Systemic functional linguistics applied to analyze L2 speech acts: Analysis of advice-giving in a written text

Naoko Taguchi, Loretta Fernández, Yuechun Jiang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This study explores the application of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) to the analysis of second language (L2) speech acts. We illustrate how SFL helps us go beyond the traditional approach of coding isolated speech act forms by holistically analyzing the meaning making process. Twenty-two Chinese students studying English at a university in Beijing completed a writing task in which they read a personal problem described by a hypothetical peer and provided advice to the peer in writing. Participants’ advice-giving texts were analyzed both at the utterance and discourse level. The utterance-level analysis involved a focus on form, coding and categorizing linguistic forms of advicegiving based on the existing coding framework (Martínez Flor 2003). The textlevel, SFL-informed analysis involved a focus on meaning, analyzing individual clauses to examine the interpersonal meaning of the text as an exchange between the person who seeks advice and the person who gives advice. The text-level analysis involved two levels. At the lexical-grammatical level, we conducted a Mood analysis, while at the discourse-semantics level we completed an Appraisal analysis. These two approaches generated complementary information about L2 advicegiving ability in a written text.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Second Language Pragmatics
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783110721775
ISBN (Print)9783110721638
StatePublished - Feb 22 2021


  • Advice giving
  • Assessment
  • Pragmatics
  • Speech act
  • Systemic functional linguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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