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Review of  Applying English Grammar


Reviewer: Sara Laviosa
Book Title: Applying English Grammar
Book Author: Caroline Coffin Ann Hewings Kieran O'Halloran
Publisher: Hodder Education
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
Book Announcement: 16.223

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Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 18:34:49 +0100
From: Sara Laviosa <saralaviosa@tiscali.it>
Subject: Applying English Grammar: Functional and Corpus Approaches

EDITORS: Coffin, Caroline; Hewings, Ann; O'Halloran, Kieran
TITLE: Applying English Grammar
SUBTITLE: Functional and Corpus Approaches
PUBLISHER: Arnold Publishers (distributed in US by Oxford University Press)
YEAR: 2004

Sara Laviosa, Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, Università degli
Studi di Bari, Italy

This edited volume comprising both newly commissioned and previously
published papers is most welcome in so far as it brings together in a
novel way two approaches to English grammar, namely the systemic
functional approach and the corpus linguistic one, both of them becoming
increasingly relevant to the empirical description of language use and the
study of how language transmits values, identities, and ideology. The book
is divided into three self-contained parts each being preceded by an
introduction which usefully sets out the aims of each section. Part 1
introduces the principal theoretical tenets and methodologies underlying
the systemic functional and corpus linguistic perspectives to English
language studies. Part 2 presents further studies carried out within the
functional and the corpus linguistic frameworks with a view to comparing
and contrasting different text types. The focus of Part 3 is Critical
Discourse Analysis (CDA), which has recently begun to draw on corpus
linguistics giving rise to what is known as corpus-based CDA.

Part 1 Chapter 1 by Elena Tognini-Bonelli outlines the basic principles
and the main issues pertaining to the corpus linguistic approach, starting
from the very notion of corpus and ending with the different uses of
corpora in descriptive and applied studies, including translation. Part 1
Chapter 2 by Ronald Carter reports on an empirical study aimed at
highlighting some important grammatical patterns that distinguish spoken
from written discourse. In Part 1 Chapter 3 Douglas Biber and Susan Conrad
present a comparative study of the lexico-grammatical features of four
registers: conversation, fiction, newspaper writing, and academic prose.
Part 1 Chapter 4 by Jim R. Martin explains some fundamental differences
between structuralist approaches to grammar, with their focus on part-
whole structure of grammatical units, and systemic functional grammar,
which is concerned with showing the relation between structure and
meaning. In Part 1 Chapter 5 M. A. K. Halliday illustrates and discusses
some typical difficulties presented by scientific writing, which he groups
under seven closely related headings: interlocking definitions, technical
taxonomies, special expressions, lexical density, syntactic ambiguity,
grammatical metaphor, and semantic discontinuity.

Part 2 Chapter 1 by Ann Hewings and Martin Hewings investigates how the
anticipatory it functions in two contrasting collections of academic
prose, i.e. student and published academic writing, demonstrating intra-
register variation with regard to one grammatical structure. Part 2
Chapter 2 by Hilary Hillier examines the clause and noun phrase structures
that characterize two versions of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, namely the
original nineteenth-century novel and a simplified Guided Reader version
written by Margaret Tarner aimed at learners of English. The analysis
finds its place within the functional framework but uses mostly
traditional grammatical labelling. Part 2 Chapter 3 by Ann Hewings and
Caroline Coffin combine a quantitative corpus-based analysis with a
functional analysis of university students' on-line conference
discussions -- a variety of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) -- and
essay writing, with a view to ascertaining the extent to which the former
genre is closer to speech or written academic prose. In Part 2 Chapter 4
Clare Painter describes, within the theoretical framework of systemic
functional linguistics, the speech development of a growing child and
unveils not only specific aspects of the developing linguistic system but
also the speaker's use of the system as a means of making sense of the
world. Part 2 Chapter 5 by Gill Francis and Anneliese Kramer-Dahl reports
on a comparative examination of Oliver Sacks' clinical tales vis-à-vis a
case report published in a professional journal of neuropsychology.

In Part 3 Chapter 1 Andrew Goatly starts his investigation by assuming
that English grammar normally structures reality according to a Newtonian
view of the world. He then proceeds to investigate the representation of
nature in The Times vis-à-vis Wordsworth's The Prelude using the
theoretical framework of systemic functional grammar and a corpus-based
methodology. In Part 3 Chapter 2 Veronika Koller and Gerlinde Mautner
examine the advantages of combining the use of concordancing programs with
CDA's traditional qualitative analyses, illustrating the points made with
two case studies. The first is the role of personal pronouns in newspaper
editorials in the construction of social identities and social relations,
the second is the role played by the lemma federal in the British debate
on the European Union. Part 3 Chapter 3 by Peter White provides a
framework for investigating what it might mean for a media news report to
be neutral and value free and how to distinguish between objective and
subjective texts whose positive or negative evaluations might influence
the reader's view about the people, events, and states of affairs depicted
in the text Part 3. Chapter 4 by Michael Stubbs is an analysis of the
expression of causativity in ergative constructions and modality in
projective that-clauses in two school textbooks on physical and human
geography vis-à-vis a written corpus of English with a view to unveiling
the different ideological stances expressed in the school books. Part 3
Chapter 5 by Kieran O'Halloran and Caroline Coffin illustrates the ways in
which, thanks to corpus-based techniques, the analysis of reader
positioning to accept a particular point of view can be rendered more
rigorous by reducing over- and under-interpretations of a given text such
as the news report in a tabloid newspaper.

Aimed primarily at undergraduate students, this volume is part of a course
entitled English Grammar in Context run by the Open University. Highly
readable and clearly organized into self-contained sections, it provides
an up-to-date theoretical and methodological framework for the analysis of
the English language as it is used today. The glossary compiled by Sarah
North gives clear definitions of key terms helping the reader to follow
with ease the contents of each article. The novelty of this work lies in
having shown the distinct possibility of integrating two different
approaches to English grammar and exploring the potential for cross-
fertilization of these two areas of study.




 
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER


Sara Laviosa was Head of the Italian Section of the School of Languages at
the University of Salford, UK, where she lectured in translation practice
and theory. She is now a Research Fellow in English Language and
Translation at the Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature e Tradizioni
Culturali Anglo-Germaniche, University of Bari, Italy. Her main research
interests are in Corpus-based Translation Studies. She has designed the
English Comparable Corpus (ECC) and the Commercial Italian Corpus (COMIC)
and has contributed to the development of the Translational English Corpus
(TEC). She has published articles and collected volumes on Translation
Studies and Language Teaching Methodologies. She has authored the volume
Corpus-based Translation Studies: Theory, Findings, Applications.


Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0340885149
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 336
Prices: U.K. £ 16.99
U.S. $ 29.95