Proposal for BA Thesis
I，Title: Functional Discourse Analysis of Change Has Come to
America by Barack Obama
In recent years, Systemic Functional Linguistics established by Halliday is adopt to ananlyze discourse substantially. Speeches, as the well built discourse, also be the hot object that people analysis. Barack Obama, who won the 2008 American presidential election, had been the first African-American president. For a long time, he has been a passing fad or even a legend. To some extent, the victory of Obama’s election attributes to the successful speeches. With the admiration of the first black president and the great curiosity of his rigorous speech, the thesis tends to analysis Obama’s victory speech Change Has Come to America by adopting the approach of Functional Discourse Analysis. Functional Discourse Analysis is the subsystem of system-functional linguistics. One of its aim is to discover the relations between discourse and context, or we say that, the relationship between sentences and sentences. Since Obama won the election, his victory speech has been a hot recourse that people analyze, however, the overwhelming majority of thesises are analyzed from an interactional perspective or by the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. In this thesis, functional discourse analysis is undertaken to analyze those utterances expressed by Obama so that we can easily skim for important points or catch the important things that one wants to convey to us. Additionally, by analyzing the Obama’s
victory speech can prove that the method of functional discourse analysis has the practicability and maneuverability and it is a good theory to analyze discourse.
III. Literature Review
Hu zhuanglin, Zhu yongsheng and Zhangdelu(1989,1996) point out that Systemic-Functional linguistics (SFL) is a theory of language centered on the notion of language function. While SFL accounts for the syntactic structure of language; it places the function of language as central (what language does and how it does it), in preference to more structural approaches, which place the elements of language and their combinations as central. SFL starts at social context, and looks at how language both acts upon, and is constrained by, this social context.
Halliday(2000) divided semantics into three components: Ideational Semantics (the propositional content), Interpersonal Semantics (concerned with speech-function, exchange structure, expression of attitude, etc), Textual Semantics (how the text is structured as a message, e.g. theme-structure, given/new, rhetorical structure etc.) Functional semantics thought that naturally language is a systemic semantic net which can provide meaning potential through ideational, interpersonal and textual function. Language communication is not dependent on separated sentences, but on discourse. Discourse is not a grammatical unit over sentences, but a semantic unit.
Halliday and Hasan( Halliday & Hasan 1985), on the other hand, define discourse as the language that is functional. Bounded by context of situation discourse is the realization of
ideational, interpersonal and textual functions. Therefore Halliday treated discourse as metafunctional construct. Halliday thought that discourse functional system can be divided into two kinds: (i) structural system (information structure, information focus, and TR structure); (ii) cohesion system, namely cohesion and coherence. Cohesion represents the surface structure of discourse, and it is a tangible web in the discourse. Coherence represents semantic relationship in the deep structure of discourse, and it is an intangible web in the discourse.
IV. Methods and Materials
Systemic functional semantics recognizes that discourse is not only a processbut a product. That is, discourse is meaningful exchange through the selection of meaningful potential according to social cultural situation. So how to analyze discourse? Halliday and Hasan( Halliday & Hasan 1976) points that analyzing a discourse is not an interpretation but an explanation. There are always two possible layers as to the purpose of discourse analysis. On the lower layer discourse analysis make clear how and why discourse conveys the meaning it wants to. The goal can be achieved if the analysis is based on grammar. On the higher layer discourse analysis can identify in terms of intention whether discourse has the effect, which is more difficult to come true. Any discourse can realize semantic system by the way of the three semantic functions: ideational, interpersonal and textual functions.
In this thesis, i will adopt the higher layer discourse analysis to analyze the discourse Change Has Come to America. Firstly, I will read more materials about functional discourse, the books and the thesis written by authority, maybe they will be written in Chinese or in English. Secondly, I will analyze the thesis written by the authority and adopt the way or the methods that they undertake to make analysis. Finally, I will list out the outline of my thesis and consult my teachers and the excellent collegemates to make my thesis be more precise
V. Outline of the Paper
2.Overview of Functional Discourse Analysis
2.1The Differences between Test and Discourse
2.2What is Functional Discourse Analysis
2.2.1 Definition of Functional Discourse Analysis
2.2.2 Subsystem of Functional Discourse Analysis
18.104.22.168 Theme System
22.214.171.124 Cohesion System
3. Concrete Analysis of Functional Discourse Analysis
3.1Theme Analysis of Change Has Come to America
3.1.1Marked Theme and Unmarked Theme
3.1.2 Simple Theme and Multiple Theme
3.2Cohesion Analysis of Change Has Come to America
nd Halliday, M.A.K. An Introduction to Functional Grammar(2ed.) [M].Beijing: Foreign
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黄国文。语篇分析的理论与实践！广告语篇研究 [M]. 上海！上海外语教育出版社？2001 (澳)韩礼德；Halliday, M.A.K.？？；澳？哈桑；Hasan,R？著，张德禄导读。[M]. 北京！外语教学与研究出版社？2001.10