This volume focuses on the relation between theory and description by examining aspects of transitivity in different languages. Transitivity - or case grammar, to use the popular term - has always occupied a centre-stage position in linguistics, not least because of its supposedly privileged relation to states of affairs in the real world. Using a systemic functional perspective, the ten papers in this volume make a contribution to this scholarship by focusing on the transitivity patterns in language as the expression of the experiential metafunction. Through a study of different languages - English, Dutch, German, Finnish, Chinese and Pitjantjatjara - the contributors provide functional descriptions of the various categories of process, their participants and circumstances, including phenomena such as di-transitivity, causativity, the get-passive, etc. With the relation between theories and descriptions running through the ten chapters of this volume as sometimes an overt and sometimes a covert theme, the chapters point to the nature of the linguistic fact which is linked ineluctably on the one hand to the nature of the theory and on the other to the speakers' experience of the world in which they live.
The majority of papers included in the volume derive from the 19th International Systemic Functional Congress at Macquarie University.
1. About the Authors; 2. Theories, Maps and Descriptions: An Introduction; 3. On Grammar and Grammatics (by Halliday, M.A.K.); 4. On the Idea of Theory-neutral Descriptions (by Matthiessen, Christian M.I.M.); 5. Ditransitivity and Possession (by Davidse, Kristin); 6. So Grammarians Haven't the Faintest Idea?: Reconciling grammar and lexis in a systemic functional model of language (by Tucker, Gordon H.); 7. The Semantics of Get-passives (by Downing, Angela); 8. Causation in Dutch and French: Interpersonal aspects (by Degand, Liesbeth); 9. Process Types in Finnish: Implicate order, covert categories, and prototypes (by Shore, Susanna); 10. The Complement in Chinese Grammar: A functional reinterpretation (by McDonald, Edward); 11. Pitjantjatjara Processes: An Australian experiential grammar (by Rose, David); 12. Metalinguistic Diversity: The case from case (by Martin, J.R.)