Category Archives: Context: Situation

Generic Structure Potential (GSP)

When you go to buy something in a convenience store you can be reasonably certain of what’s going to happen in that situation. First, you’ll walk in and you might say ‘hello’. Then you’ll ask for some batteries and then … Continue reading

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Context and Register

An important distinction can be made between the context of situation and register of a text. They often seem to be conflated but Halliday does distinguish between the two. Here is a headline from the satirical magazine The Onion: Coarse … Continue reading

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Contextual Configuration

The field, tenor and mode of the context of situation function “as a point of entry to a situation as a set of possibilities” (Halliday & Hasan, 1985, p.55). Within a culture, there are sets of certain recurring situations with the … Continue reading

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Mode of discourse

The third part of the context of situation is the mode of discourse. Mode refers to: what part the language is playing, what it is that the participants are expecting the language to do for them in that situation: the … Continue reading

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Tenor of discourse

The second part of the context of situation is the tenor of discourse. Tenor refers to: who is taking part, to the nature of the participants, their statuses and roles: what kinds of role relationship obtain among the participants, including … Continue reading

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Field of discourse

Here is a recipe for Lemon Risotto from http://www.epicurious.com: We know this is a recipe, and not say a research report, partly through the field of discourse. Within the context of situation, field refers to: what is happening, to the … Continue reading

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Genre of cooking classes

Further to my last post on recipes, I’d also highly recommend an interesting read on similar differences between American and Japanese cooking classes in: Mayes, P., 2003, Language, Social Structure, and Culture: A Genre Analysis of Cooking Classes in Japan and … Continue reading

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Register and Participants

Register can be a tricky concept for a lot of students. They often focus solely on the grammatical plane and forget about the social context in which it occurs (most EFL textbooks don’t really help in this regard). On the … Continue reading

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Activity: Register and text

I’ve been doing a lot of activities recently trying to get students thinking about how context affects language choice. Here is one featuring three texts related to travel – two from a tourist booklet and one from the SMH travel … Continue reading

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Register and demonstratives

Here is an exchange (1) from the TV show Friends: Ross: [Entering] What is this dive? Only you could’ve picked this place. Mrs. Bing: Oooh, c’mon, shut up, it’s fun. Gimme a hug. At first this seems a simple exchange … Continue reading

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