SysFlinging (Yes, that is a word…)

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For one day a week over the past three weeks, I’ve been lecturing in Bristol, running to a train station, travelling under a large body of water to another country, quick-stepping to a University, and then reversing (almost) all of the process 3 hours later. It’s been busy.

As anybody who has been reading my blog and/or who I teach will know, I’m a pretty big fan of systemic functional linguistics. Just like any theory or method of analysis, it isn’t without fault, but I think it’s a useful way to approach linguistic analysis. It also still shocks me when people find out that I’m more ‘functional’ than ‘formal’ in my approaches… feels like a second coming-out.

secret-door

“Mum, Dad… I’m a functionalist.” – Coming out from inside the… bookshelf? Think I’ve found a title for a new book!

Anyway, the wonderful people at Cardiff University, or more specifically, those at LinC, hosted a series of workshops by the knowledgeable and friendly Dr Beatriz Quiroz. She flew all the way from Chile to come and impart some extremely useful information to myself and a group of other like-minded linguists, which ended up in some of the deepest discussions that I’ve ever been a part of. Admittedly, I got lost more than I’d care to admit, but then again I’m still new to SFL!

What struck me the most, however, is the interest that others had in my (still very much in development) work, and the friendliness of those in attendance. I’m thankful to Lise for reminding me that this event was taking place, and for the stimulating conversations provided by Tom, Gerard and Beatriz. The other students and I definitely learned a lot. And, even though there was PLENTY of debate and sometimes ‘clashes’ between those approaching the theory from different perspectives, I still felt more than happy to chip in and contribute in such a welcoming environment. I think this latter counts for a lot, and I hope that the days of the stuffy, regimented, and humourless academic events are numbered.

While still new to the theory and attempting to do something that hasn’t been explored in very much detail at all, alongside working at a non-SFL-centric institution, I’d still like to think of myself as a SysFlinger: one who partakes in SysFlinging. I hope that my enthusiasm for this community and the theories are reflected in my work and my thesis.

Which probably means I should get back to writing my thesis.

(Urgh.)

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