The value of a pragma-functional approach to intercultural conflict discourses

Margo Lecompte-Van Poucke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systemic functional linguistics focuses on the study of language use within its registerial context of situation. The theory offers a meaning-based approach for the analysis of discourses in generic and culture-specific settings. When it comes to the analysis of conflict discourses across cultural boundaries, SFL may be integrated into a framework that relates language use to the notions of power and ideology and the dimensions of culture and history to provide a broader picture to inform future political decision-making. This paper presents a pragma-functional approach combining systemic functional linguistics, argumentation theory, critical theory and postcolonial insights. The analytical tool is illustrated with reference to the New Caledonian independence debate through the analysis of salient linguistic patterns and discursive moves in two open letters, published in April 1988, by Kanak independence leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou and former French President François Mitterrand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-173
Number of pages44
JournalLanguage, Context and Text
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • systemic functional linguistics (SFL)
  • argumentation theory
  • critical discourse analysis (CDA)
  • postcolonialism
  • critical theory
  • conflict
  • debate
  • New Caledonia
  • French
  • Kanak


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