HALLIDAY, Michael A. K.

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HALLIDAY, Michael A. K. [b. 1925]. English linguist and grammarian, born in Leeds, Yorkshire, into an academic family; his father, Wilfred J. Halliday (1889–1975), after retiring as a headmaster, played a major part in compiling material for the North of England in Harold Orton's Survey of English Dialects. The younger Halliday studied Chinese language and literature at the U. of London and LINGUISTICS at graduate level, first in Beijing and Guangzhou (Canton), then at Cambridge (Ph.D. 1955). In 1963, he was named to lead the Communication Research Centre at the U. of London, directing two influential projects: a description of scientific English, and a study of children's language that led eventually to Breakthrough to Literacy, his method of teaching children to read. In 1965 he became Professor of General Linguistics at London, in 1970 Professor of Linguistics at the U. of Illinois in Chicago, and in 1976 Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the U. of Sydney, where he remained until retirement in 1987.

Halliday's contributions to the study of English have been varied. For the past quarter-century he has set the agenda for applications of linguistics, as proposed with Peter Strevens and Angus McIntosh in The Linguistic Sciences and Language Teaching (1964). His interests include first-and second-language acquisition, poetics, artificial intelligence, linguistic disorders, discourse analysis, text linguistics, semiotics, speech, and English grammar. In the last of these fields, contributions include Intonation and Grammar in British English (1967), Cohesion in English (1976, with Ruqaiya Hasan), and An Introduction to Functional Grammar (1985). The theory he espouses, currently known as systemic grammar and systemic linguistics, has an orientation towards applications. ‘The value of a theory,’ he has declared, ‘lies in the use that can be made of it.’ The approach emphasizes the functions of language in use, particularly the ways in which social setting, mode of expression, and REGISTER influence selections from a language's systems: ‘Meaning is a product of the relationship between the system and its environment.’

In his work on English texts, Halliday has asserted the unity of syntax and lexicon in a lexicogrammar, collapsing the usual distinction between GRAMMAR and DICTIONARY. Meanings are expressed through three interrelated functions: the ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual. Messages combine an organization of content deployed according to the expressive and receptive needs of speaker/authors and listener/readers within conventions of discourse organization. Language users make a series of choices drawn from the meaning potential of their language as they express themselves; it is the task of the linguist to describe those choices as they are shaped by individual minds and social context.

Craxton, Janet

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Craxton, Janet (b London, 1929; d London, 1981). Eng. oboist. Daughter of Harold Craxton. Prin. ob. Hallé Orch. 1949–52, London Mozart Players 1952–4, BBC SO 1954–63, London Sinfonietta from 1969. Prin. oboe, Royal Opera Orch., 1980–1. Also frequent soloist and recitalist. Gave f.p., with Wilfred Brown (ten.), of Vaughan Williams's 10 Blake Songs, 1958. Prof. of ob. RAM.

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