Stepping into Meaning with “Iskandar J in His Studio”: Analysing the Poetry of Edwin Thumboo

Authors

  • Jonathan Webster, City University of Hong Kong

Abstract

Drawing on Edwin Thumboo’s poem, “Iskandar J in His Studio,†I illustrate our methodology for investigating meaning which is based on M.A.K. Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistic theory. A systemic-functional perspective, with its emphasis on the semogenic (“meaning-makingâ€) power of language, provides the ideal handle for investigating Thumboo’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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Author Biography

Jonathan Webster, City University of Hong Kong

Jonathan Webster is Professor in the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, and Founding Director of The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies at City University of Hong Kong. He is the Editor of the journal Linguistics and the Human Sciences (Equinox), Co-editor of the Journal of World Languages (Routledge, Taylor & Francis), and Managing Editor of WORD (International Linguistic Association). He is also the Editor of the eleven volume series, The Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday.  

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Published

2013-12-15

How to Cite

Webster, City University of Hong Kong, J. (2013). Stepping into Meaning with “Iskandar J in His Studio”: Analysing the Poetry of Edwin Thumboo. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 7(2), 279–298. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/331

Issue

Section

Articles on Edwin Thumboo