What Is Functional Grammar English Language Essay
Functional grammar, as explained by Halliday (1994) is concerned with meanings. Functional grammar looks at language as consisting of units of meanings rather than chunks of forms. These units of meanings are represented in various oral and written texts. In keeping with the idea, functional grammar is interested to analyze language at the text level rather than sentences. Further, Halliday (1994) writes that there are 3 lines of meaning in the clause. (1) the theme functions in the structure of the clause as message (2) the subject functions in the structure of the clause as an exchange (3) the actor functions in the structure of the clause as representation. Giving more explanation about functional grammar, he adds that functional grammar makes extensive use of function labels like actor, process, goal, theme & rheme etc.
Functional grammar is a new subject in the English Department of State University of Jakarta. It has become a subject in the English Department of State University of Jakarta since 2002. This subject is to be taken by all students to complete their study. Functional grammar consists of functional grammar I and functional grammar 2 with 3 semester credits each. Both functional grammar 1 and functional grammar 2 have similar purpose that is to support the development of ability to speak and write English correctly. (Buku Pedornan Akademik FBS, 2004/2005)
As experienced by English Department students in functional grammar classes, the process of learning functional grammar includes the discussion of concepts which is then followed by analyzing text. Texts to be analyzed can be taken from different resources such as newspaper, magazine, advertisement, film or novel.
Based on the observation and informal talks with other students done by the researcher,E students often had difficulties when analyzing text. The students felt confused to put the words from text into functional grammar concepts. So far, there was no practice how to apply functional grammar concepts in speaking.
Considering the condition, the researcher is interested to conduct a study to identify English Department students’ perception towards their knowledge, comprehension, and ability to apply functional grammar concepts in analyzing text and speaking.
B. Focus of Study
The focus of study is identifying English Department students’ perception towards their knowledge, comprehension, and ability to apply functional grammar concepts in analyzing text and speaking.
C. Problem Statement
Based on background of the study above, questions addressed are:
1. What is English Department students’ perception towards their knowledge of functional grammar concepts.
2 What is English Department students’ perception towards their comprehension of functional grammar concepts
3 What is English Department students’ perception towards their ability to
apply functional grammar concepts in analyzing text.
4 What is English Department students’ perception towards tieir ability to apply functional grammar concepts in speaking.
D. Purpose of Study
Based on problem statement, the purpose of this study is to identify English Department students’ perception towards their knowledge, comprehension, and ability to apply functional grammar concepts in analyzing text and speaking.
E. Benefit of Study
This study is to give input related to English Department students’ knowledge, comprehension of functional grammar concepts and their ability to apply the concepts in analyzing text and speaking.
This chapter discusses seven topics relevant to the needs of providing theoretical bases for a study of identifying English Department students’
perception towards their knowledge, comprehension, and ability to apply functional grammar concepts in analyzing text and speaking. The first topic is traditional grammar, the second topic is functional grammar, the third topic is the differences between traditional grammar and functional grammar, the fourth topic is functional grammar as a subject in the English Department, the fifth topic is Perception, the sixth topic is Ability to Apply, and the seventh topic is Speaking.
In the discussion about Traditional Grammar, Halliday (1994) explains that traditional grammar has always been the grammar of written language; and traditional grammar has always been a product grammar. While, Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) state that grammar is the structure of language. They further explain that traditional grammar aims at describing the grammar of standards
English by comparing the grammar of English with the one of Latin. They state that students learn the name of parts of speech (noons, verbs, prepositions adverbs, adjectives) They also explain that traditional grammar focuses on the rules for producing coect sentences.
Still related to traditional grammar, based on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2O36) ri 1Lng Isrics trad t’ona1 grammar is a cover name for the collection of
concepts and ideas about the structure of language that Western societies have received from ancient Greek and Roman sources. The source also states that the focus of attention of traditional grammar is on the surface structure, not on meaning.
So far, traditional grammar has been associated with the use of class labels like noun. verb, adjective, adverb, etc. Traditional grammar is mainly concerned with syntax and some morphology. Traditional grammar focuses on surface structure. Traditional grammar limits the discussion on the sentence level.
In the discussion about Functional Grammar, Halliday (1994) explains that functional grammar is essentially a ‘natural’ grammar, in the sense that everything in functional grammar can, be explained, ujtimately, by reference to how language is used. He further states that the aim of functional grammar has been to construct a grammar for purposes of text analysis: one that would make it possible to say sensible and useful things about any text spoken and written in modern English.
Going into deeper discussion, Halliday (1994) pronoses three lines of meaning
in the clause. There are theme, subject and actor. As a working approximation, he
defines different strands of meaning as follows:
1. The Theme functions in the structure of the clause as message.
2. The Subject functions in the structure of the clause as an exchange.
3. The Actor functions in the structure of the clause as representation.
While, Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) note that functional grammar attempts to describe language in actual use and focus on text and contexts. They view that functional grammar was developed based on an assumption that language as a resource for making meaning. They also state that functional grammar is concerned tiot only with the structures but also with how those structures construct meaning. Functional grammar starts with the question, how the meanings of this text are realized.
On the same view of Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994), and Halliday
(1994), Martin, Matthiessen, & Painter (1997) describe that functional grammar is a way of looking at grammar as it is used. Functional grammar focuses on the
development of grammatical systems as a means for people to interact with each other.
1. Clause as Message
Halliday (1994) states that clause as message is a clause which has meaning as a message, a quantum of information. He also claims in all languages the clause has the character of a message: it has some form of organization giving it the status of a communicative event, but there are different ways in which this may be achieved. In the clause as a message, there are theme and rheme.
Halliday (1994) explains that theme is the element which serves as the point of departure of the message, the part in which the clause is concerned. Furthermore, he states that the theme is put first.
Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994), talking about theme, note that theme is what the clause is going to be about. They further describe that the theme can be identified as that or those element(s) which come(s) first in the clause. Theme represents the point of departure of this message from the previous one. Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) shortly state that ‘this is what I’m talking about’. They also said that in terms of looking at a clause as a message, the theme looks backwards, relating to the current message to what has gone before.
On the same view about Theme, Martin, Matthiessen, & Painter (1997) note that theme is one of two systems that organize the information presented in the clause, the other being that information. Further they also state that theme can be divided into 3 categories. There are ideational / topical theme, interpersonal theme, textual theme.
1. Ideational! Topical theme is language construes human experience. Ideational consists of what there is to argue about.
2. Interpersonal theme is language enacts human relationships. Interpersonal consists of something people can interact with.
3. Textual theme is language creates discourse. Textual consists of word order. Related the clause to its context.
Halliday (1994) states that rheme is the remainder of the message, the part in which the theme is developed. He further explains that rheme as a message structure. A clause consists of a Theme accompanied by a Rheme.
Still in the discussion about Rheme, Linda Gerot & Peter Wigneil (1994) note that rheme is the rest of the clause New information is contained in the rheme
They further represent that rheme is ‘This is what I’m saying about it’. Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) also said that the rheme points both backwards and forwards by picking up on information which is already a’ailable and adding ti it and by presenting information which was not there before.
2 Clause as Exchange
Based on Flalliday (1994), clause as exchange is a clause which has meaning as an exchange, a transaction between speaker and listener. In clause as exchange, there are mood and residu.
Mood according to Halliday (1994) refers to the element that realizes the selection of mood in the clause. While, Martin, Matthiessen, & Painter (1997) describe that the mood element makes clause ‘negotiable’ and consists of Finite and Subject.
This term, according to Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) state that finite element is one of the small numbers of verbal operators expressing tense, modality and polarity. They further explain that finite element has the function of locating an exchange with reference to the speaker and making a proposition something that can be argued about.
Still in the same discussion about finite, Martin, Matthiessen, & Painter (1997) refers to the one that makes a clause a negotiable by coding it as positive or negative and by grounding it, either in terms of time (it is! it isn’t: it was/it wasn’t:
it will/it won’t) or in terms of modality (it may! it wiIIJ it must, etc).
In the discussion about subject, Halliclay (1994) states that subject is the responsible element, but in proposition this means the one on which the validity of the information is made to rest.
Not to be different from Halliday (1994), Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) state that subject is that upon which the speaker rests his case in exchanges of
information, and the one responsible for insuring that the prescribed action is or is
not carned out in exchanges of goods and services
Still n the discussion about subject, Martin, Matthiessen, & Painter (1997) stated that subject is the element in terms of which the clause can be negotiated.
Halliday (1994), Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) said that residue consists of functional elements of three kinds: Predicator, Complement and Adjunct.
Halliday (1994) says that predicator occurs in all major clauses, except those that are displayed through ellipsis. Predicator is realized by a verbal group.
Still in the same discussion about Predicator, Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) claim that predicator is the verb part of the clause, the bit which tells
what’s doing, happening or being.
Halliday (1994) says that a complement is an element within the residue that has the potential of being subject but is not. Complement is realized by a nominal group.
Giving more explanation about complement, Linda Gerot & Peter Wigneli (1994) state that complement answers the question ‘is/had what’, ‘to whom’, ‘did to what’.
Adjunct, according to Halliday (1994), and Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) is an element that has not got the potential of being subject. Adjunct is typically realized by an adverbial group or a prepositional phrase.
3. Clause as Representation
Halliday (1994) describes that clause as a representation is a clause which has meaning as a representation, the actor is the active participant in that process. He also states that participants related to each process type are as in the table below:
a. Processes and Participants
Material: Actor (doer of the process)
processes of Goai (thing affected by the process)
Range (thing unaffected by the process)
Beneficiary (the one to whom the process is said to take place)
Behave (a conscious being if it is not, the clause is considered to be
Behaviour (extends the process)
Senser (doer of the process that is realised by a human or at least
Phenbmenon (what is thought, wanted, perceived or liked /
disliked that is realised by a nominal group or embedded clause)
Sayer (doer of the process)
Receiver (addressee of the speech)
Target (the participant which is the subject of the talk)
Verbiage (sums up what is said in one nominal group or embedded
Carrier (thing described)
Attribute (description, it is typically an indefinite nominal group
The other element that also plays an important part in the experiential meaning is the circumstance. A circumstance is defined as any piece of circumstantial information about the process within its own clause (Halliday 1994). The function is to illuminate the process in some way. Circumstances are realized by adverbial groups, prepositional phrases, and even by nominal groups.
Still in the same discussion about Circumstance, Halliday (1994) divides
circumstances into 9 categories. There are: (1) Extent (2) Location (3) Manner (4)
Cause (5) Contingency (6) Accompaniment (7) Role (8) Matter (9) Angla
Extent is expressed in terms of some unit measurements like yards, laps, rounds, and years. The interrogative forms for Extent are: (a) how far? (b) how long? (c) how many? The typical structure is a nominal group with quantifier or indefinite.
with an adjective as Head)
Identified (that which is to be identified) Identifier (the new identity)
Location clarifies the location of the expression. The general interrogatives are where? and when?. The typical structure is an adverbial group or prepositional phrase.
Manner, another set of categories, is divided into three subcategories. There
are: (a) Means (b) Quality (c) Comparison.
Means refers to the means whereby a process takes place, it is typically expressed by a prepositional phrase with the preposition by or with. The interrogative forms are how? and what with?
Quality is typically expressed by an adverbial group with-ly adverb as Head.
It answers the question of ‘how’.
Comparison is typically expressed by a prepositional phrase started with like or unlike, or an adverbial group of similarity or difference. The interrogative form is what.. .like?
The Cause was divided into 3 categories. There are: (a) Reason (b) Purpose
Reason represents the reason for which a process takes place — what causes
it, the interrogative form are why? or how?
Purpose represents the purpose for which an action takes place — the
intention behind it. The interrogative form is what for?
Behalf represents ihe entity, typically a person, on whose behalf or for
whose sake the action is undertaken — who is for. They are expressed by a prepositional phrase with for or with a complex preposition such as for the
sake of, in favour on behalf of. The interrogative form is who for?
Contingency comprises 3 subcategories. There are: (a) Condition (b)
Concession (c) Expression.
Condition is expressed by in case of, in the event of.
Concession is expressed by in spite of or despite.
Express ion of default has in the absence of, in default of.
Accompaniment, another set of circumstantial elements, represents the
meanings ‘and’, or’, ‘not’ as circumstantial. interrogative forms are and
who / what else? It is expressed by prepositional phrase with preposition
such as with, without, besides, and instead of.
Role includes the subcategories of Guise construes the meaning of ‘be’ the iitterrogative form is what as? and Product with meaning of ‘become’, interrogative form is what into?.
Matter is expressed by preposition such as about, concerning, with reference
to and sometimes simply of. Interrogative form is what about?.
Angle is used preposition to, but, like. It is often expressed by a more complex form such as according to, in the view I opinion of, from the standpoint of.
From the definitions, it can be concluded that functional grammar makes extensive use of function labels like Actor, Process, Goal, Theme, Rheme and so
on. In functional grammar there is no distinction between lexis and gran’1mar. Both lexis and grammar are meaning-creating, because functional grammar is concerned with meaning than structure.
The Differences between Traditional and Functional Grammar
Linda Gerot & Peter Wignell (1994) stated that the main difference between traditional grammar and functional grammar is in the unit of analysis. Traditional
in fourth semester. While, functional grammar 2 is to be taken by students in fifth semester. Both functional grammar I and 2 consist of 3 semester credits unit. Both functional grammar 1 and functional grammar 2 are to be taken by students to complete their study.
As stated in Buku Pedoman Akademik PBS (2004/2005), Functional grammar I and 2 have purpose that is to support the development of ability to speak and write English correctly.
Based on experience and observing in functional grammar classes, analyzing texts is one kind of the process of functional grammar learning. Texts to be analyzed can be taken from authentic material. There are different resources to analyze written texts such as newspaper, magazine, advertisement, etc. While, to analyze spoken texts, the material can be taken from dialogues in the film or novel.
Perception has various defmitions from various angles. Bloom (1956) cited by Elliot et all. (2000), says that “perception is the process or act of perceiving information and making sense of it”.
As stated in New Lexicon Webster International Dictionary of English Language Volume 2 (1997) perception is (1) the act of perceiving, apprehension with the mind or the senses; (2) an immediate of intuitive recorition, as of a moral or esthetic quality; (3) the faculty of perceiving, as distinguished from the act of perceiving. Meanwhile, in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2000),
perception is defined as “an idea, a belief or an image you have as a result of how we see and understand something”.
Still in the discussion about perception, in Winkipedia Encyclopedia, an internet based encyclopedia, “perception is a process that involves selecting, organizing, and interpreting stimuli in our environment”.
Further. HeiTher (2003) explains that “perception refers to interpretation of what we take in through our sense”. He notes that the way we perceive our environment is what makes us different from other animals and different from each other.
From the definitions stated above, the researcher concludes that perception can be thought as each individual’s personal theory of reality, through the process of interpreting and attributing meaning to what he/she observed or experienced.
Briefly, perception refers to view and feeling. Therefore, two kinds of instruments were used for the data collection. They were questionnaire and interview.
Based on the statement of functional grammar purpose, that is to support the development of ability to speak and write English correctly. It means that functional grammar can be applied by English Department students in language skill, speaking in particular. Related to the statement, to measure students’ perception about their ability to apply functional grammar in analyzing text and speaking can be seen from educational objectives goal of cognitive domain (Bloom Taxonomy) in the third level. The third levels are knowledge. comprehension and application.
Ability to Apply
In Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English (1998), ability is a skill, expertness, or talent. Meanwhile in Cambridge International Dictionary (1995) ability is the physical or mental power or skill needed to do something.
As stated in Longman Dictionary of English Language and culture (1998) ability is the fact of having the skill, power or other qualities that are needed in order to do something. While, Bloom (1956) cited in Elliot et all. (2000) proposes classification of educational objectives, related to 1: Cognitive Domain. There are 6 major classes: (1) knowledge — recalling specific facts, (2) comprehension — understanding what is communicated, (3) application — generalizing and using abstract information in !concrete situations, (4) analysis — breaking problem into subparts and detecting relationships among the parts, (5) synthesis — putting together part to form a whole, (6) evaluation — using criteria to make judgments.
Later these categories were revised, as stated by Arend RI (2004), the last two categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy that are synthesis and evaluation were revised to become evaluate and create. To be more details, Arend proposes cognitive process categories into the following. (1) remember — retrieve relevant knowledge from long-term memory, (2) understand — construct from instructional -messages, including oral, written, and graphic communication, (3) apply — carry out or use a procedure in a given situation, (4) analyze — break material into constituent parts and determine how, parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose, (5,) evaluate — make judgment based on criteria and standards, (6) create
— put elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure.
Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, ability to apply occurs after ability to know and to comprehend. Related to the study of identifying English Department students’ ability to apply functional grammar to improve their speaking ability, the inclusion of ability to know or knowledge and ability to comprehend (comprehension) is therefore considered necessary.
In the discussion about speaking, Broomly (1988) explains that “Speaking is an expressive language kill which the speaker symbols to communicate”.
While, Jones (1989) says speaking is a form of communication that has four elements i.e. speaker, receiver (listener), message and channel (communication tools such as, telephone, Internet, letter, face to face interaction, etc).
Still in the discussion about speaking, in communicating, people also produce, sounds, choosing the right form, putting words in the correct order and so forth. This is also supported by W.F. Mackey (in Bygate 1995) who says that in oral expression people not only involve the right sounds, the right pattern of rhythm and intonation but also the choice of words and inflection in the right order to convey the right meaning.
When we speak to other people, it means that we express our ideas or our feelings orally. This statement is supported in Webster Dictionary(1998) “to speak is to express thoughts opinions or feelings orally.
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