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By Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday, Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen

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But they may perhaps deceive others, encouraging them to believe that there is some disjunction between datagathering and theorizing. ** Of course, new data from the corpus will pose problems for any theory, systemic theory included — as Jones said, ‘a science without difficulties is not a science at all’ (Jones, 1999: 152). But such data will not contribute towards raising our understanding unless cultured by stock from within the pool of theoretical knowledge. We emphasize this because there was a strong current of anti-theoretical ideology in late twentieth century thinking, at least in certain intellectual domains.

Land, country tree ... jacaranda, mimosa say ... hesitation country ... beautiful The measure of collocation is the degree to which the probability of a word (lexical item) increases given the presence of a certain other word (the node) within a specified range (the span). This can be measured in a corpus. Suppose, for example, the word season occurs 1000 times in the corpus of ten million words: this would give it a certain overall probability of occurrence. But it might be found that, given the node change and a span of ±4 (that is, four words on either side), the probability of season occurring went up to a significant extent.

More significantly, however, they have more strata in them. The ‘content’ expands into two, a lexicogrammar and a semantics (cf. Halliday, 1984a; Halliday and Matthiessen, 1999). This is what allows the meaning potential of a language to expand, more or less indefinitely. The reason for this can best be explained in terms of the functions that language serves in human lives. We use language to make sense of our experience, and to carry out our interactions with other people. This means that the grammar has to interface with what goes on outside language: with the happenings and conditions of the world, and with the social processes we engage in.

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