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Thursday, 15 December 2016

David Rose Confusing Delicacy With Instantiation And Stratification

Thanks Gordon
It’s nice to see the alternative interpretations set out so clearly. Can I suggest that the source of their incommensurability is the (unresolved) tension between grammar and lexis that runs through all of linguistics? 
In this example, functional interpretations of a ‘ditransitive’ grammatical structure [nom gp + verb gp = nom gp + nom gp] vary with the lexical items instantiating each element
e.g. item instantiating verb gp - she made herself a cup of tea / I gave my love a cherry 
The interpretation of functional difference here assumes some criterial relation between grammar and lexis. So do terms such as ‘light verb’, since ‘verb’ is a grammatical unit and ‘light’ denotes some kind of lexical quality. Are such terms classifying grammar or lexis? 
When an item instantiating a nom gp normally instantiates a verb gp, the tension of grammar/lexis is exposed, and theories struggle to manage it. Halliday’s solution is to propose two strata — grammar/semantics — whose relation may be ‘congruent/incongruent’. (But note the dissonance here with his notion of ‘lexis as delicate grammar’.) Chomsky’s solution is to propose two structures related as 'deep/surface’. Cardiff's solution resembles Chomsky’s, as both require all semantic difference to be handled in the grammar. So a nom gp instantiated by ‘kiss’ is no longer a participant but a ‘main verb extension’. 
Whatever the proposed solution, the problem is the grammar/lexis relation, which is at the heart of linguistics but which no linguistic theory has resolved.

Blogger Comments:

[1] For the "source of their incommensurability", see the previous post.

[2] The relation between grammar and lexis is modelled differently by different linguistic theories. The "tension" that Rose imagines arises from his multiple misunderstandings of the architecture of SFL theory, as will be demonstrated below.

[3] In SFL theory, the relation between grammar and lexis is modelled as the dimension of delicacy.

[4] The four claims that lexis "instantiates" grammar confuse instantiation with delicacy.  It's been 17 years since Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 15) clarified the distinction:
Note that it is important to keep delicacy and instantiation distinct. In early work on semantic networks, they were sometimes neutralised (cf. Woods', 1975, review). The difference is essentially that between being a type of x (delicacy) and being a token of x (instantiation). Both may be construed by intensive ascription: cf. Chapter 4, Section
To be clear, for the most part, lexical items are said to be specified by combinations of features of the most delicate grammatical systems, in the same way that phonemes are specified by combinations of features of articulatory systems; e.g. /b/ is specified by combinations of the features [voiced, stop, bilabial].  Instantiation, on the other hand, is the perspectival cline between language as potential (system) and language as actual instance (text).

[5] This confuses stratification with delicacy.  Halliday did not stratify the content plane into grammar and semantics in order to solve the "tension" between grammar and lexis.  He modelled grammar and lexis as two ends of the same continuum, lexicogrammar, and stratified the content plane into grammar and semantics in order to account for grammatical metaphor.

[6] As these clarifications demonstrate, the only dissonance here is between SFL theory and Rose's understanding of it.

[7] The closest analogue in SFL theory to Chomsky's deep and surface structure is the cline of instantiation.  That is, Rose claims that Chomsky dealt with the lexis–grammar relation (delicacy) through instantiation (and that Halliday dealt with it through stratification).

To be clear, Rose has confused the systemic scale of delicacy with both the hierarchy of stratification and the cline of instantiation.

See Rose's previous confusion of delicacy with stratification here.

Gordon Tucker On Cardiff Grammar Transitivity

Gordon Tucker wrote to Sysfling on 15 December 2016 at 02:52:
In answer to your question ‘but is this procedure theoretically and descriptive possible in SFL (i.e. representing incongruent forms of the type Process+Range (empty verb + noun) as more delicate options in the system of TRANSITIVITY)?’ well, yes! But not only possible but absolutely necessary There have to be systems in the grammar where the choice between ‘push’ and ‘give a push’, ‘wash’ and ‘have a wash’ are represented. In the Romance languages that I know, and of course in English, these ‘incongruent expressions’ are extremely common. There will of course be a generalized semantic difference between ‘kiss X’ and ‘give X a kiss’’ for example, which needs to be expressed in the system network for TRANSITIVITY. 
The Cardiff Grammar does not describe light verb constructions in terms of a Process with 2 Participant Roles of which the second is Range, since the ‘a kiss’ in ‘give X a kiss’ is not a Participant. In the congruent expression with the Main Verb ‘kiss’, the second Participant Role is the Affected or Goal (in IFG terms). This is a standard 2 Role Process (transitive). So why should the light verb expression be any different? 
The solution in the Cardiff Grammar is to set up what we call an MEx (Main Verb Extension) an functional element of structure in the clause which is not associated with a Participant Role. Thus ‘He gave his sister a kiss’ is an ACTION/MATERIAL Process, with two Participant Roles – as in ‘he kissed his sister’. Our structural analysis would be ‘He (Subject/Agent) gave (Main Verb) his sister (Complement/Affected) a kiss (Main Verb Extension). Note that ‘a kiss’ is what has been described as a non-role bearing argument.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 229), the choice between these options (± Scope) is represented for material processes by the system SCOPING, whose entry conditions are [intransitive] and either [elaborating or enhancing].

[2] The difference between these two construals is that 'kiss X' is a congruent realisation of the meaning (semantics), whereas 'give X a kiss' is a metaphorical realisation.  Because grammatical metaphor is a 'junctional construct', the metaphorical rendering construes 'X' as both the Recipient (metaphorical) and Goal (congruent) of the process 'kiss'.

[3] In SFL, 'give X a kiss' is not analysed as "a Process with 2 Participant Roles of which the second is Range".  Instead, it is Process^Beneficiary^Medium (Process^Recipient^Goal).  See a transitivity analysis of the congruent and metaphorical construals here.  (By the same token, the metaphor construes 'kiss' as both a process and a gift.)

[4] In SFL, the 'a kiss' in 'give X a kiss' is clearly a participant.  Grammatically, it serves as Goal, in the same way that 'chocolate' serves as Goal in 'give X a chocolate'.  However, unlike 'chocolate', 'a kiss' is metaphorical: viewed 'from above', it is a Process, but viewed 'from roundabout' and 'from below' — it is realised by a nominal group — it is a participant.

[5] The problem with this analysis, in terms of SFL theory, is that it misrepresents the data.  In the clause he gave his sister a kiss, the nominal group 'a kiss' is clearly associated — it realises — a participant rôle.  This is demonstrated, for example, by such agnate clauses as
  • it was a kiss that he gave his sister (not chocolate),
  • a kiss was eventually given (though reluctantly).

Moreover, it fulfils the criteria for being a participant:
  • it can take modal responsibility (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 123),
  • it can be the carrier of attributes (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 182-3);
  • it is realised by a nominal group (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 168).

In short, the 'Cardiff Grammar' analysis results from:
  • mistaking a metaphorical transitive clause he gave his sister a kiss for a ranged intransitive clause*, and
  • the limitation imposed by modelling grammatical metaphor in terms of only one system–structure cycle.

A genuine ranged intransitive clause would be: 
they did a lot of kissing
where 'a lot of kissing' is the Scope: process of the material Process 'did'.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Beatriz Quiroz Misinterpreting Markedness As Improbability

Wondering now about 'markedness' again in terms of the textual metafunction. If markedness has only to do with probabilities in lexicogrammatical choices, then it makes sense. I find this criterion problematic in Spanish, though, because then a number of other patterns would be indeed marked, but they don't make much sense from the point of view of text analysis - e.g. non-modally responsible Participants at initial position, which to me are NOT marked Themes, even though they are relatively infrequent. The reason is that they do seem to sustain the angle on the field and thus contribute to the method of development (in ways beta clauses and circu[m]stances don't) across registers. This may even be related to an explanation of 'doubling' in clitic-doubling varieties, such as Chilean and Buenos Aires Spanish. 
On the other hand, if we consider interactions with higher level choices (discourse-semantic, generic), how do we treat patterns that are indeed productive in text analysis (such as beta clauses at initial position)? You then suggest this would be solved by taking into account different layers, without talking about marked or unmarked Themes?

Blogger Comments:

[1] This misunderstands the notion of markedness in SFL theory.  The unmarked option is 'the form we tend to use if there is no prior context leading up to it, and no positive reason for choosing anything else' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 58), in contradistinction to marked, which means that the option is less frequent and 'carries a special interpretation' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 207).  For example, the unmarked option for present tense in material processes is the present-in-present, and the marked option, the simple present, carries the 'special interpretation' of habitual.

Difference in probability of selection, on the other hand, is what distinguishes different registers.

[2] To be clear, "non-modally responsible Participants" means Complements and some Adjuncts (e.g. Beneficiaries and Agents realised by prepositional phrases).  In SFL theory, these are regarded as marked Themes in declarative clauses, because there is a textual motivation for these, rather than the Subject, to be thematic.

[3] The notion of "the angle on the field" is from Martin (1992: 452, 489). See the theoretical misunderstandings from which this notion proceeds identified at:

[4] The assumption here is that marked Themes do not contribute to a text's method of development.  This is inconsistent with the model being used, Martin (1992: 461):
The concept of modal responsibility is less obvious in propositions, and the meaning of Subject is hard to isolate because of the fact that in English declaratives and interrogatives Subject conflates with unmarked topical Theme. However, it is clear in contexts where marked Themes are used to scaffold a text's method of development that Subject selection is in principle independent of Theme selection.
Martin (1992: 474): 
Although it is harder to unpick the meaning of Subject in written monologue [than in spoken mode] from the meaning of Theme and Given, texts such as [6:36] above which realise their method of development through marked Themes demonstrate the significance of modal responsibility in this mode.
The source of the confusion may be a reading of Martin (1992: 452):
The main contrast is in the range of meanings woven through Theme and New. Only a few of the text's participants and processes are selected as unmarked topical Theme, with far greater variation in New. The Themes focus on the major participants involved in the anecdote, while the News tell the story. Putting this in more general terms, Themes angle in on a given field, reflecting a text's genre; News elaborate the field, developing it in experiential terms. This contrast in functions operates across text types …

[5] The mistaken notion of genre as a higher stratum derives from Martin (1992).  For some of the reasons why the notion of genre as a stratum of context is mistaken, see:
  1. Problems With The Non-Argument For Genre As Context
  2. Seven Problems With The First Justification For A Genre Stratum
  3. Two Problems With The Second Justification For A Genre Stratum
  4. Eight Problems With The Third Justification For A Genre Stratum
  5. Two Problems With The Fourth Justification For A Genre Stratum
  6. Two Problems With The Fifth Justification For A Genre Stratum

[6] The point is simply that the marked vs unmarked Theme distinction does not apply to dependent clauses in regressive sequences.  If the dependent clause is the point of departure for the clause nexus, then it is thematic.  It is not marked because there is no unmarked Theme of the clause nexus with which it can be contrasted.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Margaret Berry On Beta Clause As Part Of The Alpha Clause

Geoff Thompson (2014) in the 3rd edition of his Introducing Functional Grammar, page 170, has a system network for Theme, in which one of the options for marked Theme is 'dependent clause'. He gives examples on page 160. 
It probably depends on whether you think a Beta clause is actually part of the Alpha clause. I do.
  • After he'd finished his supper, he went straight to bed.
  • After supper, he went straight to bed.
After he'd finished his supper and After supper have the same function, even though they differ in form. (SFL is supposed to be a functional grammar!) 
As you say, one has to decide what one wants to account for at what layer of organisation.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is the view of traditional grammar.  The explanatory advantages provided by the SFL distinction between tactic relations and embedding include the ability to distinguish:
  • in expansion, between non-defining (hypotaxis) and defining (embedding) relative clauses, and
  • in projection, between projected reports (hypotaxis) and pre-projected facts (embedding).

[2] These two forms, the beta clause and the prepositional phrase, do have the same function: Theme.  The principal difference between them is the domain in which each functions as Theme.  The beta clause functions as Theme in a clause nexus, whereas the prepositional phrase functions as (marked) Theme in a clause.

[3] SFG is a functional grammar, but what this means, in terms of the theory, is generally not well understood.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 31):
Being a ‘functional grammar’ means that priority is given to the view ‘from above’; that is, grammar is seen as a resource for making meaning — it is a ‘semanticky’ kind of grammar. But the focus of attention is still on the grammar itself. 
Giving priority to the view ‘from above’ means that the organising principle adopted is one of system: the grammar is seen as a network of interrelated meaningful choices. In other words, the dominant axis is the paradigmatic one: the fundamental components of the grammar are sets of mutually defining contrastive features. Explaining something consists not of stating how it is structured but in showing how it is related to other things: its pattern of systemic relationships, or agnateness (agnation).

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Beatriz Quiroz On Beta Clauses As Marked Themes

Thanks for all of your replies. I think I will still analyse beta clauses at initial position as marked Themes, since in all the texts I've been analysing (in Spanish, across registers) this pattern does seem to signal discontinuities/shifts very clearly, which is very helpful in text analysis. Perhaps, as you seem to suggest, the thing is to decide how carefully you want to account for different layers of textual organisation and on which grounds (clause to clause within complexes...or higher-level waves, as in the analysis put forward by e.g. Martin 1992 and Martin & Rose 2007).

I was just curious about that change in IFG! So in a way, perhaps, IFG's now sticking to (single) clause-wide patterns in a more strict way (without dismissing, neces[s]arily, the possibility of higher-level patterns, as the quote Hailing posted suggests)?

Blogger Comments:

[1] A beta clause in a regressive sequence is not a marked Theme of a clause nexus; it is merely the Theme of a clause nexus.  In order for it to be a marked Theme, there would have to be an unmarked Theme of a clause nexus with which it contrasts; there isn't.  This theoretical misinterpretation can be sourced Martin (1992: 445ff).

[2] There is no change in IFG on the matter of beta clause as Theme in a clause nexus.  The discussion has, instead, been given greater prominence in IFG4.

[3] The post from Hailing Yu included a quote (p551) from the discussion of beta clause as Theme in a clause nexus in IFG4 (pp549-53).

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Mick O'Donnell On The Thematic Status Of Beta Clauses

Does anyone know why in IFG4 beta clauses at initial position are not considered marked Themes any longer (cf. IFG2 and IFG3)? I don't seem to find any reference to the previous analysis there. I've checked both the chapter on Theme and the chapter on clause complexes.
Perhaps as beta clauses are not elements of the clause, they are no longer considered thematic in the alpha clause structure.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In IFG, beta clauses in regressive sequences have never been 'considered thematic in the alpha clause structure'.  The beta clause is thematic in the clause nexus.

[2] The beta clause in a regressive sequence is neither marked nor unmarked Theme.  The features unmarked or marked Theme — not both — are systemic options that are realised in clause structure. The misconstrual of beta clauses in regressive sequences as marked Themes can be traced to Martin (1992: 445).

[3] In IFG4, the discussion of Theme in clause complexes occurs in section 7.6 The Clause Complex as Textual Domain (pp549-53).  That is, in IFG4 the discussion has been made more prominent by being given its own separate section — in IFG3 it was included in the section 7.3 TAXIS: parataxis and hypotaxis (pp383-95), and in IFG2 it was included in the section 3.6 Clauses as Themes (pp54-8).

Friday, 22 July 2016

John Bateman On The Need For Inter-Rater Reliability In SFL Research

Low interrater reliability scores can be indicative of several things: most of which relate to problems that should be considered. One cause of low reliability would be that the coders don't fully understand, or agree on, the way categories should be applied; another cause is that the categories are intrinsically poorly defined, and so agreement is unlikely.
Thus, when categories are meant to be applicable according to some theory (e.g., SFL), checking whether coders can actually apply the categories is not a bad step. The paper:
O'Donnell, M.; Zappavigna, M. & Whitelaw, C. (2008) 'A survey of process type classification over difficult cases'
Jones, C. & Ventola, E. (Eds.) From Language to Multimodality: new developments in the study of ideational meaning, Equinox Publishing Ltd., 47-64.
provides some sobering data on how reliably some categories in transitivity are being applied.
I too would recommend the O'Donnell et al paper. And another paper that is relevant is
Laura Gwilliams and Lise Fontaine. 2015. Indeterminacy in process type classification. Functional Linguistics, 2:8, pages 1-19.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Lack of theoretical understanding is clearly the major reason why Systemic Functional linguists disagree on analyses, as demonstrated by any public discussion — e.g. Sysfling, Sysfunc, Systemic Functional Linguistics Interest Group in which instances are analysed.

[2] To be clear, it is not so much that "categories are intrinsically poorly defined" but that, on SFL model, language itself is said to be an indeterminate system.  For the types of indeterminacy, and the reasons for it, see the views of Halliday & Matthiessen here.

[3] Neither of these papers includes, in its experimental design, the most fundamental principle of grammatical analysis: taking a trinocular perspective.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 504):
A stratified semiotic defines three perspectives, which (following the most familiar metaphor) we refer to as ‘from above’, ‘from roundabout’, and ‘from below’: looking at a given stratum from above means treating it as the expression of some content, looking at it from below means treating it as the content of some expression, while looking at it from roundabout means treating it in the context of (i.e. in relation to other features of) its own stratum.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 31):
We cannot expect to understand the grammar just by looking at it from its own level; we also look into it ‘from above’ and ‘from below’, taking a trinocular perspective. But since the view from these different angles is often conflicting, the description will inevitably be a form of compromise.
In contrast, O'Donnell, in O'Donnell et al. (2008: 63), demonstrates no knowledge of this fundamental principle, framing the problem in terms of a lack of explicit coding criteria:
Both our analysis of individual clauses (Section 3) and of the grouping of coders (Section 4) show that the divide between using conceptual vs. syntactic criteria is widespread throughout the community as a whole, and each individual chooses which path they follow. This is, we believe, the result of the lack of explicit coding criteria in general, and argue that what the community needs is explicitly stated sets of criteria for coding practices, and perhaps distinct criteria descriptions for particular applications.
Gwilliams & Fontaine (2015: 17) are similarly oblivious, recommending a more 'delicate' two level grammatical analysis — one semantic, one syntactic:
Although the motivation for a single-level analysis of experiential meaning is desirable, it does not appear that a one-dimensional classification is always sufficient to account for both syntactic and semantic realisation. If a representative analysis is to be maintained within the SFL framework, it appears that a more delicate analysis of the experiential meta-function is required, in order to provide the individual with all the relevant tools to conduct a fully representative analysis. Specifically the option to annotate syntactic and semantic interpretations separately would alleviate problems associated with the lack of correspondence between these levels.
Lack of theoretical understanding is the pervasive problem in the SFL community, whether it be in analysing language, or in analysing analyses of language — or, indeed, in workbooks designed to teach the theory (evidence here and here).

Inter-rater reliability is merely a statistical measure of the degree of agreement among raters.  In a community where lack of theoretical understanding is demonstrably widespread, at all levels, agreement is not a measure of theoretical competence.

For a humorous angle on the distinction between interpersonal agreement and experiential consistency, see here.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

David Rose Misrepresenting Michæl Halliday

Discourse patterns as low-lying fruit is good metaphor (if we invert stratal model). Grammar is further out of reach, demanding more semiotic labour to learn and apply to text analysis. Halliday’s view…
…lexical meaning is located much nearer the surface of language… Grammar is much more hidden from view (Halliday 2008:75). 
…the patterns we treat as grammatical are those which are buried much deeper below the level of people's consciousness… Lexical patterns are nearer the surface of consciousness (Halliday 2003:120).

Blogger Comment:

Here Rose misleads by strategically misrepresenting the view of Halliday.  The Halliday quotes do not refer to the "lexical" relations of Martin's discourse semantics.  For Halliday, the lexical vs grammatical distinction is one of delicacy, not stratification.

Monday, 4 July 2016

David Rose Analysing A Text "We Don't Understand"

Fantastic effort to combine grammar and discourse, to analyse genre and field. Critical focus is on lexical, conjunction and reference items, for which answer 1 is great text to analyse. You could go a little further and simplify. Here with lexical items in yellow and conjunction, reference, appraisal items in blue.

S1. A system call is a request made by a process to the operating system in order to perform tasks only the operating system can complete
Retrieving a file from a disk, or retrieving/displaying inputs/outputs, are examples of this
nuclear relations, activity sequence and conjunction - what’s going on
line 1 defines system call as type of request from process to operating system
line 2 explains what operating system does then (in order to, only)
line 3 exemplifies types of tasks requested by system call (examples of this)

(nuclear relations are lexical relations within clauses, configured by grammar)

taxonomic relations - why it makes sense
line 1 system call is a type of call, call and request are synonyms, process is technical part of computing field,
lines 1-2 operating and perform tasks are synonymous, operating system is repeated, complete is part of task
lines 2-3 retrieving/displaying are types of task, file/disk/inputs/outputs are parts of operating system

Blogger Comments:

[1] The "fantastic effort" that Rose applauds misconstrues these two clauses of a student's exam answer as attributive rather than identifying.  See clause analysis here.

As the clause analysis shows — but which Rose's discourse semantic analysis doesn't — in the first clause, the student decodes a system call and, in the second clause, the student then encodes examples of this.

[2] To be clear, in Martin's discourse semantics:
  • 'nuclear relations' are expansion relations — mostly misapplied — between experiential elements of clause and group structure;
  • 'activity sequence' is misconstrued as an aspect of field, not discourse semantics;
  • 'conjunction' is the logical system of discourse semantics — which confuses structural (logical) deployments of expansion with cohesive (textual) deployments;
  • 'what's going on' could be either field ('activity sequence') or genre ('social process').

[3] This is only part of the definition, as the grammatical analysis makes clear.  Rose's analysis makes no use of any of the discourse semantic resources: nuclear relations, activity sequence or conjunction.

[4] This part of the definition construes purpose, not time.  Here Rose has applied the discourse semantic resource of conjunction to an embedded clause complex, but misidentified the expansion relation.

[5] As the clause analysis shows, this clause encodes examples of a system call.  In the absence of a clause analysis, Rose misconstrues the meaning realised by the clause, as evinced by his "tasks requested by a system call"; cf. 'a system call is a request made by a process…'.  Again, Rose's analysis makes no use of any of the discourse semantic resources: nuclear relations, activity sequence or conjunction.

[6] Martin's nuclear relations (1992: 309-21) are not lexical relations, but (misapplied) expansion relations between elements of the experiential function structure of clauses (Process, Medium, Range, circumstance), nominal groups (Thing, Classifier, Epithet, Qualifier) and verbal groups (Event, Particle, Quality).  Rose has used none of these relations in his analysis.

[7] As demonstrated here, Martin's experiential discourse semantic system, termed ideation, is a confusion of lexical cohesion (textual metafunction), lexis as most delicate grammar and expansion relations between elements of function structures (logical metafuction).  The taxonomic relations Rose refers to here is the 'lexical cohesion' component.  That is, these relations help to make the text cohesive.

[8] This is not a taxonomic relation in the text — despite the use of 'part' to suggest meronymy.

[9] The suggestion here is that there is a meronymic relation between 'complete' (part) and 'task' (whole).  This can be examined through the lens of expansion relations.  If 'complete' is regarded as a phase of a process, then the type of expansion is elaboration (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 569ff), whereas a meronymic relation is one of extension (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 89).  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 91) provide a different argument:
We can certainly recognise that processes have phases — 'begin to do, keep doing, stop doing'; but it is not immediately clear that these form a process meronymy analogous to the parts of a participant. Although we might reconstrue he began to dance metaphorically as the beginning of his dance on the model of 'the beginning of the book', this is a metaphorical reification of the process 'dance' and we have to be cautious in interpreting the implications for the congruent process 'dance'. If we probe a little further, we can see that process phase is concerned with the occurrence of a process in time — its temporal unfolding: 'begin to do' means 'begin to be actualised (to occur) as doing in time'. In contrast, participant meronymy is not tied to the existence of a participant in referential space.


Despite claiming to provide a discourse semantic analysis of these clauses, Rose makes no use of the system of nuclear relations (discourse semantic ideation) or activity sequences (Martin's register: field), and the one use he makes of discourse semantic conjunction, he gets wrong.  Further, in his use of Martin's lexical relations (discourse semantic ideation) — a relabelling of Halliday's lexical cohesion — he misrepresents meronymic relations.  Moreover, there was no analysis of appraisal, genre or field.

Most importantly, the fact that the student provided two identifying clauses, with the first decoding a technical term, and the second encoding examples, was not recognised.

Given all of the above, it is fair to say that the aim of the exercise was not pedagogy.


Friday, 1 July 2016

David Rose Promoting Jim Martin's Ideation

To interpret relations between a technical field and its realisation as text, the challenge for linguists, as ever, is to escape the limits of grammar. Fields are realised as patterns of ideation - taxonomic relations, nuclear relations and activity sequences, organised in hierarchies of periodicity.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This blurs the distinction between stratification and instantiation.  In terms of stratification, field, the ideational dimension of context, is realised in semantics.  In terms of instantiation, text is an instance of potential.  As an instance of potential, a text realises an instance of context, namely: a context of situation.

[2] This is merely an unsolicited plug for Martin's discourse semantics.  (For a very thorough critique of this theory, see here.)  The misunderstanding here is stratificational.  Grammar and semantics are two levels of symbolic abstraction, two angles on the same phenomenon, namely: the content plane of language.  As Halliday points out, the semantics that language has is only made possible by the grammar.  The grammar doesn't just realise the semantics, it construes it.

[3] This again blurs the distinction between stratification (realisation) and instantiation (patterns).  Field is realised by semantics (stratification), system is realised by structure (axis), on each stratum.  Patterns are formed by the selection of features during the instantiation process, whereby systemic potential is actualised as text during logogenesis.

[4] As the critiques on Discourse Semantic Theory demonstrate, Martin's experiential discourse semantic system of ideation is a confusion of lexical cohesion (textual metafunction), lexis as most delicate grammar (delicacy) and logical relations between elements of clause structure (mostly misapplied).  Of his model, Martin (1992: 325) writes:
The level of discourse semantics is the least differentiated as far as ideational meaning is concerned. This is mainly due to the fact that the description developed here has focussed on relationships between experiential meanings, rather than the experiential meanings themselves.
[5] This is even inconsistent with Martin's model.  Martin (1992: 321ff, 517) regards activity sequences as an aspect of field, not ideation (experiential discourse semantics).  See a brief critique here, or other arguments critiquing this chapter at Discourse Semantic Theory.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Shooshi Dreyfus On The Transitivity Of 'Live'

In response to the following query on the Systemic Functional Linguistics Interest Group:
What kind of process is 'live' in the following sentence - We live in the same city. Is it relational??? Identifying circumstantial?
Not relational and there's conjecture whether it's material or behavioural. If you are a strict Hallidayan, it might be behavioural as only sensate beings can do behavioural processes whereas anything, sensate or non-sensate can do material processes. However, as a Martinian, behavioural clauses are those that seem like verbal and mental but can't project. Definitely NOT relational as relational relates one participant to another.
and on 23 June 2016:
[In the] example 'he is in the kitchen', 'in the kitchen' is not functioning as a circumstance in this instance, it's functioning as an Attribute. Circumstantial meanings are incredibly versatile and can move around the clause mapping onto all kinds of constituents … . And from above, living is NOT being. Though we could probably argue about that till the cows come home, … And I recall Fran Christie telling me that Michael Halliday told her that living and dying are material.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The clause we live in the same city is an intensive attributive relational clause — as opposed to material — on several grounds.

Viewed from above, it means 'we are in the same city' rather than 'we do in the same city'.  That is, in terms of the complementary perspectives of being-&-having and doing-&-happening, the construal is one of being.

Viewed from roundabout, the unmarked present tense is simple not the present-in-present, so relational not material.  If it were material, the simple present tense would be marked because it would carry the added feature 'habitual'.

A 'behavioural' interpretation is ruled out by the definition of behavioural processes as physiological and psychological processes as behaviours.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 171):
On the borderline between ‘material’ and ‘mental’ are the behavioural processes: those that represent the outer manifestations of inner workings, the acting out of processes of consciousness and physiological states.
[2] To be 'a strict Hallidayan' is merely to understand and apply the theory that is the brainchild of Halliday;  Cf 'a strict Einsteinian'.

synonyms: precise, exact, faithful, true, accurate, unerring, scrupulous, careful, meticulous, rigorous
antonyms: imprecise, loose

[3] This is not a criterion for distinguishing behavioural processes from material and relational processes.  Conscious beings can participate in all process types.

[4] In matters of grammar, Martin purports to be following Halliday — e.g. Martin, Matthiessen & Painter (2010: i) — and so, any differences are misunderstandings, rather than competing interpretations. The treatment of behavioural processes in this work, Deploying Functional Grammar, is particularly confused, as demonstrated here.  Moreover, contrary to Dreyfus' claim, Martin et al. (2010: 124) analyse some projecting clauses as behavioural.

[5] This is misleading in two ways.  On the one hand, there are relational clauses with only one participant (Carrier).  This occurs when a quality is construed as a qualitative Process (it matters) rather than as a qualitative Attribute (it is important); see Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 222).

On the other hand, the prepositional phrases in the same city and in the kitchen serve as circumstantial Attributes; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 240-1).

With regard to the participanthood of Attribute, Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 123) write:
… the Attribute cannot be mapped onto the interpersonal rôle of Subject.  This is because only participants in the clause can take modal responsibility, and the Attribute is only marginally, if at all, a participant.
[6] Hearsay is not argument, and in this case, it demonstrably misrepresents Halliday's view.  The function of a verb (verbal group) depends on the clause in which it figures.  The verb 'live' can serve as a material Process (he lives life to the max), as a relational Process (he lives in Japan), and as an existential Process (Elvis lives).

Saturday, 20 February 2016

David Rose Promoting Jim Martin's Misconstrual Of Context As Register (inter alia)

After Shooshi Dreyfus posted the following analysis to sysfling and sys-func on 19 February 2016 at 11:12 in which she asked about the final prepositional phrase:
an often-overlooked alternative to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels
Process: attributive
and Jing Fang offered the following analysis on sys-func at 11:55:
to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels

This is a great example of complementarity of grammar and discourse semantics in construing register
In field, ‘metal' and 'liquid and gaseous solar fuels' are construed as members of a more general class (of what I have no idea). This classification is construed in discourse semantics by relating these lexical items as co-hyponyms. This relation is construed in the grammar 1) at clause rank by configuring ‘metal' as Carrier and the relation itself as a classifying Attribute ‘an alternative’ 2) at group rank by embedding 'liquid and gaseous solar fuels’ as a Qualifier of ‘an alternative’.
In tenor, the usage of metal is explicitly negatively appreciated as ‘often-overlooked’, and this appraisal is configured in grammar as an Epithet of ‘an alternative’. This is why the relation is configured as Thing, so it can be evaluated non-negotiably with an Epithet. Secondly, 'liquid and gaseous solar fuels’ are positively appreciated as ‘energy-dense’, again configured as Epithet (perhaps explaining why they are preferred to metal). 
In mode, the textual function of all this metaphorical re-construal is to present ‘metal’ as the topic and ‘often-overlooked alternative’ as the point the writer is making.
We could also interpret the field implications of the lexical item ‘often-overlooked’, and of configuring 'liquid and gaseous solar fuels’ as a Location.

nice analysis.

Blogger Comments:

[1] By 'register' here, Rose means the SFL stratum of context (field, tenor and mode).  That is, he follows Martin in confusing the culture as a semiotic system (context) with a functional variety of language (register).  Martin's misunderstandings of register are explained here and his misunderstandings of context are explained here.  The misunderstanding is largely a confusion of stratification (context is more symbolically abstract that language) with instantiation (register is a subpotential of language).

[2] Here Rose confuses the ideational dimension of the context of situation (field) — which he misconstrues as register — with the ideational content of the text that realises the context of situation.

[3] Here Rose demonstrates that he doesn't understand the text, and that his analytical method provides him with no assistance.  In the lexicogrammar, on an attributive reading of the clause metals are construed as members of the class an often-overlooked alternative to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels

For the reason pointed out by Tom Bartlett, the clause can also be read as identifying. On an identifying reading, metals are identified as (an example of) an often-overlooked alternative to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels.

[4] In SFL theory, hyponymic relations are modelled as lexical cohesion, which along with grammatical cohesion, is a non-structural resource of the textual metafunction.  As the words 'lexical' and 'grammatical' imply, cohesion is a system located on the lexicogrammatical stratum.  The model Rose is promoting here is Martin's experiential discourse semantic system, (inconsistently) named ideation.  As demonstrated here, this model of experiential semantics is mainly a confusion of lexical cohesion (textual metafunction), lexis as most delicate grammar, and logical relations between elements of clause structure, mostly misapplied.

[5] At clause rank in the grammar, the relation is realised, appropriately enough, by the relational process.  On the attributive reading, a relation of intensive attribution obtains between the Carrier metals and the Attribute an often-overlooked alternative to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels.  On the identifying reading, a relation of intensive identity obtains between the Identified Token metals and the Identifier Value an often-overlooked alternative to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels.  On both readings, the logical relation between the participants, as realised by the Process, is one of elaboration.

[6] At group rank in the grammar, the Thing alternative is qualified by to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels.  Semantically, alternative is itself a quality of extension (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 211), as Jing Fang (more or less) pointed out.

[7] Here Rose confuses the interpersonal dimension of the context of situation (tenor) — which he misconstrues as register — with the interpersonal content of the text that realises the context of situation.

[8] Here Rose mistakes a Classifier for an Epithet.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 320):
Classifiers do not accept degrees of comparison or intensity … and they tend to be organised in mutually exclusive and exhaustive sets …
[9] Here Rose confuses the textual dimension of the context of situation (mode) — which he misconstrues as register — with the textual content of the text that realises the context of situation.

[10] Here Rose relocates Martin's discourse semantic system of 'point' into the context of situation (mode) — which he misconstrues as register.  In SFL theory, the issue here is one of information distribution.  The lexical density of the Complement suggests that the clause is likely to be co-extensive with (at least) two information units, with the first focus of New information on alternative and another on solar fuels.

[11] Here Rose misconstrues the Qualifier to energy-dense liquid and gaseous solar fuels as a Location, presumably on the basis of the minor Process to.  On the other hand, the field implications of the "lexical item" ‘often-overlooked’ may forever remain a mystery, at least to this reader of the single-clause text.

For the benefit of those who don't understand what goes on in the Sydney SFL community — which appears to be most of the people in it — normally Rose uses any grammar question on the email lists as an excuse to promote Martin's discourse semantics.  However, here he is using a grammar question as an excuse to promote Martin's "register".

The reason for Rose's switch to promoting Martin's "register", on this occasion, is in order to help endorse Martin's claim, made two days before, at the symposium to honour the late Ruqaiya Hasan, that the model she used is flawed and that, therefore, everyone should be using his model instead. A recording of the session in which Martin misrepresented the deceased can be heard here.