Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as Sociolinguistic and Sociological Conception: Possibilities and Limits of Theoretical Framework

Mariia Rubtcova, Oleg Pavenkov, Irina Khmyrova-Pruel, Tatiana Malinina, Irina Dadianova


The paper aims at examining possibilities and limits of Systemic functional linguistics theoretical framework. Ideologically SFL concept was associated with the ideas of social justice and equality, the building of the society of equal opportunities through the educational system. The most interesting ideas arose when the SFL representatives thought about the development of English as a native language and were connected with the overcoming of class distinctions. The current version - genre-based approach – has serious limits. The desire of a genre-based approach to the systematization of genres carries a risk of cultural contradictions and conflict of cultures. However, the basic theoretical SFL principles are still in the stage of formation, as SFL researchers seek to avoid some rigidity of the classical institutional (genre) approach, which is in contradiction with the principles of diversity. The founder M. Halliday offered ideas for the organization of a flexible approach based on International English that may become World Englishes, developing in order to adapt to the meanings of other cultures.  Therefore, an SFL approach still needs some alterations to spread outside the Western world and conform to the new culture for it. Besides, we can think about proposals of Halliday’s supporters to develop the own version of English for non-Western countries, considering its culture and mentality.



Sociolinguistics, Systemic functional linguistics (SFL), World Englishes, cultural differences, the English language spread

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