Honorary Professor Geoff Williams

BEd(Sydney), MA(Hons)(Sydney), Phd(Linguistics)(Macquarie)

Honorary Professor


Phone: 041754 0821

Fax: +61 2 9351 5027

Building.Room: A35.Room 451

Research interests

Research on teaching and learning

  • English and literacy


Literacy education, ontogenesis of ways of meaning, semantic variation, social semiotics, health care communication and patient social backgrounds

Professional biography

Additional to his honorary appointment at this University, Geoff is an Emeritus Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he was Head of the Department of Language and Literacy Education from 2005 to 2010.  He is also a Visiting Professor at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China.  Earlier, he held senior lecturer appointments at the University of Sydney in the Faculty of Education (1979-1993) in the fields of Primary Education and English Language, and the Faculty of Arts, Department of English, in the English Language and Early English Literature section (1993-2005).  He has been a regular recent Academic Visitor to Hong Kong Polytechnic University and City University, Hong Kong.

Geoff is a former Chair of both the Australian and International Systemic Functional Linguistics Associations.


  • University Medal (MA thesis)

  • NSW Institute of Education Research Prize

Professional and community roles

  • Review Editor, Linguistics and the human sciences (2004 – present)

  • Emeritus Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada

  • Member, Editorial Board, Functional Linguistics

  • Member, Academic Board, Halliday-Hasan International Fund for the Study of Language and Other Systems of Meaning, Beijing Normal University

  • Global Associate, Functional Linguistics Institute, Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China.


  • Co-editor (with Professor Alex Peng), Language, context and text: The social semiotics forum (John Benjamins):


Current projects

  • Co-editing, with Professor Jonathan Webster, City University, Hong Kong, the sixth volume of The Collected Works of Ruqaiya Hasan (Equinox).
  • Effects of Melanoma Patient SES on Communication during Initial Consultations. Geoff is collaborating in this project with Professor Fran Boyle, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney and Melanoma Institute Australia. The project is funded by The Friends of the Mater and by the Melanoma Institute Australia. Additional to its practical contributions, the project is designed to enhance knowledge of semantic variation, a concept developed by Professor Ruqaiya Hasan and extended in Geoff's earlier work, and that of his colleague, Dr Carmel Cloran. Data-gathering is now almost complete and data analysis is under way.

Selected publications

Book chapters

  • Geoff Williams. (2019). Language development. In Geoff Thompson, Wendy L. Bowcher, Lise Fontaine, David Schonthal (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics (pp. 487–511), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Geoff Williams. (2017). Language socialization: A systemic functional perspective.. In P. Duff & N. Hornberger (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education: Vol. 8, Language Socialization (3rd ed.,), New York: Springer Science+Business Media LLC..
  • Geoff Williams. (2016). Reflection literacy in the first years of schooling: Questions of theory and practice. . In Wendy Bowcher and Jennifer Liang (Eds.), Society in Language, Language in Society: Essays in Honour of Ruqaiya Hasan London: Palsgrave Macmillan.