Choice’ in relation to context

A diachronic perspective on cultural valeur

Claire Urbach

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction The notion of ‘choice’ is invoked as a concept in SFL in different ways for different units of analysis. At clause rank, when dealing with the semantic and lexicogrammatical strata, ‘choice’ is used to describe the unconscious process of selection from the meaning potential to create a text instance in a given context (see e.g. Halliday, this volume). But when we move to consider context, the idea of selection from a potential no longer seems to fit so comfortably. Indeed, Halliday (this volume) suggests that existing networks of choice for context are really no more than ‘taxonomies of semiotic situation types’. What is the unit of analysis at the contextual stratum? What is the potential from which options are selected? By what means does the selection take place? What entry conditions might exist for beginning a selection path through a system? (See Halliday, this volume, for a discussion of system and system networks at the linguistic strata). These questions cannot all be answered satisfactorily here, but they are raised to acknowledge that theoretical difficulties exist, and that as a result some assumptions will need to be made in this chapter about the utility of a paradigmatic view of context for the study of register.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSystemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring Choice
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9781139583077
    ISBN (Print)9781107036963
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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