Home > About FLS > Faculty A - Z > Edward MCDONALD

Department of English
E-Mail: mcdonald3@mail.sysu.edu.cn
Room: Room402, FLS Building, South Campus, Sun Yat-sen University
Edward McDonald is a Professor in the School of Foreign Languages at Sun Yat-sen University, China. He gained his BA(Hons) from the University of Sydney in 1988, his MA from Peking University in 1992, and his PhD from Macquarie University in 1999, with theses on the clause and verbal group grammar of modern Chinese. Between 1999 and 2012 he taught linguistics, Chinese language, translation, semiotics, and music at the National University of Singapore, Tsinghua University Beijing, the University of Auckland, and the University of New South Wales. Between 2003-2005 he worked as a Language Consultant at China Central Television International (CCTV 9).

Edward has drawn on his cross-cultural study and work experience to inform his teaching and research work: going across linguistic boundaries in his work on applying systemic functional theory to a range of languages including modern Chinese and Scottish Gaelic; going across national cultures in his work on Chinese language teaching and the hybrid concept of “sinophone”; and going across academic cultures in his work on European and Chinese traditions of language scholarship and the interactions between them. These trajectories are summed up, respectively, in his books Meaningful Arrangement: exploring the syntactic description of texts (Equinox 2008), Learning Chinese, Turning Chinese: challenges to becoming sinophone in a globalised world (Routledge 2011), and Grammar West to East: European and Chinese traditions in the making of modern linguistics (Springer forthcoming).

Edward also trained as a pianist and singer to a high level, and worked extensively as a répétiteur (rehearsal pianist and vocal coach) and choral singer in Sydney throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including six years as accompanist at the Performance Program at the University of Western Sydney (Theatre Nepean). During this time he became interested in exploring the boundaries between language and music as semiotic systems, and looking at both from a social semiotic viewpoint, a line of research that culminated in his Masters of Musicology from the University of Auckland under the title Creating the Classical Gig: exploring new contexts and values for classical music performance (2010).

Academic & Professional Qualifications
2010    University of Auckland, MMus, Musicology
1999    Macquarie University, PhD, Linguistics
1992    Peking University, MA, Linguistics
1988    University of Sydney, BA (Hons), Linguistics

Professional Qualifications
2012    Professional Translator, Chinese to English, NAATI Number 78027

Employment History (part-time marked with *)
*2013-2015    University of Sydney, Department of Linguistics, Honorary Research Fellow
*2013-2015    Macquarie University, Department of Linguistics, Tutor
*2013             University of Sydney, Department of Chinese Studies, Lecturer
2012-2013     University of New South Wales, School of International Studies, Senior Lecturer
2006-2011     University of Auckland, School of Asian Studies, Lecturer
2003-2005     China Central Television International, Language Consultant
2002-2003     Tsinghua University, School of Foreign Languages, Associate Professor
1999-2002     National University of Singapore, Department of English Language and Literature, Assistant Professor
*1993-1999    Accompanist and tutor, Performance Major, School of Contemporary Arts, University of Western Sydney.

• “Language system & structure”: lexicogrammar across languages
    • multifunctional structure of clause and group, especially in Chinese
    • verbal group systems
    • application of systemic functional theory to languages other than English
    • lexicogrammar and graphology
• “Linguistics applied”: language, society, culture
    • applying systemic functional theory in language learning: pedagogical grammar
    • (with Dr Mira Kim) applying systemic functional theory in translation training
    • culture and identity in language learning: “anglophone”, “sinophone” etc
    • popular media: “metrosexual” in anglophone and sinophone men’s magazines
• “Whence and whither linguistics?”: history & ideologies of language study
    • rise and fall of “general linguistics”
    • history of systemic functional linguistics
    • history of modern Chinese linguistics, esp. Chinese Cultural Linguistics
    • pre-modern traditions of linguistics in Europe and China and their contribution to modern linguistics
• “Beside Language”: Semiotics of Language and Music
    • language and music as embodied performative semiotic systems
    • the social contexts of classical music performance
    • (with Dr Jean Callaghan) “the singer’s text”: spoken and sung voice and how the singer combines vocal, verbal and dramatic semiotics in a
      single performance
    • modernizing the translation of classical song texts

COURSES OFFERED (as of Semester 1, 2015-2016)
Undergraduate Courses:
Intercultural Communication
Post-graduate Courses:
Grammar West to East

Editorial Board Member
Modern Chinese Grammar and Discourse
Functions of Language
Linguistics and the Human Sciences
Linguistic Research (语言学研究)
Functional Linguistics


1.  Forthcoming. McDonald, E. Grammar West to East: European and Chinese traditions in the making of modern linguistics. Springer
2.  2011. McDonald, E. Learning Chinese, Turning Chinese: challenges to becoming sinophone in a globalised world. London, Routledge.
3.  2008. McDonald, E. Meaningful Arrangement: exploring the syntactic description of texts. London, Equinox.

Refereed Journal Articles
4.  Forthcoming. McDonald, E. The Chinese Scriptworld from inside and outside: Chinese characters in originary and borrowed traditions. New
     Literatures of the Chinese Scriptworld. Special Issue, Journal of World Literature. June/July 2016.
5.  Forthcoming. McDonald, E. Form and Function in Groups. In T. Bartlett and G. O’Grady (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Systemic Functional
. London: Routledge.
6.  2013. McDonald, E. The First Year of the Chinese Metrosexual: Discourses of Aspirational Masculinity in Chinese Men’s Lifestyle Magazines.
     《语言学研究》Linguistic Research, 12, Special Issue on Gender and Language, 124-135, January 2013.
7.  2012. McDonald, E. Embodiment and meaning: moving beyond linguistic imperialism in social semiotics. Social Semiotics
     DOI:10.1080/10350330.2012.719730. August 2012.
8.  2012. McDonald, E. Aristotle, Saussure, Kress on speech and writing: Language as paradigm for the semiotic?. Language & Communication.
     32.3, 205-215. July 2012.
9.  2009. McDonald, E. Getting over the Walls of Discourse: “Character Fetishization” in Chinese Studies. Journal of Asian Studies. 68.4, 1189–1213.
     November 2009.
10. 2005. McDonald, E. Through a Glass Darkly: A critique of the influence of linguistics on theories of music Linguistics and the Human Sciences,
      1.3, 463-488, November 2005.
11. 2004. McDonald, E. Verb and clause in Chinese discourse: issues of constituency and functionality Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 32.2, 200-248,
12. 2003. Callaghan, J. & McDonald, E. The Singer’s Text: Music, Language and the Expression of Meaning. Australian Voice. 9, 42-48. 2003.
13. 2002. McDonald, E. "Humanistic Spirit or Scientism?": conflicting ideologies in Chinese language reform Histoire, Epistémologie, Langage, 24/2.
      Politiques linguistiques 1/2. 51-74, 2002.
14. 1999. McDonald, E. Teaching Grammar through Text: an integrated model for a pedagogical grammar of Chinese Journal of the Chinese
      Language Teachers Association
, 34.2, 91-120, 1999.
15. 1999. McDonald, E. 跨文化学术传统:中、英文的汉语语法描述 [Cross-cultural academic traditions: describing Chinese grammar in Chinese and
      English] 《毕节师范高等专科学校学报》Journal of Bijie Teachers College 1999.1, 24-29.
16. 1995. McDonald, E. 中国文化语言学运动和汉语的本质:“国情”的新表现? [The Chinese Cultural Linguistics movement and the nature of the
      Chinese language: a new manifestation of "national conditions"?] Northern Forum, 1995.4, 91-104.
17. 1994. McDonald, E. Completive Verb Compounds in Modern Chinese: a new look at an old problem Journal of Chinese Linguistics,
      22.2, 317-362, 1994.
18. 1992. McDonald, E. Outline of a functional grammar of Chinese for teaching purposes Language Sciences, 14.4, 435-458, 1992.

Book chapters:
19. 2011. McDonald, E. Dealing with musical meaning: towards an embodied model of music. in Dreyfus, Shoshana, Susan Hood & Maree Stenglin
      (eds). Semiotic Margins: Reclaiming Meaning. London, Continuum. 101-124.
20. 2008. McDonald, E. Maintaining symbolic control over Taiwan: arguing with scare quotes in the Mainland press. in Thomson, Elizabeth A.
      & P.R.R. White (eds). Communicating Conflict: Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media. London, Continuum. 119-142.
21. 2005. Zhang, D., McDonald, E., Fang, Y. & Huang, G. The development of systemic-functional linguistics in China. in Hasan R., Matthiessen, C.
      & Webster, J. (eds). Continuing Discourse on Language: A Functional Perspective. Vol. 1. London, Equinox, 15-36
22. 2004. Halliday, M.A.K. & McDonald, E. A Metafunctional Profile of Chinese Grammar. in Caffarel, A. C. Matthiessen & J.R. Martin (eds). Language
      Typology: A Functional Perspective
. Amsterdam, Benjamins, 359-469
23. 2002. McDonald, E. & Zeng, L. 马爱德、曾立诚,语言的文化视角与其社会符号功能:语言比较中的几种功能原则 [A Cultural view of language
      compared with its social semiotic functions: some functional principles in language comparison] in QIAN, J. (ed.) Linguistics: China and the
       World in Step
. Beijing, Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press, 419-430.
24. 1996. McDonald, E. The ‘complement’ in Chinese grammar: a functional reinterpretation. in Hasan, R., Cloran, C. & Butt, D. (eds). Functional
      Descriptions: Theory in Practice
. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 265-286.
25. 1995. Fang, Y., McDonald, E. & Cheng, M. On Theme in Chinese: from clause to discourse. in Hasan, R. and P. Fries (eds). On Subject and
      Theme: a discourse functional perspective
. Amsterdam, Benjamins, 235-273.

Papers in Refereed Conference Proceedings:
26. 2007. Callaghan, Jean & E. McDonald. A comparative study of spoken and sung voice in performance. In: Maimets-Volk, K., R. Parncutt,
      M. Marin & J. Ross (Eds.) Proceedings of the third Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM07) Tallinn, Estonia, 15-19 August 2007,
27. 2005. McDonald, E. The Dangers of McDonaldisation: disciplinary and cultural pitfalls in the functional description of Chinese. in Pan W., Fu H.,
      Luo X., Chase, M. & Walls, J. (eds) Translation and Contrastive Studies: Proceedings of 2002 International Symposium on Contrastive and
      Translation Studies Between Chinese and English
. Shanghai, Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 261-282.
28. 2002. Callaghan, J. & McDonald, E. Expression, Content and Meaning in Language and Music: an integrated semiotic approach. in McKevitt. P.
      et al. (eds) Language, Vision, Music. Amsterdam, Benjamins, 205-230.