Participants and projection in verbal processes in Spanish: a systemic analysis of academic student genres

Natalia Ignatieva, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México


Natalia Ignatieva, 2014: "Participantes y proyección en los procesos verbales en español: un análisis sistémico de géneros académicos estudiantiles", Onomázein Número Especial IX ALSFAL, 08-20.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.alsfal.7

The aim of this paper is to present a systemic functional analysis of verbal processes, the associated participants and their projecting characteristics
in academic language. This work forms part of the research study developed at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), which, in turn, is included in the international project Systemics Across Languages
(SAL). The analyzed student texts were collected at the Faculty of Arts of the UNAM and they form part of the Corpus of Academic Language in Spanish (CLAE, 2009). The texts that were taken for the present analysis belong to one area (literature) and three distinct genres: question-answer, essay and review. The theoretical bases of this study are rooted in a systemic
functional perspective (Halliday, 2004), particularly, in the conceptual framework of transitivity. The analysis begins with the calculation of requency of verbal processes in our corpus. This, in turn, is followed by the identification of participants in the distinct types of verbal clauses. First, verbal process frequency in our corpus is determined and participants in distinct types of verbal clauses are identified. Then the most important participant in the verbal clause (Sayer) is explored in more detail. A special emphasis is also given to the participant expressing a message of the verbal act, i.e. the Verbiage. Similarly, projecting characteristics of the most frequent processes
in the student texts are examined. The results of the study show that there is a significant variation among the verbal process percentages in each genre
under analysis. On the other hand, different forms of expressing “who says” and “what is said” contribute to generic distinctions of the student texts as well.