The Thought Occurs

The Thought Occurs

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Difference Between Context And Register




POTENTIAL
SUBPOTENTIAL
INSTANCE
CONTEXT
as
culture
subculture = situation type
situation
realised by

realised by
realised by
realised by
LANGUAGE
as
system
register = text type
text



Context and register have different locations in the theoretical architecture of SFL.

Context is a level of symbolic abstraction above language.  Its cline of instantiation extends from culture (potential) to situation (instance).

Register is a functional variety of language, which means:
  • register is a point (of variation) on the cline of instantiation of language (not of context);
  • register is at a lower level of symbolic abstraction than context.

Registers are varying subpotentials of language (text types) that realise varying subpotentials of context (situation types).


The confusion of context and register is widespread in the discourse of SFL.

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