Professor James Robert Martin
Professor James Robert Martin is one of leading figure in the field systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and well-known for his work in educational linguistics on genre-based literacy programs (the 'Sydney School'). Born in 1950 in Canada, he has studied linguistics in many well-known universities – York University, University of Toronto, University of Essex and University of Sydney.
is one of leading figure in the field systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and well-known for his work in educational linguistics on genre-based literacy programs (the 'Sydney School'). Born in 1950 in Canada, he has studied linguistics in many well-known universities – York University, University of Toronto, University of Essex and University of Sydney.
In 1976, the Department of Linguistics (University of Sydney) was founded. Martin completed his PhD research there in 1977, and joined its teaching and research staff in 1978. Prof. Martin and his colleagues have made endless efforts to make this Department a prestigious academic teaching and research centre worldwide, especially in the field of systemic functional linguistics.
He served as Head of Department of Linguistics in the period of 1986-1987 and 2007-2008. In 2013 he was appointed Chair Professor at School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and Director of the Martin Centre in this University.
His research interests include systemic functional linguistics, systemic functional grammar, discourse semantics, register, genre, multimodality and critical discourse analysis, forensic linguistics and social semiotics. He has collaborated with many other well-known linguists, including Michael Gregory, Henry Allan 'Al' Gleason, Michael Halliday, Christian Matthiessen and Ruqaiya Hasan.
One of the most important contributions of Prof. Martin is discourse semantic theory. In developing this model of discourse structure, Martin was particularly influenced by H.A. Gleason's stratificational linguistics, Ruqaiya Hasan's text semantics, and Michael Halliday's systemic functional linguistics. Discourse semantics describes the organisation of texts with respect to the three metafunctions of language - interpersonal, ideational and textual. According to Martin, texts do not simply consist of clauses, groups/phrases, words and morphemes, but have structure beyond the clause. Martin models meaning beyond the clause as a distinct stratum of language, realised through lexicogrammar and phonology. His discourse semantic systems are organised by metafunction – ideation and conjunction (construing ideational meanning), negotiation and appraisal (enacting interpersonal meaning) and identification and periodicity (composing textual meaning).
Prof. Martin, working closely with Dr. Peter White, is one of the pioneering scholars to establish and develop Appraisal analysis. Appraisal is an approach focusing on describing how language uses feelings to negotiate interpersonal relationships. It is oriented towards uncovering a speaker or writer's stance and the ways in which texts align with a potential or real reader/listener.
Professor Martin was elected a fellow the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1998. He was appointed as Associate Professor from 1990 to 1999, and as Professor from 2000, at the University of Sydney. He is also awarded a Centenary Medal for his services to Linguistics and Philology in 2003.
Thanks to the encouragement of Prof. Len Unsworth, Dr Thu N and Dr Peter White, Prof. Martin has begun to engage with linguistic and applied linguistic research in Vietnam. In 2015, he presented his paper "Systemic Functional Linguistics: Language as social semiotic" at the plenary session of the Second International Conference on the Linguistics of Vietnam hosted by Vietnam Institute of Linguistics. In 2015, Prof. Martin also made a presentation on Forensic Linguistics under the title "Exploring restorative justice: dialectics of theory and practice" at the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences. He has also helped with making connections between Vietnam Institute of Linguistics and many other international scholars. Thank to his efforts, some leading researchers in the region, including Prof.Dr. Chang Chenguang (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China), Prof.Dr Wang Zhenhua (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) and Prof.Dr Jonathan Webster (City University of Hong Kong) among others accepted invitations and supported the Vietnam Institute of Linguistics in organising the 2015 Conference.
His acceptance to attend in the Third International Conference “Modern linguistic trends and language studies in Vietnam” (hosted by Vietnam Institute of Linguistics on 22nd
April, 2017) and to host the “Discourse Semantics” workshops at the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences between 17th
April, 2017 and 20th
April, 2017, is a valuable opportunity for academic exchanges among Vietnamese researchers and RHD students. In the current circumstance, where issues relating to quality improvement in postgraduate training, international publication, cooperation and integration have received a special attention from the whole society, his attendance in this series of academic events is a tremendous encouragement and support.