Unconventional Opposition in Discourse: From the Perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistics

Wenxiu Song


Writers construct two entities or events as opposites in specific context by using language resources realizing semantic opposition, such as antonyms, parallel structure and conjunction for adversity. The construction of such temporary opposites (unconventional opposition) facilitates the presentation of writer’s stance and strengthens the interaction between the writer and readers. From Systemic Functional Linguistics, this study analyzes the ideational, interpersonal and textual meaning of unconventional opposition in discourse. It is found that the insertion of the opposite participants and process types in the current field contributes to demonstrate the ideational meaning of the discourse topic more fully, thus facilitating readers’ understanding; in the respect of interpersonal meaning, the opposite meaning triggered by negation can exclude the readers’ possible expectations while that triggered by attitudinal resources helps to negotiate appraisal meanings with readers, that is, affect, judgment of social behavior or appreciation of product; in the sense of textual meaning, unconventional opposition assigns a reader-friendly text structure, information flow and cohesion mechanism.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jsel.v8i1.16159


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