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.

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