July 11, 2019

Michael Halliday is a British linguist and teacher.

Michael Halliday Quick Facts


  • Birth Name: Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday
  • AKA: M.A.K. Halliday
  • Date of Birth: 13 April 1925
  • Place of Birth: Leeds, Yorkshire, England
  • Zodiac Sign: Aries
  • Date of Death: 15 April 2018
  • Died at Age: 93
  • Place of Death: Sydney, Australia
  • Place of Burial: NA
  • Cause of Death: Natural causes
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Nationality: British
  • Father: Wilfred Halliday
  • Mother: Winifred Halliday  née Kirkwood
  • Spouse(s):
  1. Trenchu Wong (m. 1947)
  2. Irene (‘Pat’) Woolf (m. 1952)
  3. Anne McLaren
  4. Brenda Stephen (m. 1961)
  5. Ruqaiya Hasan (1931–2015) (m. 1967)
  • Children:
  1. By Woolf: Son- Andrew Daughter- Polly
  2. By Ruqaiya Hasan: Son - Neil
  3. By Anne McLaren: Daughter- Caroline
  4. By Brenda Stephen: Daughter- Clare
  • Alma Mater: University of London; Peking University; University of Cambridge.
  • Michael Halliday is Known for: developing Systemic Functional Linguistics
  • Michael Halliday is criticized for: NA
  • Michael Halliday was influenced by: Vilém Mathesius (Prague school) Wang Li, J.R. Firth, Benjamin Lee Whorf
  • Michael Halliday’s Works Inspired: Ruqaiya Hasan, C.M.I.M. Matthiessen, J.R. Martin, Norman Fairclough

Career History

  • 1954–1958: Assistant Lecturer in Chinese, Cambridge University
  • 1958–1963:Lecturer in General Linguistics and Reader, University of Edinburgh
  • 1963–1970: Director of Communication Research Center, University College, London
  • 1964: Linguistic Society of America Professor, Indiana University
  • 1965–971: Professor of Linguistics, UCL
  • 1972–1973: Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
  • 1973–1974: Professor of Linguistics, University of Illinois
  • 1974-1975: Professor of Language and Linguistics, Essex University
  • 1976–1987: Foundation Professor of Linguistics, University of Sydney
  • 1988: Emeritus Professor of University of Sydney


  • Philological Society (United Kingdom)
  • Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States
  • Linguistic Society of America
  • Australian Linguistics Society.
  • Applied Linguistics Association of Australia


“It is part of the task of linguistics to describe texts, and all texts, including those prose or verse, which fall within any definition of literature and are accessible to analysis by the existing methods of linguistics.” - Michael Halliday, The Linguistic Sciences and Language Teaching

Major Works

The linguistic sciences and language teaching (1964)
Intonation and Grammar in British English (1967)
A course in spoken English (1970)
Explorations in the functions of language (1973)
Language and Social Man (1974)
Learning how to Mean: Explorations in the Development of Language (1975)
Halliday: System and Function in Language: Selected Papers (1976)
Cohesion in English (1976)
Language as a Social Semiotic (1978)
Lexical Cohesion (1979)
Readings in Systemic Linguistics (1981)
Learning Asian Languages (1986)
An Introduction to Functional Grammar (1985)
Spoken and Written Language (1985)
New Developme5nts in Systemic Linguistics: Theory and application (1988)
Language, Context, and Text: Aspects of Language in a Social-semiotic Perspective (1985)
Writing science (1993)
Discourse in Society: Systemic Functional Perspectives (1995)
Construing Experience through Meaning (1999)
On language and linguistics (2003)
The Language of Early Childhood (2002)
On grammar (2002)
The Language of Science (2000)
Linguistic Studies of Text and Discourse (2002)
Computational and Quantitative Studies (2004)
Lexicology and Corpus Linguistics (2004)
Studies in Chinese Language (2005)
Language and Society (2007)
Language and Education (2007) 
Lexicology: A Short Introduction (2007)
Intonation in the Grammar of English (2008)
The Essential Halliday (2009)
Halliday in the 21st Century (2013)
Aspects of Language and Learning (2016)
Text Linguistics: The how and why of Meaning (2014)
An Introduction to Relational Network Theory: History, Principles, and Descriptive Applications (2017)
Verbal Art and Verbal Science: The Chess Moves of Language (2018)

Did You Know?

  • Michael Halliday’s father, Wilfred Halliday, was a dialectologist, an English teacher and a poet of the Yorkshire dialect, having deep predilection for grammar and Elizabethan drama.
  • His mother, Winifred Kirkwood, was a French teacher; during the First World War she held the position of Editor of The Gryphon, the official newspaper of the University of Leeds.
  • Halliday attained a B.A. in Chinese language and literature from the University of London.
  • He completed postgraduate work in linguistics, first at Peking University and later at the University of Cambridge.
  • Michael Halliday obtained his Ph.D. in 1955 from Peking University.
  • Halliday has honorary doctorates from University of Birmingham (1987), York University (1988), the University of Athens (1995), Macquarie University (1996), Lingnan University (1999) and Beijing Normal University (2011).
  • Michael Halliday founded the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney in 1976.
  • While serving at the University of Sydney, Halliday founded the Sydney School.
  • After his retirement from the University of Sydney in 1987 he became the Emeritus Professor in the same university.
  • The Department of Linguistics of the University of Sydney honoured Halliday with the founding of the Halliday Medal upon his retirement; in 2014, Halliday presented the award personally at the School of Literature, Art and Media’s prize-giving ceremony.
  • Halliday’s works particularly concerned with applying the understanding of the basic principles of language to the theory and practices of education.
  • Halliday married several times in his life.
  • Halliday has four grandchildren: Bianca, Nicole, Rhona and Cameron.
  • After the demise of his beloved wife, Ruqaiya Hasan in 2015, he suffered terribly from the loss.
  • He died at Uniting Wesley Heights Nursing Home in Manly, New South Wales, Australia.

Tanvir Shameem Tanvir Shameem is not the biggest fan of teaching, but he is doing his best to write on various topics of language and literature just to guide thousands of students and researchers across the globe. You can always find him experimenting with presentation, style and diction. He will contribute as long as time permits. You can find him on:


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