Publication details [#56933]

Butler, Christopher S. 2013. Systemic Functional Linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics and psycholinguistics: Opportunities for dialogue. Functions of Language 20 (2) : 185–218.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


The overall aim of this article is to explain why researchers working in Systemic Functional Linguistics and Cognitive Linguistics would benefit from dialogue with people working in psycholinguistics, and with each other. After a brief introduction, the positions on cognition taken in the Sydney and Cardiff models of Systemic Functional Linguistics are reviewed and critiqued. The article then assesses the extent to which Cognitive Linguistics has honoured the ‘cognitive commitment’ which it claims to make. The following section examines compatibilities between Systemic Functional and Cognitive Linguistic approaches, first outlining existing work which combines Hallidayan and cognitive perspectives, then discussing other potential areas of contact between the two, and finally examining the Cardiff model in relation to Cognitive Linguistics. The final section presents a collaborative view, suggesting that the ultimate aim of functionally-oriented (including cognitive) linguistics should be to attempt to answer the question ‘How does the natural language user work?’, and pointing out that collaboration between proponents of different linguistic models, and between linguists and researchers in other disciplines which study language, is crucial to this enterprise. Suggestions are made for ways in which dialogue across the areas of Systemic Functional Linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics and psycholinguistics could contribute to such a project.