obtaining
> language is to obtain the potential for meaning-making/learning is
> somehow not enough. We need to know how varying semiotic contexts for
> meaning making enable the interpretive process. QUESTIONS/FURTHER
> THOUGHTS: With this in mind, if learning is increasingly tied to
> semiotic practices not relegated to traditional print or standardized
> language-based literacy events and learning, don't we necessitate a
> more specific understanding of just how language mediates development?
> Do learning contexts associated with new infrastructures of
> information and communication change the terms of discussion or create
> new implications for either Vygotsky or Halliday's theories?
> In a different vein, it's easy to see how the critical edge within
> Vygotsky and succeeding generations of CHAT researchers emerges out of
> this tradition of using Marx to talk about divisions of labor and
> contradictions between exchange/use values related to education as an
> activity system, etc. (see especially Engestrom, 1987). Halliday and
> others working within a critical socio-linguistic framework locate
> inequity in the inability of individuals to engage in discursive
> practices relevant to educational and (recently) globalized economic
> contexts. I think Gee refers to students most able to engage in this
> type of networked discourse in the new economy as "portfolio people".
> The focus of work in the linguistic line often remains on highly
> localized, moment-to-moment analyses of discourse. QUESTIONS/FURTHER
> THOUGHTS: As one turns from analyzing the social realities of schools,
> students, teachers, etc., to designing pedagogy doesn't a focus on
> localized grammars limit one's ability to design educational
> interventions that are meaningful across more expanded contexts? How
> can we reconcile these challenges? This seems to be an important area
> of cross-relevance for those following both Halliday and Vygotsky.
> I'll leave these issues for now - I appreciate any responses. Our
> group will meet again to discuss the next readings in the coming week.
> -Kristen Clark
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