Functional Linguistics and Contrastive Description
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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This paper briefly surveys grammatical resources in the Australian language Pitjantjatjara, for representing the experience of its speakers, and contrasts these with corresponding resources in English. The focus is on types of grammatical structure, interpreted from the perspective of discourse semantics, using the analytic tools of systemic functional linguistics (SFL). However the field is built up in steps so that no prior knowledge of (SFL) is expected of the reader. The starting point is with types of structure within clauses, for construing experience as configurations of people, things, processes, places and qualities. An ‘orbital’ model is proposed for interpreting these structures. This is the basis for analysing structures that link clauses in series, including types of interdependency and logical relations between clauses. A ‘serial’ model is proposed for interpreting these types of structure. Finally these resources for structuring experience within and between clauses are contextualised in patterns of discourse, using extended text examples.


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