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Cardiff Symposium 2017

Influences and Opportunities

In honour of Professor Robin Fawcett

January 12-13 2017

The Cardiff Symposium – Influences and Opportunities – was organised in order to celebrate not only Professor Robin Fawcett’s 80th birthday but also to acknowledge the huge contribution he has made to Systemic Functional Linguistics and to linguistics at Cardiff University.  In the spirit of what it was like to spend time with Robin at Cardiff University, we decided to host an event that prioritizes discussion and exchange.  I’ve put together an annotated version of our programme with a few photos as a record of the event.

This event was possible with the help and support of the Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy and we are grateful to the School for both financial and moral support.

We have put together a growing archive of books and papers related to the Cardiff model of language, often referred to as the Cardiff Grammar – you can find it here.

The slides and/or handouts related to each talk described below will be added as they become available.

The talk by Prof Chris Butler was recorded and you can view it below – [jump down to the video]

To jump down to the Slides for the computational linguistics session, click here

Day 1, Jan 12th

12:30pm – 2pm: Lunch – Aberdare Hall














2pm – 4pm: Workshop on system networks

Chair: Lise Fontaine

We held a two-hour session on system networks. The discussions in the workshop on system networks were very intense but positively so.  They were also very productive. We spent two hours in small groups discussing and debating specific questions related to system networks including what role they have (or should have) in the theory, how they are used (or can be used), what counts as evidence and their place in the future of SFL.








4.00 – 4.30:  Coffee break

You might wonder why I’m including the coffee break in this record of the symposium – well, it’s because it featured the wonderful cheesecakes by The Cheesecake Diary – White Chocolate & Lime Cheesecake, Strawberry & Chocolate Cheesecake, and Cucumber & Chocolate Cheesecake.


4.30 – 6.00:  Plenary lecture

Chair: Gordon Tucker

Influences and opportunities in the development of the Cardiff Model of Language and its Use : a personal and communal story covering past, present and future

Robin Fawcett



Robin gave a very interesting account of his career development with a beautiful analogy from geology science.  Following his talk, he was presented with a Japanese translation of his book, Invitation to Systemic Functional Linguistics (3rd edition), which Hiroshi Funamoto translated for Robin himself. It took him two years to complete this. It is a beautiful volume and he has very kindly donated a copy to us for our library.

7.00pm: Dinner reception at Y Dosbarth / The Classroom






Programme Day 2, Jan 13th

10am – 12:

Computational Linguistics theme: Influences and opportunities

Chair: Mick O’Donnell

  • Eugen Costezki: Implications of the Cardiff grammar on parsing clause boundaries, predicates, processes and configurations. (slides: presentation)



  • Victor Castel: A view of the Cardiff Model of SFL from natural language generation
    (Please download to view this file correctly: handout)


  • Open discussion on key questions related to this theme (50-60 minutes)





12.00 – 2:00: Lunch John Percival coffee shop

Sorry no photos were taken at lunch!

2.00 – 4.00: Lexicogrammar theme:

Chair: Jonathan Webster


  • Gordon Tucker: Lexis as most delicate grammar or grammar as most general lexis (20-25 minutes)


  • Hei We: The construction of the transitivity system of Chinese based on the Cardiff Grammar (20-25 minutes)


  • Open discussion on key questions related to this theme (60 minutes)



4.00 – 4.30: Coffee break John Percival coffee shop

No photos here either, we were all too busy!

4.30 – 5.30:  Plenary lectureRoom 3.45 John Percival Building

Chair: Margaret Berry

The Cardiff Grammar in the wider functional-cognitive context

Chris Butler


Chris Butler’s talk was recorded and is available here:

Or if you prefer you can watch the video by clicking here.

5.30 – 6.15: Closing panel discussionRoom 3.45 JP Bldg

Chair: Erich Steiner



7pm: Evening meal at I Giardini Di Sorrento.