Previous Events 2009

Category Date Participant Title Venue
Seminar 1 Dec Dr David G. Butt Grammatical and textual perspectives on "Meaningful Relations at the Level of Consciousness": From identifying clauses to "Cohesive Harmony" CityU
Conference 14-18 Jul Tsinghua-U; Dept CTL 36th International Systemic Functional Congress "Challenges to Systemic Functional Linguistics:
Theory and Practice"
Seminar 20 May Prof Janet Holmes Power and professional identity in the workplace: Model, methods and interpretations CityU

Dr. David Butt (Macquarie University, Australia)

Grammatical and textual perspectives on "meaningful relations at the level of consciousness": From identifying clauses to "cohesive harmony"

Date : 1 December 2009
Time : //
Venue : //


In their final reflections on "the exhaustiveness of the scientific pursuit" in relation to consciousness and the material order, Edelman and Tononi (2000:222) argue that not "all meaningful relations at the level of consciousness" are appropriate scientific subjects (even though they may be "scientifically founded objects"). The instances offered as cases in point include "meaningful sentences in ordinary language" and "even better... poetic exchanges" (ibid).

In this paper I set out from the reasons the authors offer for what they see as a "fascinating point". I then offer analyses of grammatical and textual phenomena using specific tools of systemic functional theory - first of all, Halliday's account of identifying clauses in English; and then Hasan's development (from the 1960s) of "cohesive harmony". My aim in these examples is to demonstrate, in each case, the direct bearing the enquiry has on debates concerning higher order consciousness. The two debates which I offer here as test cases pertain to:

1) the crucial notion of the "duplex self" (William James 1842-1910): myself as observed object ("Me"), and as participatory subject ("I").
2) the controversy surrounding "dissociative" states, first systematically characterised as a 'disaggregation' or as a 'fragmentation' of consciousness, by Janet (1859-1947) and by Hughlings-Jackson (1835-1947).

The emergent purposes of the discussion are, then:
a) to argue against any claim that we must relinquish a science of "meaningful relations" (in the terms cited above);
b) to demonstrate the realizational relationship between all levels of organization of human consciousness (from molecules to meanings in neuroscience viz. Kandel ); and
c) to bring out the implication of (b), namely, that language does not reflect the individual mind - it is the mind at a level which is realized, collectively, in the lattice of our specific, intersubjective relationships.

36th International Systemic Functional Congress "Challenges to Systemic Functional Linguistics:
Theory and Practice"

Date : 14-18 July 2009
Tsinghua University, China; Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, CityU

The theme of the conference will be "Challenges to Systemic Functional Linguistics: theory and practice", focusing on the issues and challenges confronting this school of linguistics, both with respect to the development of systemic and functional theory, as well as in its application to different languages, fields and contexts. Like the theme of previous ISFCs, the theme of this congress is also intended to be broad and inclusive. It may involve views on the prospect of the semiotic systems, the construction of the SF semantic schema, the relationship between language and society, between language and mind, and between language and reality, child language development, language fuzziness, language planning and language planning and language policy, language education, discourse analysis, linguistics and translation, etc.

Professor Janet Holmes

Power and Professional Identity in the Workplace:
Model, Methods and Interpretations

Date : 20 May 2009
Time : //
Venue : //


Interacting on a daily basis with colleagues and superiors in the workplace poses interesting and subtle discursive challenges for individuals, especially those in leadership positions. Through their talk, leaders need to simultaneously construct themselves as responsible professionals oriented to the transactional goals of the organisation and as caring colleagues, concerned with developing and maintaining supportive and positive workplace relationships.

This talk illustrates how the Wellington Language in the Workplace (LWP) Project tracked such discursive accomplishments by female and male leaders in a range of different New Zealand organisations, including some with distinctive ethnic orientations. The distinctive and innovative approach and methodology of the LWP Project will be discussed and illustrated.