Book review: Halliday, Language and Society

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Mar 29 16:32:05 UTC 2007

Language and Society Volume 10
Series Title: Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday
Published: 2007
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd

Book URL:

Author: M.A.K Halliday
Editor: Jonathan J. Webster

"I don't recall what inspired so many of us most; was it Michael
Halliday's Inaugural Address with its title 'Grammar, Society and the
Noun', or the perhaps apocryphal remark that all linguistics is
sociolinguistics; but what is crystal-clear in reading this final volume
in his Collected Works edited with such care and devotion by Jonathan
Webster for the benefit of all, is how modern it all reads with its
interwoven links between texture and community, its implication of action
in text - the can do, inherent in meaning potential but at the same time
how definitive: the framework of analysis of an integrated general theory
which now seems so much embedded in our modes of practice. Everyone will
come away from this reading and re-reading of Michael Halliday's writings
on language and society with a different insight: for me it is two
matters; every persons capacity for creativity in exploiting meaning
potential, and the central importance of establishing a unifying system
able not only to capture form but to relate it consequentially and
functionally to our understandings of social life."  Chris Candlin, Senior
Research Professor, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

The tenth volume in Professor M.A.K. Halliday's collected works includes
papers focusing on Language and Society. The papers provide a framework
for understanding the social meaning of language, and the relation of
language to other social phenomena. The volume begins with Professor
Halliday's ground-breaking work on the users and uses of language.
Subsequent chapters are organized around a discussion of sociolinguistic
theory, and the relation between language and social class and social


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