This book is aimed at fellow practitioners and researchers in functional
linguistics. It offers a friendly but critical appraisal of a major
component of the ‘standard’ version of SFL, i.e. the account given by
Halliday and Matthiessen of tense and aspect in English. Supporting his
criticisms with evidence from a project in corpus linguistics, Bache
suggests that this account fails in several ways to satisfy accepted
functionalist criteria, and hence needs revising and extending.
After surveying alternative functionalist approaches to modelling time and
tense in English (including Fawcett’s Cardiff school approach and Harder’s
instructional-semantic approach), and after presenting a number of
principles of category description, Bache goes on to offer an alternative
SFL account of this area of grammar.
In Bache’s model, the focus is on the speaker’s communicative motivation
for choosing particular verb forms. The relevant choice relations are seen
to draw on metafunctionally diverse resources, such as tense, action,
aspect and other domains. The basically univariate, serial structure of the
verbal group is accordingly enriched with certain characteristics
associated with multivariate structures, and the idea of recursion is
abandoned. Bache finally examines the descriptive potential of his model in
connection with projection, conditions, and narration.