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Research Seminar : "Applying SFL Theory to Specific Language Description: A Case Study of Japane...
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Topic:  Research Seminar : "Applying SFL Theory to Specific Language Description: A Case Study of Japanese from the Kyoto Grammar Approach"
posted itemPosted - 08/01/2008 :  18:03:54
City University of Hong Kong Dep

Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Research Seminar

Applying SFL Theory to Specific Language Description: A Case Study of Japanese from the Kyoto Grammar Approach

Presented by

Prof. Masa-aki Tatsuki

Doshisha University, Kyoto Japan

Date: 14 Jan 2008, Monday
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
B7603 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU


The Systemic Functional Linguistics (=SFL) theory, advocated by Halliday, is a powerful linguistics theory which implements the concept of three metafunctions. At present, however, the theory has been mainly developed in relation to the English language, so the current description can be naturally understood as English-oriented. Accordingly, the description of other, specific languages, such as Japanese, Korean or several non Indo-European languages, should be different from the original English description. Accepting this, following the theory or the framework of SFL, a new treatment for Japanese is proposed by Tatsuki and his followers at Doshisha University, called The Kyoto Grammar. This title, The Kyoto Grammar, derives from the place where Doshisha University is located and can be regarded as one of the dialects of SFL or systemic functional grammar, since several different treatments of English are called the Sydney Grammar, Cardiff Grammar, or Nottingham Grammar, depending upon the location of the Study Group.  This paper will introduce several new treatments of The Kyoto Grammar with special reference to the three metafunctions or meanings. From the experiential meaning, i.e., Transitivity, a new transitivity network including the so-called Japanese adjective will be discussed; from the interpersonal meaning, i.e., Mood, a new interpretation of the Japanese Subject will be considered; and from the textual meaning, i.e., Theme, a new basic unit of the Japanese text, designated a Communicative Unit(=CU), will be introduced. It should be added that all these topics will be considered and analyzed in relation to detailed descriptions of Japanese texts, so the whole will serve as an example of how to apply SFL theory to the Japanese language as a specific language.


Masa-aki Tatsuki is Professor of Linguistics at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. His research centers on the Japanese Grammar through SFL theory. Although his framework is SFL, his treatment of Japanese is based on the actual description of Japanese, called the Kyoto Grammar, a new descriptive model of Japanese proposed by him.

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