Theoretical perspectives in accounting textbooks : the case of Lesotho and South Africa.
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This is a study about the representation of theoretical perspectives in accounting textbooks used in the last phase of senior secondary education in Lesotho and South Africa. The study examined the use of language in the construction of meaning. The systemic functional linguistics transitivity model was, therefore, used to analyse the selected text from the sampled textbooks. In addition, the social semiotic approach was applied in analysis of the accounting schematics. The findings show that representation of processes is dominated by material and relational processes and that material processes represent economic activities undertaken in business and professional accounting processes. Material processes are mostly realised in agentless passive voice. Consequently, the medium dominates representation. In a few cases, generic agents in the form of institutions, institutional structures, professionals and professional bodies are represented. The participants of the relational clauses are realised in long complex nominal phrases involving embedded finite and non-finite clauses. In addition, some of the participants are realised by nominalisation and nominal groups formed through grammatical metaphors. These grammatical structures are used to build technical terms and theories in the field. The findings also show that the grammatical metaphors and nominalisation are used to construct nominal groups to which values can be attached. Since financial accounting focuses on the financial aspect of the economic transactions, the nominalised processes allow for formation of entities that can be quantified. The quantified entities related to each other in terms of cause effect relationships. The relationships in turn are functional in building taxonomic relations, which were found to be commonly represented in the accounting schematics. Based on the above findings the study concludes that, although functional, the grammatical structures realise meaning in generalising, abstract and complex terms. The dominant passive and the relational clauses indicate that the accounting phenomenon is represented from the perspective of the entities and the accounting processes. ii The implications of the findings are that decisions on teacher educations programmes and school curriculum policies must take into account the nature and structure of the subject matters as constituted in disciplines of knowledge and as represented in the programmatic curriculum, namely, the textbooks.