FIGURE and GROUND in the construal of motion: A registerial perspective

Abhishek Kumar Kashyap, Martin Christian Matthias I Matthiessen

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the specific kind of spatial details that are given attention in the construal of motion in different registers. Essentially, we examine six text types from four registers-differentiated in terms of field of activity into enabling, expounding, recreating, and reporting. We use a functional registerial approach developed within systemic functional linguistics and show that each register has its own preferences in terms of what they construe when they construe motion in the texts that are centrally concerned with location in, and motion through, space. To meet our objectives, we analyze the transitivity functions assigned to two types of spatial components, the figures of motion and the associated circumstantial elements known as ground (e.g. Source, Destination, and Place). We quantify each registers preferences in terms of frequency of occurrences of each spatial element. The findings in this study reveal that specific choices made in the text are guided by the texts functional need with respect to the construal of motion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-91
Number of pages30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • FIGURE of motion
  • Functional text typology
  • GROUND of motion
  • Motion
  • Register
  • Registerial cartography
  • Space
  • Transitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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