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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2024
Print publication year:
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Book description

Taking a Systemic Functional Linguistic perspective, this book explores how language builds our knowledge about the past and gives value to historical events, thereby shaping contemporary culture. It brings together cutting-edge research from an international team of scholars to provide a detailed study of texts from three different world languages (English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese) – revealing how the discourse of history is constructed in these languages. Each chapter provides examples and step-by-step analyses of how knowledge and value are constructed in history texts, drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics to develop theory and description in relation to text analysis. It also makes connections with disciplinary literacy and history education, showing how linguistic findings can benefit the teaching and learning of historical literacy. Providing theoretical and analytical foundations for studies of the discourse of history, it is essential reading for anyone interested in literacy, discourse analysis, and language description.


‘This volume explores the discourse of history across three languages (English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese), focusing on the role played by history in shaping culture from a systemic functional linguistic perspective. Written by an impressive team of scholars, the chapters approach the disciplinary knowledge of history with respect to its distinctive choices of language features and provide new linguistic understandings of historical genres. A must-read for anyone interested in systemic functional linguistics, discourse analysis and history education.'

Chang Chenguang - Professor of Linguistics, Sun Yat-sen University, China

‘This book is a treasure trove of understandings of the construction of school history across languages, cultures and educational contexts. The meaning-based approach used makes explicit not just the construction of history as field, but also how values, emotions and voices in texts and classroom discussions reveal positionings towards events in both past and present cultural contexts. It is an invaluable resource for researchers and teachers of history, and for anyone wanting to know how an informed and critical view of history discourse can be cultivated.'

Anne McCabe - Associate Professor, Saint Louis University, Madrid Campus, Spain

‘This volume offers new ways of analyzing language that draw on frameworks developed over the past two decades, providing a substantive update on the study of historical and educational discourses informed by systemic functional linguistics. New insights on ideational meaning and its interaction with interpersonal meaning are a key strength of the volume.'

Mary J. Schleppegrell - Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

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