Language as a social semiotics (Michael Halliday – 1978


Language as a social semiotic • Sociosemiotic theory of language Elements  * the Text the Situation the text variety or Register the Code the Linguistic system ( and the semantic system) the Social Structure .

not composed of them • The Text is a semantic unit (meaning). it is the basic unit of the semantic process. .Text • • Text as a «Supersentece» Sociolinguistics perspective  Text as enconded in sentences. Text represents choice (what is meant) Text as actualized «meaning potential» Meaning potential  paradigmatic range of semantic choice Context of situation / Context of culture Meaning Potential  range of options that is characteristic of a specific situation type or social context.

Situation • It is the environment in which the text comes to life • «Context of situation» (it influences in the text) Situational type Social context Semiotic structure Semiotic structure –> meanings deriving from the semiotic system that constitute culture Semiotic structure Field Tenor Mode .

E.student boyfriend – girlfriend (different social contexts  different registers) . that constitutes the variety to which a text belongs. • We choose words in relation to the particular environmental conditions we are inserted in.g: teacher .Register • It is a particular selection of words and structures • It involves the selection of meaning (not just structure).

Code • The choice of meaning by a speaker and their interpretation by a hearer • Types of social semiotic. or symbolic orders of meaning generated by the social system • The society agrees to use a certain code in order to achieve a more complex system of communication (Languages) .

The linguistic system Semantic system Sociolinguistic context Metafunctions Interpersonal Ideational Textual Text .

forming potential it makes language relevant relation of the Language to its environment including verbal environment and non-verbal environment Clause  ideational – transitivity interpersonal – mood / modality textual . Textual  speaker text.1.theme . Ideational  Experimental / Logical Speaker as an observer Language as «about something» Relations of the world / environment 2. Interpersonal  speaker as an intruder Language as «doing something» speaker into the context of situation (expressing/ influencing) relation with the situation 3.

textual 3. Semantics of situations types  The selection of words in relation to the social context (taking into consideration the addresse – e. Sociosemantics of Language development  « a child learning his mother tongue is learning how to mean»  the meaning is based on social functions (semiotic environment) . field – ideational tenor – interpersonal mode .g: mother – son).A sociolinguistic view of semantics 1. The relation of the situation to the semantic system  the situation type (social context) is constructed of field – mode – tenor (semiotic construct). This is called «semantic network» 2.

social boundaries.Sociolinguistic theory • • The text is the linguistic form of social interaction. differences between animal/human behaviour. Meanings (text)  the selections made from the options that constitute the meaning potential (semantic choice) • • The text is embedded in a context of situation (social context) The Semiotic structure of the situation is formed out of three sociosemiotic variables of field – tenor – mode (they represent the type of activity in which the text has significant function) • The semiotic components of the situation (field – mode – tenor) are systematically related to the functional components of the semantics (ideational – interpersonal – textual) • • The semantic system of language is a realization of the social semiotic It is through language that we are able to know about social rules. • «through language culture is transmitted to the child» .