Selves, interactive representations and context
A systemic functional linguistic account of process in language and world
In this paper, I re-examine the notion of ‘clause-as-representation’ in Michael Halliday’s systemic functional theory of language. I argue that ‘representation’ is a mode of linguistic action that cannot be understood in terms of the experiential metafunction alone. Instead, a theoretical account of representation must be undertaken in relation to all the metafunctions. Rejecting encodingist accounts of representation, I develop the argument that representations are interactively constituted and emergent in languaging activity. The paper develops these arguments in relation to a process ontological account of the relations between language and the world-side phenomena that language represents. Language does not encode actualities. The future-oriented, anticipatory character of languaging is fundamentally modal in character. A co-articulated self-utterance-situation matrix never attains full actuality. The virtual potentialities of languaging always have the potential for further individuation.
Keywords: affordance, anticipatory dynamics, interactivity, functional constraint, functional individual, metafunction, representation, process ontology, self, systemic functional linguistics
Published online: 24 February 2021
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