April 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm Tinggalkan komentar


1.1 General Background of the Study

Even though they come from different field, linguistics studies and literary studies are assumed to be connected in certain respects as intellectual disciplines. Linguistics, as the scientific study of language, necessarily “covers all aspects and uses of language, and all styles” (Hill, 1969: 196); or “an aspect of the study of language” (Halliday, 1985:4). This means that linguistics concerns with the way people use language and with how the various components of language function.

As we know, language is not only used in our everyday live, but it might also be presented in the form of a text. This text varies from just a short letter to a longer written forms presented in books and papers. Halliday (1985:11) proposed the definition of text as “an object in its own right; it may be a highly valued object, such as literature”. Literature, then, as defined by Rees (1973: 2) “is the written form of language, which expresses and communicates thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards life”. Literature comprises a number of particular uses and styles, forms and important. Those uses, styles and forms are also “a valuable part of the linguistics material in the study of a particular language”, as stated by
Robins (1980: 311).

Koesnosoebroto quotes Tzvetan Todorov (1988: 1) that “Literature is a kind of extension and application of certain properties of language”. He also says that the “literary work is a verbal work of art”. Robins (1980: 312) adds that literature, as work of art, is “the product of intuition”. He also gives an opposing idea that literature besides the work of art is also “the work of language” (1980:
313). As the work of language, it can be analyzed its interpretation within the scope of its elements and as a text of written language using certain theories of linguistics. The linguistics approach will deepen the appreciation of literary work itself, and also the artistic uses of language. The application of linguistics may expect to be able to penetrate into the component of language that great authors and poets have unconsciously seized on and molded into works of literary art.

Brown and Olmsted (1962: 139) divide literature into three forms: ‛poetry, fiction and drama”. Among other forms of literature, poetry is considered to have unique feature. It is assumed to be the most concentrated and condensed form of literature. It is called so since it is simpler, both in length and construction, but more sophisticated in style of language. The style of language of poetry is in the poet’s hand. It is usual that we sometimes meet the unusual language in unusual word constructions. But poets do things for a reason. If the structure of the poem is screwed up, it is generally because the poet is “trying to emphasize something” (Chatman, 1968: 18).

Many studies have done in the issue of poetry interpretation, whether based on literary interpretation or from its elements point of view, and on literary critics. In interpreting a poem, we need to consider how words mean or the sense of words since in poetry most words have more than one sense. The sense of a word is “the specific meaning it has in a given context” (Chatman, 1968: 3). Along with this, Halliday said that any text is “an instance of social meaning in a particular context of situation” (1985:11). In other words, a text is the product of its environment, a product of its context.

A text may have rhetorical, sociological and historical background of setting inside of it as found in drama and novel to support the understanding of the meaning and the message expressed by the writer. But some are not, as poetry. In poetry, the text itself is the primary source for such information. To determine the meaning within a given context, there is no way of making explicit one’s interpretation of the meaning of a text without the theory of linguistics, which is the theory of wording or grammar.

Taken generally, linguistics theories are created to explain and explore something about the nature of language, including how language is used in social context, and texts (including the Sonnet XVIII text) provide the data for such exploration. Linguistics therefore offers analytical tools that are appropriate to identifying and organizing texts in a systemic way as a step towards the process of interpretation.

Linguistics could be useful for the Sonnet XVIII interpreter by compensating for the interpreter’s lack of native familiarity with the language of the Sonnet XVIII. One who has an ability in a living language knows how to do hings with the resource of that language, how to communicate, how to accomplish certain tasks in concrete communicative contexts. Such a person also has an ability to recognize what others are doing in their use of the language. Linguistics offers to the interpreter a way acquiring explicitly at least in part what people once possessed implicitly by living in the social context of the language of the texts. This ability is not like the ability of a knowledgeable soccer fan who can recognize and talk about the rules, good or bad shoot, player’s performance, etc. It is instead like the knowledge of a well-trained soccer player who knows how to play the game from years of repetition, and who recognize moves not in order to talk about them but so as to be able to react, seemingly without effort. Linguistics offers the interpreter the opportunity to become an educated play-by-play commentator or analyst, describing and explaining what the producer of the text did by means of implicit knowledge and without explicit analysis. In the process, this text-oriented discipline has the potential to provide the interpreter with the resource to predict what aspects of the context are embedded in the texts, as well as the method for determining how to look for them.

Functional Grammar is one of the several theories in the current disciplines of linguistics that suits the purpose of Sonnet XVIII interpreter which conceive of text as social interaction, by systematically examining text in terms of the ways in which the language of the texts functions, and in the ways in which the functions relate to context. In other words, it is not only for increasing the interpreter’s understanding of the language of the text to be interpreted, but also for relating those texts into their context. Functional linguists view language as system of meaning potential in human interactions that are realized by various structures.

Martin, Matthiessen and Painter (1997: 3) states that “Functional Grammar is a method of analyzing text, not for correcting what is referred to as grammatical errors”. Rather, it provides us with tools for understanding why a text is the way it is, and it is also “a grammar that respects speaker’s rights about what they choose to say and in what forms they choose their style of language” (1997: 4). It is as Halliday said that the main purpose of writing the Introduction of Functional Grammar is “to provide a general grammar for purposes of analysis and interpretation” (1994: 1).

The unit assumed to be the most important in Functional Grammar is
“clause” (Thompson 1996: 21, Martin, Matthiessen and Painter, 1997: 5, Robins
1980: 282). Even if there is only one words builds one sentence, it is viewed as “one sentence constructed by single clause, single phrase and single word” (Robins, 1980: 283). The analysis of clauses within the Functional Grammar is realized in “three levels of functional perspective, Ideational, Interpersonal, and Textual” (Halliday 1994:34, Martin, Matthiessen and Painter 1997: 5, Thompson
1996: 32). All meanings expressed in the three levels of functional perspective are situated “in context of situation or Register, and context of culture or Genre” (Halliday 1985:12, Gerot and Wignell 1994: 10). The context of situation is embodied in those three metafunctions: “the ideational meaning reflects the field discourse, the tenor is expressed through the interpersonal, the mode of discourse is expressed through the textual” (Halliday 1985: 25). Then the context of situation creates the context of culture, “a broader background against which the text has to be interpreted” (Halliday, 1985:46).

The analysis of the Metafunction, Context of Situation and Context of Culture in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet XVIII” is applied in the clauses of William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet XVIII”, based on the Functional Grammar introduced by Halliday. With this analysis, I would like to share ideas concerning the Sonnet XVIII interpretation. Hopefully, by interpreting poetry or other works from linguistic approach will improve our better understanding both in literature and linguistics.

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Entry filed under: Pendidikan, Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris.

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