Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday (born 1925) is a linguist who developed an internationally influential grammar model, the systemic functional grammar, originally by studying Chinese. The model has been applied to other languages as well; it is especially useful for describing non-Indo-European languages.
Michael Halliday was born and grew up in England; he took his B.A. Honours degree in Modern Chinese Language and Literature at the University of London, then studied for three years in China (Peking University and Lingnan University), returning to take his Ph.D. in Chinese Linguistics at Cambridge. Having taught Chinese for a number of years he changed his field of specialization to linguistics and developed the systemic functional grammar, elaborating on the foundations laid by his British teacher J. R. Firth. His seminal paper on this model was published in 1961. He became Professor of Linguistics at London University in 1965. In 1976 he moved to Australia as Foundation Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sydney, where he remained until he retired. He has worked in various regions of language study, both theoretical and applied, and has been especially concerned with applying the understanding of the basic principles of language to the theory and practices of education. He received the status of emeritus professor of the University of Sydney and the Macquarie University in 1987, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong.