'Coffin's functional linguistics perspective provides a rigorous and comprehensive analysis of the texts of secondary school history, both those that students read and those they need to learn to write. This is an original and welcome contribution to debates about how to develop students' historical understanding' - Professor Mary Schleppegrell, University of Michigan. 'This book makes a major contribution to the study of historical discourse and while it will be of interest to teachers of history, it will in addition be of considerable interest to those who work in discourse studies generally- linguists, applied linguists and educational linguists.' - Frances Christie, Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne and Honorary Professor, University of Sydney. "Historical Discourse" analyses the importance of the language of time, cause and evaluation in both texts which students at secondary school are required to read, and their own writing for assessment.
In contrast to studies which have denied that history has a specialised language, Caroline Coffin demonstrates through a detailed study of historical texts, that writing about the past requires different genres, lexical and grammatical structures. In this analysis, language emerges as a powerful tool for making meaning in historical writing. Presupposing no prior knowledge of systemic functional linguistics, this insightful book will be of interest to researchers in applied linguistics and discourse analysis, as well as history educators.
Dr Caroline Coffin is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication at the Open University, UK.
1. History as academic discipline; 2. The systemic functional linguistic approach to discourse analysis; 3. The role of the recording genres; 4. The role of the explaining and arguing genres; 5. Learning historically valued representations of time; 6. Building different types of causal explanations;. Responding to, judging and assessing past events; 8. Educational implications and applications; Glossary of technical terms; References.