Factual WritingFactual Writing
Hamka, S.Pd., M.HumHamka, S.Pd., M.Hum
8. Report/Report Spoof
10. Academic Text/Essay
11. Newspaper texts
12. Scientific Articles
13. … (of relevance)
Linguistic Realizations as coded in the three elements of Metafunction
Explanations on TermsExplanations on Terms
non-technical, folk terminology
Genre= type of text
1. Birmingham: the use of a certain text which is associated to
- Courtroom genre
- Doctor-patient genre
- Classroom genre
- Bureaucracy genre
2. Systemic Functional Grammar (Hallidayan Linguistics)
staged, goal-oriented purposeful social activities
- Who (Tenor)
- What (Field)
- How (Mode)
Types of DescriptionTypes of Description
1.1. [person/common sense][person/common sense]
2.2. [animal/common sense][animal/common sense]
3.3. [thing and place/common sense][thing and place/common sense]
6.6. [thing and place/literal][thing and place/literal]
9.9. [thing and place/technical][thing and place/technical]
Generic StructuresGeneric Structures
Identification Λ DescriptionIdentification Λ Description
Classification Λ DescriptionClassification Λ Description
1.1. [person/common sense][person/common sense]
- Physical AppearancePhysical Appearance
- Place of BirthPlace of Birth
- …… (of relevance in a text)(of relevance in a text)
This is George. He is 20. He is 175 cms and 72 kgs.
George has dark curly hair and pointed nose. The
man was born in Medan. George is a welder. The
old welder lives in the suburb of Parramata.
My name is Hamad. I am 19 years old. I am 164
centimeters in height and weigh 60 kilograms. I have
long dark hair and a pointed nose. I was born in
Malang. I work in a bank.
I am Azman. I am 20. I am 164 cms and 60 kgs. I
have short dark standing hair and a flat nose. I was
born in Jakarta. At the moment I am working with an
• Turtles are reptiles and are cold blooded.
• They depend on their surroundings for Classification
• their body heat.
• Turtles have a (hard box-like) shell which
• protects the (soft) body and organs. It is
• composed of an (upper) section called
• a carapace and a lower plate called a plastron.
• The head, tail and legs of turtles have scales Appearance
• for protection. Turtles withdraw them inside
• the shell for protection. Turtles have four
• (paddle shaped) flippers for swimming.
• Turtles do not have teeth; they have a (sharp)
• beak instead.
• Turtles can breathe on land and under water.
• They mainly eat jellyfish, sea snails and other Behaviours
• (soft-bodied, slow-moving) sea animals.
• Female turtles lay their eggs in the sand on
• beaches. Once the eggs are covered the female
• returns to the sea. When the eggs hatch the Reproduction
• baby-turtles crawl down to the sea and take
• care of themselves.
• An ant is an insect. An ant has six legs. An ant has three body parts. Some ants
have wings. The queen lays eggs. Ants live in colonies. An ant can look lots of
different ways. The colours can be black, red, white and lots more colours. An ant
has antennas and three body pars. Many ants have six legs. They are shiny and
very thin. Ants dig little tunnel in the ground and build their nests
• Frogs are amphibians. There are over 2700 types of frogs in the world. The
smallest frog is 2 cms long and the froth protects their eggs. Frogs have webbed
feet and slimy skin and they like to live in moist places. Tadpoles change into frogs
when they are older. Frogs have large bulging eyes. The male can croak louder
than the female. Frogs eat flies and small water insects. Frogs have long sticky
tongues so they can catch small water insects and flies. Frogs have 4 legs the
back legs are longer because it helps the frog jump higher.
• The possum is a native Australian marsupial and has been popularised as an iconic
representation of Australia in cultural artifacts including children’s books. Possums
are nocturnal, mainly arboreal marsupial which occupy a niche similar to that of
tree-dwelling primates of other continents. The upper levels of the Australian
rainforest are almost exclusively the haunts of the Phalanges.
• A giraffe is a, African animal with long neck. It has a long tongue. It is covered in a
fury skin. It looks like a spotty thing. It eats leaves from trees. But it has to go a
long way down to have a drink. The giraffe is a wild animal.
Parapat is a small town at the bank of lake Toba. Identification
• The town is located in the mountainous area of about
• 125 kilometres to the southeast of Medan, the capital Location
• of the North Sumatra province.
• It is believed that the town forms from volcanic
• eruptions thousands of years ago. History
• Parapat is a tourist spot which is visited by people from
• various parts of the world.
• As one of the tourist destinations in Indonesia the town Function
• is provided with modern facilities, such as hotels, banks,
• air strip telecommunication facilities.
• The climate in the town is much colder than other places
• in North Sumatra, ranging from 15 to 20oC. Situation
• To get to the place, one can go by car or bus.
• Air transportation is used only by distinguished visitors,
• such as the president or minister
Linguistic RealizationsLinguistic Realizations
1. Process. Experience is categorized in terms of process or verb. In the genre of
description, two types of process are commonly used, namely the material and relational
process. The use of these two types is due to the fact that Descriptions clearly or
physically displays explicit natures of things or phenomena. Physical portrayals are well
done by applying the material and relational processes.
2. Conjunctions and Conjunctives. Texts of description are typically dominated by relations
of addition and comparison as specified as and, beside, moreover, in addition, or, but, if
not…then, alternatively, equally, that is on the other hand, likewise, in contrast, instead,
like, as, as if, like when, whereas, except that, and the construction of so Λ Finite.
3. Attribution. A description genre describes natural or social phenomena. In other words, it
presents attribution to the phenomena. To represent the attribution, three aspects are
employed, namely epithets, classifiers and adverbs. Both epithets and classifiers are
adjectives with the main difference that epithets are loaded with attitudinal nature and thus
acceptably having intensifiers and comparisons whereas classifiers are not. Classifiers
categorize things or the phenomena into taxonomic natures with no subjective judgment
from the language users. The adjectives of old, small, happy, etc are epithets in which the
intensifiers very: very old, very small, very happy and comparison (comparative or
superlative degrees): older, smaller, more happy, oldest, smallest, most happy are
acceptable. In contrast dead, absent, economic are classifiers since the expressions *very
dead, very absent, very economic, deader, more absent, more economic (more
economical is acceptable) are grammatically not acceptable in English. Other adjectives
such as empty, present, Asian, linguistic, politic, erratic, void, gaseous, liquid, etc are
classifiers. Attributions describe things or phenomena in clauses with the Relational
processes as noun Λ BE Λ noun, noun Λ BE Λ adjective and noun Λ BE Λ adverb.
4. Tense. The simple present tense is dominantly used in the genre of Description. This is
because the tense elaborates the general descriptions of things or phenomena. The
simple tense is also used to describe natures and mechanisms of things.
Social ContextsSocial Contexts
The genre of description is commonly
used in the police interrogation in which a
person is asked to describe a suspect.
The genre is used in the lost and found
cases. In academic atmospheres,
students are typically asked to describe
social and natural phenomena.
Describing Persons LiterallyDescribing Persons Literally
Eric the Red is an old shabby man whose eyes and mouth are created in a
half-smile. His skin smells of the sun, his clothes of woodsmoke. He
lives on the little red beach in the Old Garden. He doesn’t speak too
much but sometimes he takes out a flute from his pocket and plays
beautiful notes. Eric the Red has a greatcoat, like the ones that people
wear in the war, but this one is old and splodged with shades of black
dye and joined together with a button and three twists of wine.
Jules Santorini about a hundred and fifty-three centimeters tall, was a boy
who felt perfectly ordinary. He didn’t think he was good looking but he
knew he wasn’t ugly. His eyes seemed to be the normal distance apart.
His nose appears to be the standard model, not pointy, or snubby or flat
across his face. His teeth were mainly straight but he might get braces
next year. His chin has a notice. He wasn’t the shortest, the fattest, the
thinnest, the fastest, the slowest, the smartest, and the dumbest. In fact
the only area where Jules was special was in his thought.
My sister, Mrs Joe, with black hair and eyes had such a prevailing redness
of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was possible she
washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap. She was tall and
bony, and almost always wears a coarse apron, fastened over her figure
behind with two lops, and having a square impregnable bib in front, that
was stuck full of pins and needles.
Literal DescriptionLiteral Description
He is the king in the community. His sovereignty spreads over the field. He rules his
fellow cats with his managerial skills. When a she cat approaches him he shows
his power by mewing his loud voices. If he makes an order he must be obeyed. A
disloyal fellow will suffer from his sharp scratches or bites. At night his bright eyes
produce strong shines which make rats powerless. His loud mews sound as
thunders to the mice in the territory. Very often rats fall down when they hear the
king of cat sounds. (animal)
• Things and places are literally described by writers in novels or short stories. One
important feature of literal description which makes it diffrent from the common-
sense description is that it uses verbal arts, such as metaphor, personification,
simile and other figures of speech to beautify the descriptions. In 6 below a place
and this are described.
It wasn’t simply an ordinary, enormous chocolate factory. It was the largest and most
famous in the whole world! It was WONKA’s FACTORY, owned by a man called Mr
Willy Wonka, the greatest inventor and maker of chocolates that there has ever
been. And what a tremendous, marvelous place it was! It had huge iron gates
leading into it, and a high wall surrounding it, and smoke belching from its
chimneys, and strange whizzing sounds coming from the deep inside it. (place)
The beach is a quarter of golden fruit, a soft, ripe melon sliced to a half-moon curve,
having thick green rind of jungle growth; and the sea devours it with its sharp white
Technical DescriptionsTechnical Descriptions
• Technical descriptions differ from common sense ones in the use of words to code
similar experience as commonly found in science and technology. Scientific and
technical words may also describe a common sense experience in a different
experience. Further, common sense descriptions use every day or daily expressions,
whereas technical ones are realized by unusual words. They are unusual because
the words or terms used are unusual or not common or the usual words loaded with
unusual or uncommon meaning.
• It is a common practice that the scientists use different words from common people
do. The scientists may use common words
• Scientific texts differ from other types of texts such as literature, general or common
sense not only in terminology or lexical items as commonly believed but also in
grammar. Thus, the difference of the text of physics from literary text is not merely in
the obvious fact that physics is rich with terminologies such as atom, molecule,
speed, laboratory, etc and literature has plot, theme, characters, etc. A short story
taking its setting in a physics laboratory about two lovers may employ the words
atom, molecule, laboratory and other words but the use of the words does not make
the short story a scientific text--it is still literature. Thus, scientific texts are
lexicogrammatically different from common sense texts or other disciplines
Texts of scientific description do not have different generic structures. In other words
the generic or schematic structures of common sense or literal descriptions also
apply to scientific descriptions. The only difference is in the use of lexical items or
Technical TermsTechnical Terms
• The languages belong to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thai, the Philippines, and
Madagascar (common sense)
• Those are Austronesian languages (technical)
• There are changes in the society which affect people who live in the villages
• There are significant socio-rural changes (technical)
• We make good sound descriptions of the language (common sense)
• Phonological systems are described. (technical)
• The man is from Russia (common sense). He is Caucasian (technical).
• bird flu--aviation flu, sweat—exasperation, greedy– avaricious, meat-eating
animals—carnivorous, plant-eating animals—herbivorous, animals eating all kind
• Crocodiles are large carnivorous reptiles living in water. They are found on many
continents, such as Asia, Australia, North and South America and Africa. The
average length of the huge reptile is approximately five metres. However, they
can grow up to eight metres in length. The saltwater crocodile has a long lizard-
like body. It has short, powerful legs and a long tail. It also has very sharp teeth
and extremely powerful jaws. In Indonesia crocodiles live in rivers in Sumatra,
Kalimantan, Nusatenggara and Papua. IN Australia the animals mostly live off
North Coast in warm tropical waters. Saltwater crocodiles can also be found in
coastal rivers and swamps.
Technical DescriptionTechnical Description
This is George. He is 20. He is 175 cms and 72 kgs. George is
typically half-Afro-Asian by his skin and hair but Indo-German by his
nose. The man was born in Medan. George is a welder. The old
welder resides in the suburb of Parramata.
This is George. He is 20. He is 175 cms and 72 kgs. George has
dark curly hair and pointed nose. The man was born in Medan.
George is a welder. The old welder lives in the suburb of
My girlfriend is Chinese. She is 28. She likes going somewhere
which can make her feel fresh. Her skin is white but she is not tall
enough. She is working in a hospital.
My girl friend is Sino-Tebetian. She is 28. She is an easy-going,
jolly lady with typical sino-complextion. She is working in a hospital.
Logical MetaphorLogical Metaphor
Kalau ada sumur di ladang,
Bolehlah kita menumpang mandi.
Kalau ada umur panjang,
Bolehlah kita bertemu lagi.