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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934


FIGUEIREDO, Débora. Context, register and genre: Implications for language education. Rev. signos [online]. 2010, vol.43, suppl.1, pp.119-141. ISSN 0718-0934.

This paper explores, from a systemic functional linguistics perspective, the relation among the concepts of 'context', 'register' (Halliday & Hasan, 1989; Halliday, 2004) 'genre' (Martin, 1992, 1997, 2000) and language education. The reason for exploring these concepts is their connection with two notions that have a direct bearing on language teaching/learning: the appropriateness of linguistic forms to achieve specific communicative purposes (linked to the paradigm of analysing language in use) and the relation between text and context. To illustrate and apply the SFL theoretical and analytical resources presented, an exemplar of a reader's letter published by Newsweek magazine is analysed. It is suggested that a functional perspective on language teaching/learning helps students build systematic links between contextual and linguistic parameters when using language, a goal which is facilitated by SFL's view of language as "sets of related choices or options, each of which is called a system" (Painter, 2001: 176). In other words, the notions of register and genre can be used to make students aware of the sociocultural features of the text-type that is being taught and of which linguistic choices are more likely to be made in its textualization, as well as to help teachers "to identify and focus on whatever aspect of language in use the learner needs most help with" (Painter, 2001: 178).

Palabras clave : SFL; context; register; genre; reader's letter.

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