Integrational Linguistics and Systemic-Functional Linguistics: Prospects of Dialogue?

A BAAL / CUP Seminar

held on
Monday 21 May 2001
at the University of Birmingham

Charles Owen, University of Birmingham


Roy Harris, Oxford University
Theo van Leeuwen, Cardiff University
Nigel Love, University of Cape Town
Geoff Thompson, Liverpool University
Peter White, University of Birmingham
Michael Toolan, University of Birmingham

Sponsored by:
British Association for Applied Linguistics

Rationale of the Seminar:
This seminar was intended to explore both the differences and the potential common ground between Integrational Linguistics (propounded by Roy Harris and others) and Systemic-Functional Linguistics (propounded by Michael Halliday and many others). Both traditions or schools (henceforth IL and SFL) are sometimes regarded as radical or peripheral by truly mainstream linguistics, as insufficiently abstract (or abstract in the wrong way); both are distinctly British in their roots, looking back to certain strands of theoretical argument in Firth and Malinowski; both, in different ways, acknowledge the value-laden nature of linguistic issues and of the academic linguistic discourses that these provoke.

But each has developed in different ways, mounting a challenge or alternative to standard linguistics. Each offers at least a partial alternative theory, description and agenda to those that underpin orthodox linguistic assumptions and categories, in ways that many applied linguists find intellectually refreshing. Some linguists are attracted to aspects of both IL and SFL. This seminar, it is hoped, will initiate a dialogue between IL and SFL, which may also clarify what, jointly, they imply for the practices of applied linguistics.

The day began at 10:30, with each speaker invited to speak for 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of general discussion arising from their paper.

The provisional order of speakers is:
10:30 Roy Harris
11:15 Theo van Leeuwen
12:00 Hayley Davis
                [12:45 - 2:00: Lunch at Staff House]
2:00 Geoff Thompson
2:45 Michael Toolan
3:30 Peter White
                [4:15 Tea]
4:30-5:30 Closing General Discussion

And for one participant's assessment of the day's proceedings, go to:
Martin Edwardes' report

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