Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) Approach and Sports Texts of the Postgraduate Students at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia


  • Rahmatullah Katawazai Faculty of Languages and Literature, Department of English Language and Literature, Kandahar University, Afghanistan
  • Wali Khan Monib Faculty of Languages and Literature, Department of English Language and Literature, Sheikh Zayed University, Afghanistan
  • Mohammad Sharif Hassanzoy Faculty of Education, English Department, Kunduz University, Afghanistan
  • Ziauddin Quvanch Faculty of Education, English Department, Jawzjan University, Afghanistan
  • Noor Abidah Mohd Omar Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia




Students' Writing, Systematic Functional Linguistics, Transitivity, Process Types,


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the scripts entitled ‘‘Sports’’ in terms of processes used and text type based on (Halliday, 1994) Systemic Functional Linguistic approach. Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is looking into the syntactic structure of a clause based on six processes including material, mental and relational process (major category) and verbal, behavioral, and existential processes (minor category). Forty (40) students of the subject ‘Dynamics of Leadership’ at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia were assigned to write essays about ‘Sports’ in between 300—400 words within thirty (30) minutes and sixteen (16) essays were selected for the analysis. Researchers used mixed-method in order to analyze both quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (descriptive) data. All the collected essays were analyzed and then the percentage of all the six processes has been shown in descriptive statistics and interpreted in tabulations and bar graphs. The findings indicate that the dominant process used in all the scripts was material—doing and happening— and subsequently relational. Focusing more on nominalization, the analyzed manuscripts were found to be wordy.


Afrianto, L. M. I., & Seomantri, Y. S. (2014). Transitivity Analysis on Shakespeare’s Sonnets. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19(1), 78–85. https://doi.org/10.9790/0837-19117885

Bloor, T., & Bloor, M. (2013). The functional analysis of English: A Hallidayan approach. Routledge.

Coffin, C., & Donohue, J. P. (2012). Academic Literacies and systemic functional linguistics: How do they relate? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(1), 64–75.

Eggins, S. (2004). Introduction to systemic functional linguistics: A & C Black.

Gwilliams, L., & Fontaine, L. (2015). Indeterminacy in process type classification. Functional Linguistics, 2(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40554-015-0021-x

Halliday, M. A. K. (1985). Dimensions of discourse analysis: grammar. van Dijk (ed). Handbook of Discourse Analysis, 2, 29–56.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1976). Types of process. Halliday: System and Function in Language, 159–173.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1994). Language as social semiotic. Language and Literacy in Social Practice, 23–43.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3: e uppl.). London: Hodder Education.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2008). An introduction to functional grammar (3rd ed.). London: Edward Arnold/ Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. (2014). An introduction to functional grammar. Routledge.

Hannay, M., & Vester, E. (2013). Working with Functional Grammar: descriptive and computational applications, 13. Walter de Gruyter.

Haratyan, F. (2011). Halliday’s SFL and social meaning. 2nd International Conference on Humanities, Historical and Social Sciences IPEDR, 17, 260–264. http://www.ipedr.com/vol17/49-CHHSS 2011-H10074.pdf

Hasan, R. (2009). The place of context in a systemic functional model. Continuum Companion to Systemic Functional Linguistics, 166-189

Hodgson-Drysdale, T. (2014). Concepts and language: Developing knowledge in science. Linguistics and Education, 27(2), 54-67.

Isti’anah, A. (2014). Transitivity Analysis in Four Selected Opinions about Jakarta Governor Election. Journal of Language and Literature, 14(2), 163–175.

Kaffashi, M., Gowhary, H., Jamalinesari, A., & Azizifar, A. (2015). A Contrastive Study of Relational attributive Clauses in Narrative Texts in English and Persian Based on Halliday (2004). Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 192, 156–165.

Kress, G. (1976). Halliday: System and function in language: Selected papers. London: Oxford UP.

Martin, J. R., & Matthiessen, C. (n.d.). MIM & Painter, C (1997). Working with Functional Grammar. London, Arnold.

Martínez, I. A. (2001). Impersonality in the research article as revealed by analysis of the transitivity structure. English for Specific Purposes, 20(3), 227–247. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0889-4906(00)00013-2

O'Halloran, K. (Ed.). (2004). Multimodal Discourse Analysis: Systemic-Functional Perspectives. Open Linguistics Series. Continuum International Publishing Group.

Sabbachat, A., Mahdi, S., Sumantri, Y. (2014). Material process in transitivity of the English clauses: A functional grammar approach. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 3(5), 58.

Senjawati, D. (2016). Transitivity Analysis of Tenth Grade Students' Recount Texts. Journal of English and Education, 4(1), 1-22.

Steiner, E. (2018). A tribute to MAK Halliday. Lingua, 216, 1–9.

Teich, E. (1999). Systemic Functional Grammar & Natural Language Generation. A&C Black.

Thomas, B., & Meriel, B. (2001). The functional analysis of English: A Hallidayan approach. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Zheng, S., Yang, A., & Ge, G. (2014). Functional Stylistic Analysis: Transitivity in English-Medium Medical Research Articles. International Journal of English Linguistics, 4(2), 12. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v4n2p12




How to Cite

Katawazai, R., Monib, W. K. ., Hassanzoy, M. S. ., Quvanch, Z. ., & Mohd Omar, N. A. . (2021). Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) Approach and Sports Texts of the Postgraduate Students at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Sains Humanika, 13(3). https://doi.org/10.11113/sh.v13n3.1822