Navigating in semiological space: theory and Matthiessonian cartography, from typology to register and artificial intelligence

David G. Butt*, Annabelle Lukin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The discussion sets out from ten vectors of linguistic endeavour – domains of linguistics that Christian Matthiessen has developed through advances of theory (e.g. in lexicogrammar and rhetorical structure), of tool power (e.g. in computational modelling), and of practical extensions of systemic “mapping” (i.e. in linked networks of speaker “choice”), as well as in his situational or register descriptions (especially in professional discourses).

The crucial characteristic of Matthiessen's work is what we might call convergence, namely, the way his depth in a number of cognate disciplines allows him to bring out the relevance of language study to holistic issues, for instance, of human evolution, of learning, of brain sciences, and of semiotic forms that are analogues of language, or which recruit language to cultural innovation. Like his mentor, M.A.K. Halliday, Matthiessen seeks an integration that will enable linguistics to take on a central role in sciences in which the accuracy, range of coverage, and quantification of evidence promote social cohesion and “self” discoveries. The Matthiessonian cartography is here considered through references to stages in his career and by a number of comparisons with the work of other prodigious figures in 20th-century linguistics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheorizing and applying systemic functional linguistics
Subtitle of host publicationdevelopments by Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen
EditorsBo Wang, Yuanyi Ma
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781000998566, 9781003041238
ISBN (Print)9781032610986, 9780367484897
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Linguistics


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