This volume is base on a selection of the papers originally presented at the VIIth International Systemic Functional Workshop held in Valencia, Spain, in July 1995, which have been revised for publication. The main purpose of the workshop was to explore the nature of the linguistic choices open to speakers and writers for the expression of meaning in different socio-cultural contexts. The workshop reflectec current word on the social constructs and dynamics which influence linguistic practices. It provided a diverse array of different aspects and perspectives contributing much to a better understanding of the different aspects and perspectives contributing much to a better understanding of the different expressive options which language offers as part of the processes through which we amplify, modify and modulate our social and cultural frames of reference. Throughout the workshop there was a continuous reflection on the use of language as a social semiotic from the perspective of power relations, individual interests, professional and institutional contexts, and the reproduction of ideology. The notion of language as "choice" as a set of alternatives for individual, social and cultural expresión, was seen as a principal site for the study of the linguistic problems confronting contemporary society on the threshold of the twenty-first century.