There remains the pleasant task of acknowledging the kindnesses of those who have helped me, although it should be emphasised that any faults in the book are entirely my own responsibility and the result of my own ignorance, carelessness or stubbornness. Michael Samuels, Emeritus Professor of English Language at Glasgow, has taken a consistent interest in the work's progress since I undertook it. Many, if not all, of the ideas and insights presented here derive from his work, and I am deeply grateful for the generosity with which he has discussed them with me. It is for that reason that I have dedicated the book to him. Gordon Fulton of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, provided crucial initial input from a systemic-functional perspective; I am grateful both to him and to Kathy Kerby-Fulton for their hospitality towards me during my visit to Victoria, during which time I decided to write this book. A special debt is due to Jane Roberts, with whom I also discussed the project at an early stage. Jim Milroy made a number of invaluable suggestions, especially about the structure of Part I, which I have tried hard to take account of; I am extremely grateful for the orientation these comments gave me. I am grateful to Meg Laing and Angus McIntosh, who made valuable and salutary comments on early working drafts, and to other friends with whom I have discussed issues involved in the writing of the book: in particular, I am conscious (even if they are not) of debts to Sylvia Adamson, Richard Beadle, Michael Benskin, Norman Blake, Derek Britton, David Burnley, Michael Clanchy, Richard Cox, Ian Doyle, Tom Duncan, Beat Glauser, José Gómez Soliño, Kate Harris, John Hines, Jonathan Hope, George Jack, Paul Johnston, Michael Lumsden, Catherine Macafee, Derrick McClure, Bella Millett, Celia Millward, Terttu Nevalainen, Ray Page, Malcolm Parkes, Matti Rissanen, Nikolaus Ritt, Wendy Scase, Patrick Stiles, Irma Taavitsainen, Ron Waldron, Keith Williamson and Laura Wright. I also acknowledge and am grateful for comments on various drafts by anonymous readers.
An exploratory paper on issues engaged with in this book was given at a Cambridge seminar in February 1992, and I am grateful to Susan Wright, who was my host on that occasion; other papers in which aspects of this