International Systemic Functional Linguistics Association

Annual General Meeting

Doshisha University, Kyoto

3 September 2004, 16:30



1        Attendance: Forty conference participants attended the meeting, which was chaired by Geoff Williams.  Apologies: Kathryn Tuckwell, Lynne Young.


2        Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, Lucknow, 2003: were read and accepted.


3        Report on the Current Congress:  by Professor  Masa-aki Tatsuki
The conference was well-attended, with 133 people registered for the entire conference, and an additional 5 or 6 people registered for each day. Two participants were guests of the conference: Kumar Abhishek of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Lucknow Campus, India, and Aderito Jose Guterres Coreia of the Universidade Nacional, East Timor.


4        Future Congresses:


2005, Sydney, Australia:  The convenor is Jim Martin, the location is the University of Sydney, and the dates are 17-22 July.  The conference website is    The theme is:  Discourses of Hope:  Peace – Reconciliation – Learning – Change. Plenary speakers are: Jan Blommaert, Ghent; Terrence Deacon, UC –Berkeley; Yrjo Engestrom, Helsinki; Ghassan Hage, Sydney; Chris Jordens, Sydney; Theo van Leeuwen, Cardiff; Christian Matthiessen, Macquarie; Clare Painter, New South Wales; John Swales, Michigan.  The Wednesday of the conference will be specifically for discussion of language in education.  The congress programme will include both papers and colloquia on key topics.

David Butt announced that there would be a pre-congress institute, sponsored by Macquarie University Centre for Language in Social Life, which will probably be held at the University’s campus in Manly, a seaside suburb.

Christian Matthiessen announced that there will be an SFL Computational group weekend conference at Sydney University on the weekend prior to the congress. 


2006, Catholic University, São Paulo, Brazil: The convenors will offer pre- and post-conference courses, interactive plenaries, panels, papers and posters, breakfast and lunch working sessions, official evening non-working sessions and fun tours for congress delegates’ companions.  The official URL is:

Theme: SFL in Transdisciplinary Dialogue

Dates: Conference: July 17 – 22

Institutes:                    Pre-conference: July 13-15 (Thurs., Fri., Sat.)

Post-conference: July 24-26 (Mon., Tues., Wed.)

The provisional timetable calls for both institutes to run from 9:00 –12:00 and 14:00-17:00).  The conference itself will follow the usual 5 day format, with Wed. free for tours. 

Committees: The following committees are being set up: local organizing committee, national co-organizing committee, and an advisory international committee.

(1)   The local committee is made up of six (Leila Barbara (convenor), Tony Berber Sardinha, Heloisa Collins, Sumiko Ikeda, Rosinda Guerra Ramos, Tania Romero), all PUCSP staff.

(2)   The national co-organizing committee has representatives from all over Brazil, who will help organize the congress and bring visitors whenever possible.

(3)   The advisory international committee: This is being formed and members will act as referees.

Activities: Working breakfast and lunch; tours.

Grants: 10% of fees will go to inviting participants from ‘developing nations’. Criteria for selecting countries or persons who will receive these grants: to be decided. We would like to receive suggestions as to whether Latin American countries should be given priority, and as to whether support should be full or partial.

Funding: This is being arranged. We would appreciate suggestions about guests who might come on their own funds.


2007, Odense, Denmark


2008, Beijing: Fang Yan, Foreign Languages Department, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, reported the initial preparation work of the 35th ISFC 2008.  The important point she made was that our conference co-occurs with the 2008 Olympics, to be held in Beijing.  Since delegates felt that the date of our conference should not be changed, there are considerable logistic problems to be solved.  Fang Yan’s report follows:

Prior to the 31st ISFC, the heads of the Foreign Languages Department of Tsinghua University and myself discussed matters concerning the 35th ISFC 2008 to be held in this university. I will be the convenor, or another person together with me. We think that the convention and boarding would ideally be located on the campus, which is usually possible but could be adjusted later. (As 2008 will also be the year for the Olympic Games, this could become problematic.) We suggested that the time for the congress would be best after the Olympic Games (But the committee of the ISFL Association suggested it in early or mid July, so we shall reconsider it.) We propose that the convention will last for five days including one day for excursion. The first time for calling for papers will be later in 2006. We shall set up an advisory committee, an international organizing committee and a local organizing committee after the 31st ISFC and also a website in 2005. The theme of the congress and the number of keynote speakers will be decided in 2006 or 2007. We shall take into consideration the gender and the region representatives in the world when choosing the keynote speakers. We shall work out the registration fee, which usually includes the meals, and the accommodation fee later according to the living standard in 2008. We have also considered the sources for fundraising: from the Chinese Ministry of Education, from the university and elsewhere. We expect the number of [local] participants should not exceed 400.  (There will be no limit set for the number of international participants.) The working languages will be English and Chinese. We have decided to send one or two scholars to attend the ISFC every year before 2008 so that we can learn from the experiences from the conveners of those congresses. We shall consult with the ISFL Association during the ISFC of 2005, 2006, 2007, and frequently with Committee members of China Functional Linguistics Association.


2009, Sydney (Macquarie University) probably, though to be confirmed next year following further discussions with other emerging national associations


5        Treasurer’s Reports:

a.       Financial support for the Mendoza Conference, April 2004 (Chair)

(A conference report is available on the ISFLA website)

b.      The Nigerian Conference

c.       Australia: Australian Treasurer's Report submitted by Kathryn Tuckwell, (SEE APPENDIX I)

d.      Europe: Australian Treasurer's Report submitted by Robin Fawcett, (SEE APPENDIX II)

e.        North America: Submitted by North American Treasurer, Lynne Young:

“Just to let you know that our account stands as it was in Canada with $2500, money  earned from  ISFC 2001 here at Carleton U. If you need any further information  please let me know.’


6        The Chair reported that he had signed a letter of agreement between ISFLA and the Maria Helena Foundation, Vancouver to manage funds donated by Bernie Mohan for the Marilyn Mohan Scholarship. The terms of the agreement had been discussed by the Committee, which endorsed his action.  Under the agreement it will be possible to provide funding support for 10 years for the Marilyn Mohan Scholar to attend ISFC congresses.  The funds are to be used specifically to support a scholar from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Maldives.)  As reported by Kathryn Tuckwell in  5c. above, a dedicated account has been established at the National Australia Bank, University of Sydney, to manage these funds.  ISFLA is obliged to report annually on the use of the fund to the Maria Helena Foundation. (The agreement is attached here).


7        The Nottingham Series stock of books will soon be available for distribution. Stock has been released and a new location is being arranged.


8        Reports from regional and national associations and conferences:

a.       Japan Professor Hisao Kakehi: Prof. Kakehi welcomed the participants, on behalf of JASFL, which was inaugurated in 1993.


b.      Nigeria (SYSFLAN): Chris Nesbitt represented ISFLA, and the systemic functional perspective, at their 5-day conference, whose theme was ‘Text and its Deconstruction’.  Chris reported on the conference to the meeting through slides and an oral report. The 80 –100 participants represented undergraduate and graduate students from all over Nigeria.
Although the level of scholarship was very high and chapters of SFLA are opening in various Nigerian universities, we should note that scholars are severely hampered by lack of funds to purchase books and lack of internet access at the university.  It was recommended that we publish on our website the addresses to which books can be donated. 
A report on the conference by Dr Gbenga Ibileye, who was unable to send his report to the AGM because of illness, is attached.


c.       People’s Republic of China: Professor Fang Yan (See APPENDIX III)

d.      North America: Dr Michael Cummings: The North American Association has websites, where their activities are posted.  The North American Association tries to meet during other conferences.  In the past year, they organized meetings at the conferences of World Englishes, the Language Society of American and the National Council of Teachers of English.  In 2005, they will meet during AILA in Madison, Wisconsin.  In addition, LACUS (Linguistic Association of Canada and the US) welcomes contributions from SF for their meeting in Dartmouth in 2005.


e.       Europe: Professor Robin Fawcett explained that the European group is organized on a Europe-wide (rather than country-wide) basis, which means that countries that don’t have a large representation have an opportunity to join. Lisbon and Leeds were the venues for recent workshops; the recent workshop in Miraflores, Spain was so well subscribed that many would-be attendees had to be turned away, due to lack of suitable accommodation.  The European organization boasts of a low hierarchy and no membership fee and is also open to other disciplines.  The next workshop will be held at King’s College, London.

f.        Australia: Professor David Butt: Prof. Butt commented on the high standard of papers presented at the ASFLA meeting in July in Brisbane. Sydney hosts weekly Friday afternoon research meetings.   The Centre for Language in Social Life is conducting several research projects using an SFL framework, including the discourse of surgery.


g.       Iran is working towards a national association.


h.       Other associations:  Comments from Christian Matthiessen:

India is organizing several events:

1                    Third International Seminar-cum-Workshop on English Grammar, Guntur Andhra Pradesh, 17-21 December 2005. Website:

2                    International Congress on English Grammar 2 -- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, 27-31 December 2005: Website:


9        Constitutional Amendment:  In order for ISFLA to be eligible for reduced banking fees, the constitution was amended thus: 




ISFLA is a non-profit/not-for-profit organization whose objectives are:


10    A resolution was proposed by the executive committee and, after discussion was amended to (Resolution 1):

Having reviewed the selection pattern for plenary speakers in recent congresses, the congress requests convenors and planning committees of SFL conferences to ensure gender balance and wide geographical representation when selecting plenary speakers, so far as is possible within the exigencies of each congress.

The resolution was accepted by the Meeting.


11    The following resolution was proposed by Michael Cummings and Peter Fries (Resolution 2)

(a) that ISFLA establish web pages on relevant sites (e.g. Mick O’Donnell’s; ASFLA; the Macquarie site) on which to place digital files of dissertations which have been accepted for PhD degrees

(b) that ISFLA encourage all dissertation advisors to recommend strongly to their graduate students to place digital copies of their dissertations on these websites

(c) that ISFLA encourage scholars who have previously been awarded a PhD to place their dissertations on the websites


Michael Cummings added that each university and country may have its own regulations about putting dissertations on the web. Robin Fawcett suggested that selected M.Sc. dissertations might be placed on the web.


This resolution was accepted by the Meeting. 



Respectfully submitted by Beverly Lewin, Recording Secretary, October 2004




Submitted by Kathryn Tuckwell (


a. Details from the ISFLA (Australia) Account, National Australia Bank, Sydney University. All amounts are in AUD, unless otherwise specified:


Balance at September 30, 2003 (as reported at Lucknow AGM)


Total debits (see below)


Original balance minus debits


Total credits


Current balance (as at August 24, 2004)







Dec 22, 2003

Support for Lucknow congress



March 31, 2004

Support for Mendoza conference



April 8, 2004

Reimbursement of USD150 to an ISFC participant who was overcharged for reg.



July 16, 2004

Posters for ISFC2005



July 20, 2004

Support for Nigerian conference*



Entire period

Fees ($20 x 10 months + $3.90 additional transaction costs)



Entire period









* The amount shown here represents contributions from both the Australian and the European accounts, i.e. for the sake of simplicity, the contribution was provided to the travelling scholar as a single cheque drawn on the Australian account, and approximately 500GBP will be reimbursed to the Australian account from the European account. At the current exchange rate, this will represent a credit of approximately AUD1300.


b. Other administrative matters

In last year’s report, I noted that there had been a sudden increase in the fees on the Australian ISFLA account, and that I planned to investigate whether these fees could be reduced. It seems that this can be done by changing the account from a business management account to a community group account, which will approximately halve the fees. To set up this new type of account, the bank needs documentation that the association is non-profit. Hopefully the proposed amendment to the constitution [see 8, below] will provide the necessary documentation, and we will be able transfer the balance of the Australian account to the new type of account by the end of September.


  1. The Marilyn Mohan Scholarship Fund (Chair)  Geoff Williams and I [Kathryn Tuckwell] have recently set up a fixed-term deposit account for the administration of this fund, which is in memory of Marilyn Mohan and her wonderful support for ISFLA’s aims and ideals. Bernie Mohan’s generous cheque of CAD10,000 gives this account an opening balance of AUD10,518.53. In general, this amount will be deposited for 12 months at a time to get the best balance of interest rate and flexibility; disbursements for the Marilyn Mohan Scholarship will be made from the ordinary ISFLA account whenever necessary, and reimbursed to the ISFLA account from the fixed-term account at the end of each 12-month term, before reinvesting the balance for another 12 months. The money has initially been deposited for 90 days to allow the cheque to clear; after that the balance will be redeposited for 6 months so that the date of maturity falls just before the ISFC (in most years), and the balance will then be redeposited for 12 months each year. The signatories for this account are the same as those for the ordinary ISFLA account.



Report by the Treasurer for Europe, Robin Fawcett

September 2003 to August 2004

ISFLA account with Triodos Bank, account no. 03862200

All figures are in GBP, and are extracted from the relevant statements.






30.09 03

Carried forward





Support for Lucknow Congress










Support for Latin America conf














NB A further 500 GBP to be transferred, when I receive instructions on how to make the payment, to support the Nigeria conference.

This will leave us with £5595.16, which is a reduction in our reserves of £1620.47.  In my view this represents good value for money; it is right to use our reserves in this way to help to hold conferences in counties experiencing financial problems (Argentina) and in the developing world (Nigeria and India).


Appendix III: People’s Republic of China Regional Report

Report by: Professor Fang Yan

The influences of SFL have been expanding in China ever since 1989 when the first SFL conference was held in Peking University. From then on, every other year SF linguists gather either for the SFL conference or DA conference, the majority of whose participants mainly adopt the SFL approach. Up to now, eight SFL and eight DA conferences have been held. The subsequent SFL conferences have been held in Suzhou University (1991), Hangzhou University (1993), Peking University (1995, jointly with the 22nd ISFC), Chongqing University (1997), Fudan University (1999), Northeast Normal University (2001) and Yanshan University (2003). The first DA Conference was held in Hangzhou University in 1990, the following ones in Hangzhou University (1992), Luoyang PLA Foreign Languages Institute (1994), Southwest Normal University (1996), Macau University (in 1997, sponsored jointly with Tsinghua University), Sun Yat-sen University (1999), Xiangtan Teachers’ Institute (2000) and Suzhou University (2002).


For the expansion of this linguistics school in China, Chinese SF linguists have been actively involved in spreading the basic ideas and theories of SFL by different institutions located in different places in China. Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Sun Yat-sen University, Xiamen University, China Ocean University. Beijing Normal University have been teaching the course “Introduction to Systemic-Functional Linguistics” since the beginning of the1990’s and the first five are training both MA and PhD students. Some institutions have put in a great effort in organizing either SFL Summer Institute or SFL weeks. Professors Halliday, Hasan, Berry and Ventola were invited to give a series of lectures in the Summer SFL Institute in Tsinghua University in 1995. Over 130 participants coming from ten countries and regions attended the institute, among whom about 100 were Chinese teachers of English and Chinese or students. The successful summer institute promoted a great deal the development of SFL in China. Since 2001, four Systemics Weeks have been held to train young SF linguists and scholars, the first two (2001, 2002) at Sun Yat-sen University, with following meetings co-hosted by Sun Yat-sen University with the City University of Hong Kong (2003), and with Xiamen University (2004).  Each week has attracted over 100 participants, mostly MA and PhD students, from more than 10 universities in China.


The SFL team has seen a greater growth since China Functional Linguistics Association was founded in July, 1995. With the leadership of its former chair Hu Zhanglin and of Huang Guowen since 2003, there has created a healthy and friendly atmosphere among the SFL participants and scholars of other functional schools, which is a favorite environment for expanding its impact in China. With the registered membership of the organization having reached over one hundred and fifty, the association has become one of the largest linguistic associations in China. SFL influences have spread to several metropolitan cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Suzhou, Xiamen and Hong Kong) and over 10 provinces ….). Huang Guowen has set up a website in Sun Yat-sen University:, which has further promoted the exchanges among Chinese scholars and also between Chinese SF linguists and international SF scholars. Due to many reasons (Fang Yan’s report at 29th ISFC at Liverpool), now SFL has become one of the most influential linguistics school in China.


Note: The location for the convention of the 9th DA Conference will be at Shandong University, Jinan, capital of Shandong Province from Oct. 22nd to 24th, 2004, and the 9th SFL Conference in 2005 at Henan University in Kaifeng, Henan Province, one of the ancient capitals in China.