Stepping into Meaning with â€œIskandar J in His Studioâ€: Analysing the Poetry of Edwin Thumboo
Drawing on Edwin Thumbooâ€™s poem, â€œIskandar J in His Studio,â€ I illustrate our methodology for investigating meaning which is based on M.A.K. Hallidayâ€™s Systemic Functional Linguistic theory. A systemic-functional perspective, with its emphasis on the semogenic (â€œmeaning-makingâ€) power of language, provides the ideal handle for investigating Thumbooâ€™s poetry as not only an intentional act of meaning but also as a work of art. A poem, like any other text, is the complex realisation of three kinds of meaning: ideational, interpersonal and textual. Ideational meaning has to do with how we construe our world of experience. Interpersonal meaning has to do with how we use language to relate to those with whom we are speaking. Textual meaning concerns what gives texture to a text. The more cohesive and coherent the text, the greater is its texture.
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