Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sys-Func Discussion Of Theme Analysis [1]

On the sys-func discussion list, at 21:37 on 11 October 2011, Van Tran sought help in analysing the thematic structure of the following:

One year after they got married, they found ....


Tom Bartlett replied at 23:52 11 October 2011:
As an alternative analysis to Mick's (O'Donnell's analysis of one year [[after they got married]] as a nominal group realising Theme), you could have "one year" as modifying the conjunction "after".
Tom's reasoning at this stage:
This might appear a bit unusual, but from a fucntional [sic] perspective I think it looks like that is what is happening.


Mick O'Donnell then replied:
I'd buy that. Makes sense.










Blogger Comments:

(1) On Halliday's theoretical model, this is not "what is happening".
Premodifiers in conjunction groups, as in their sister adverbial groups, are grammatical items — adverbs of polarity, comparison or intensification, such as even, just, not, only) not lexical items like (one) year [Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 356, 358].

(2) On Halliday's theoretical model, one year [[after they got married]] is a nominal group realising a circumstance of Location: time.  The function structure of the nominal group is as follows:
one Numerative
year Thing
[[after they got married]] Qualifier (realised by a rank-shifted clause).

(3) The utter ludicrousness of regarding preceding lexical words as Premodifiers within a conjunction group can be seen in the following, with the supposed conjunction group highlighted in green:

One excruciatingly painful and somewhat hazardous, and not to say chaotic year after they got married …

See also nominal conjunctions.

Sys-Func Discussion Of Theme Analysis [2]

Lise Fontaine replied on sys-func at 18:12 on 12 October 2011:
I agree with Tom's view.  There are many examples related to this:
after they got married
right after they got married
one year after they got married
10 years after the got married
and there are other prepositions which follow similar patterns.  In IFG terms this ('one year after') constitutes a prepositional group within a prepositional phrase.


Blogger Comments:

(1) Lise says she agrees with Tom's view, even though Tom mistakenly analyses one year after as a conjunction group, while she mistakenly analyses it as a preposition group.

(2) In IFG terms:

after they got married is a clause initiated by the (unmodified) conjunction group after
right after they got married is a clause initiated by the (premodified) conjunction group right after
one year [[after they got married]] is a nominal group with an embedded clause as Qualifier
10 years [[after they got married]] is a nominal group with an embedded clause as Qualifier
and
those twenty unforgettable though nightmarish years [[after they got married]] is a nominal group with an embedded clause as Qualifier

Sys-Func Discussion Of Theme Analysis [3]

Lise Fontaine continued on sys-func at 18:52 on 13 October 2011:
I'm just leaving for a conference so my reply won't be as detailed as I would like. I should say though that I wasn't suggesting I was representing the views of IFG in my reply, only that I agreed with Tom's analysis.



Blogger comments:

Lise says "I wasn't suggesting I was representing the views of IFG in my reply", but in that reply she had written:
"In IFG terms this ('one year after') constitutes a prepositional group within a prepositional phrase".

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sys-Func Discussion Of Theme Analysis [4]

In response to the IFG-consistent analysis provided by Ernest Akerejola, Tom Bartlett replied at 18:19 on 13 October 2011:
I think that your analysis is posssible, but I still prefer the analysis with "one year" as modifying "before".

Tom's Reasoning:
(1) Compare "three times before they were married they went on holiday together", which means that each time individually was before they got married. In this case "before they got married" is a modifier in the ngp with "time" [sic] as head. 
(2) In "Three years before they got married" this is not the case, there is only one occasion. We are told something happened before they got married and additionally how long before
(3) However, in the seemingly similar sentence "The year before they got married they bought a house together" I would analyse "before they got married" as an embedded clause within the noun group "the year before they got married". Something happened in a particular year which is defined as being the one before their wedding.


Blogger Comments:

Tom's analyses in (1) and (3) are consistent with Halliday's analysis.  That is:
three times [[before they were married]]
the year [[before they got married]]

However, his claim that three years before they got married is not the same grammatically, ie
three years [[before they got married]]
is not consistent with Halliday's analysis.

More significantly, the argumentation that Tom uses to support his different analysis is entirely spurious.  There is no grammatical reasoning involved.  Instead, the grammatical difference is said to turn on the distinction between:

"each time individually was before they got married" and
"something happened in a particular year which is defined as being the one before their wedding"

versus:

"something happened before they got married and additionally how long before".

Sys-Func Discussion Of Theme Analysis [5]

Tom Bartlett continues in his response to Ernest Akerejola:
I would analyse "exactly one year after they got married" as [[exactly[one year]] after they got married], with "exactly" modifying the noun "one year" and the whole the ngp "exactly one year" modifying the conjunction "before".





Blogger Comments:

(1) one year is not a noun; it is part of the nominal group; the Numerative of the nominal group is exactly one; the logical structure of the Numerative is b^a —ie exactly modifies one (not one year).

(2) The IFG analysis is exactly one year [[after they got married]], for reasons given previously. So:

exactly one: Numerative
year: Thing
[[after they got married]]: Qualifier