Thursday, 27 December 2012

David Rose On Process Type Vs "Verb Type"

On 20/12/12 David Rose wrote on the sys- func and sysfling lists:
It is very common to confuse process type with type of verb, but they are at different ranks in the grammar.
This confusion is possibly not helped by expert discussions that often elide this distinction, for example of 'lexis as delicate grammar'.

Blogger Comments:

[1] process type is a functional system at the rank of clause, whereas "type of verb" is a type of form, like 'clause type' or 'group type', and as such, is not a functional system at word rank.

In SFL theory, the functional system that is realised by lexical verbs is the verbal group system of event type,  which is concerned with the temporal properties of verbs and not, for example, their potentiality in realising process type.  Halliday and Matthiessen (2004: 348):
… the system network of the verbal group is a network of systems representing contrasts that are purely grammatical in nature.  The only system that extends in delicacy towards distinctions that are realised lexically is the system of event type — the verbal group analogue of the thing type system in the nominal group.  This system is concerned with distinctions among verbs relating to their temporal properties (thus complementing the clausal system of process type, which is concerned with distinctions among processes relating to configurations of process plus participants).

[2] Expert discussions of 'lexis as delicate grammar' are not even concerned with the distinction between process type and "type of verb" — let alone elide it — and any discussion that confuses either function with form, or the rank scale with the scale of delicacy is manifestly inexpert.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

David Banks On Behavioural Processes

David Banks wrote at 19:52 8/12/12 on the Sysfling list:
I've been following this string with interest. Earlier this year, at the Bertinoro conference, I gave a paper on Behavioural Process, in which I argued that if one tries to synthesize what is said about Behavioural Process in various introductions, the result is contradictory and incoherent. At the risk of being called a heretic (again!), I suggest that it is preferable to uses a system with 5 process types, eliminating Behavioural Process. I treat Verbal Process as being processes of communication, within which it is possible to distinguish two sub-groups: those that project, and those that don't.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Indeed, the treatment of behavioural processes in Deploying Functional Grammar (Martin, Matthiessen & Painter 2010) is clearly inconsistent with Halliday & Matthiessen (2004).  For example, the former analyses the clause the tyres went 'screech!' as behavioural, whereas the latter characterises behavioural processes as processes of psychological and physiological behaviour.  See 'Deploying Functional Grammar' On "Behavioural" Processes.

[2] Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 248-50, 255) already acknowledge that:
They are the least distinct of all the six process types because they have no clearly defined characteristics of their own; rather they are partly like the material and partly like the mental. … ‘behavioural’ process clauses are not so much a distinct type of process, but rather a cluster of small subtypes blending the material and the mental into a continuum …
and suggest (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 136):
These can be interpreted as a subtype of material processes or as a borderline category between material and mental.

 [3] Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 256) already specify verbal processes that don't — or rarely — project reported locutions:
Verbs that accept a Target do not easily project reported speech; this type of clause is closer to the Actor + Goal structure of a ‘material’ clause …

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tom Bartlett On Verbal Clauses

On 7 December 2012, at 21:32, Jim Martin wrote on the Sysfling list:
This set also takes present in present tense, like other behaviourals.
They can project in Languages like Japanese, as Teruya points out, but not
in English.
to which Tom Bartlett replied on 8 December 2012, at 10:15:
Verbals also take present in present when we have a human speaker and are referring to a current act.
What's she doing? She's telling him that she's just had a promotion.
I think the present simple use signals a shift towards the identifying use:
The article explains that it was all an accident. (Verbal)
The blood on the carpet (Tk) tells us that there has been an accident (Val). (Identifying)

Blogger Comments:

[1] The set referred to is "to criticize", "to praise", "to enjoy" — none of which is behavioural.  The first two are verbal processes that admit a Target, and so rarely project; the last is a mental process.

[2] Martin's claim was that the present in present is the unmarked present tense for this set, not that present-in-present is not used, as Bartlett mistakenly inferred.

[3] This is a clause complex in which a verbal clause projects an existential clause as its content (locution/wording), not an identifying clause.  Click here for a transitivity analysis.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tom Bartlett On Projection

At 10:08am 8/12/12 on the Sysfling list, Tom Bartlett wrote:
Re criticising etc projecting, I suspect there is something rather different going on and that there is a shortened macrophenomenon as the Complement, e.g.
They criticised (the fact) that she had come.
The short form is not in my own idiolect so I can't make a strong judgment on this, but it seems to parallel the projecting/reacting distinction in :
I said (*the fact) that she had come - projecting.
I regretted (the fact) that she had come - macrophenomenon as Complement.
My guess then is that some speakers (of EFL, if you like) can omit "the fact" for both mental and verbal reactions, unlike my idiolect, which only allows this for mental reactions, rather than that these varieties can project after targeting verbal processes.

Blogger Comments:

A fact is a metaphenomenon, not a macrophenomenon; a macrophenomenon is an act.
Facts are 'pre-projected'; that is, they are not related by projection to a verbal or mental clause in the clause complex in which they figure.
Click here for transitivity analyses.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tom Bartlett On Initiator Vs Actor

Tom Bartlett wrote on Sysfling 
In IFG2 (pp.164 and 171) Halliday analyses "the nail tore the cloth" as "the nail (Ac/Ag) tore the cloth (Go/Med)" but "the police exploded the bomb" as "the police (Initiator/Ag) exploded the bomb (Ac/Med)". I cannot follow his argument as to the Initiator/Actor distinction between the nail and the police here. Both clauses can be paraphrased with MAKE: "the nail made the cloth tear" and "the police made the bomb explode" and in both cases the omission of the Complement changes the Medium: "the nail tore" and "the police exploded". Can anyone explain to me the linguistic reasoning behind the different transitive (cf. ergative) analyses?

Blogger Comment:

Because the nail tore the cloth is a transitive material clause, it is Actor^Process^Goal.  It is transitive because the tearing process performed by the nail extends to another participant.

Because the police exploded the bomb is an intransitive material clause (the bomb exploded) with the feature of 'cause' added, it is Initiator^Process^Actor.  It is intransitive because the exploding process performed by the bomb does not extend to another participant.

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 292):
In a material process, [the Agent] is the Actor — provided the process is one that has a Goal [ie in a transitive clause]; otherwise [ie in an intransitive clause] it may be present as the Initiator of the process.
See also here.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Robin Fawcett On Modulation

On 25/10/12 on the Sysfling list in an email titled 'on the modal operator', Sharon Shaw (肖祎) asked:
how do you classify the phrase "be necessary" and "be allowed to" in the modal system? do they belong to the modal operator ?

to which Robin Fawcett replied:
A good question!  As it happens, I can provide you with an answer - or rather, the two answers that are needed, because the two cases are different.  Notice that we can say "Ivy is allowed to eat that" but not "Ivy is necessary to eat that " - though we can say "Ivy is necessary (to/for the success of this project)".
Let us take "be necessary" first.  I'm guessing, but I suspect that Sharon may be thinking of examples such as 
"It is necessary (for Ivy) to be there."  
This is an example of the construction that is best described, in functional terms, as an "evaluative enhanced theme" construction.  (This is in contrast with the "experiential enhanced theme" construction, as throughly researched and described in Huang 1996 and 2003.)  Thus the experiential meaning of "It is necessary (for Ivy) to be there" is the same as that of "For Ivy) to be there is necessary", and in both cases the analysis is that "(For Ivy) to be there" is a Subject/Carrier and "necessary" is a Complement/Attribute.  
But in our example the Performer has chosen to make the evaluative Attribute "necessary" the Theme, and to "enhance" it by preceding it by the experientially empty Subject "it" (followed by a form of "be").  See Chapter 10 of Fawcett 2009 for a full description of this construction and its meanings.    
What about Sharon's second example of "be allowed to"?   This is just one example of an area of the lexicogrammar that is seriously underdescribed (even in Quirk et al 1985).  It is the area of meanings and forms that are typically realized in a modal verb that expounds the (Finite) Operator - but which are also realized in expressions such as "be allowed to", "be able to", "be likely to", "be supposed to", "be going to" and "have got to" (to cite just the few examples that most big grammars refer to, typically as minor aberrations).  But such examples are merely the tip of a pretty large iceberg, and the description in IFG is, as Halliday himself says (1994: 362), "no more than a thumbnail sketch" (e.g. it surprisingly omits "be able to", "be obliged to" and "be inclined to").   (The relevant section in Halliday 1994 is pp 355-63, this being unchanged in Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 616-25.)
The need for a fuller SFG description of this area was the reason why, in my contribution to the 'second round' of  festschrift volumes for Michael Halliday published in 1907 (Continuing Discourse on Language: a Functional Perspective, edited by Hasan, Matthiessen and Webster), I chose to provide a SFG account of this area of the lexicogrammar.  I wanted to contribute a description of an area that (i) was reasonably fully described in the Cardiff Grammar and - in the context of a volume that was intended as a tribute to Halliday - (ii) was not a direct alternative to the description in IFG.  Indeed, my hope was that it be a contribution to the common pool of SFG descriptions, and one that could be incorporated in any future revision of IFG.*
The statistics in Biber et al 1999 suggest that in most text types well over one in every 200 words is of the type illustrated here, so this is no way a fringe area of the lexicogrammar of English. It demands a description in its own right, rather than as an a"add-on" to an account of the modal verbs. So the full description of this area constitutes a major paper, which is probably to long to be accepted as an attachment on sysfling. So I attach the first section and, if you wish to have the full paper, complete with diagrams of how to analyse texts that contain such examples, please email me and I will send you a copy.
As I say in the above attachment, a description of this area of meanings and forms requires us to recognize more elements in the structure of the clause than are used in IFG , because more that one such trio of Auxiliary + Auxiliary Extension + Infinitive may occur in the same clause, e.g.
"He is bound to going to be willing to attend the meeting (if she asks him nicely)."
In the Cardiff Grammar these are all treated as elements of the clause rather than the "verbal group" - a unit that many systemicists - and not only those who use the Cardiff Model - have long since rejected. For a brief summary of the reasons for treating the elements of Halliday's "verbal group" as elements of the clause and for references to the the publication that sets out the full argument, see Footnote 27 on pp 49-50 of Fawcett 2008 (which also provides a readable introduction to the Cardiff Grammar's method of clause analysis). Alternatively, if you wish to use Halliday's verbal group you can simply treat these elements as elements of it.

Blogger Comment:

Neither of Sharon's examples includes elements that function as Modal operators in the verbal group.  As Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 592) point out:
the semantic domain of modality is construed in more than one place in the grammar; for example, it is construed by clauses such as I suppose and it is possible, by verbal groups with finite modal operators such as may and by adverbial groups and modal adverbs such as perhaps.
In it is necessary, the semantic domain of obligation is realised grammatically as an attributive clause; while in Ivy is allowed to eat that, obligation is realised grammatically as a verbal group complex (see Halliday & Matthiesssen 2004: 513) — which is, of course, why such cases are not discussed in their section on the verbal group.  (Fawcett's error on this latter point may be the source of Mick O'Donnell's similar confusion; see Mick O'Donnell On Process Types.)

See also: 
Robin Fawcett On The Verbal Group 
Qualities Of Projection

Monday, 1 October 2012

David Rose On Cause

On 30/9/12, on the sysfling list, Sabiha Choura wrote:
I have met the following difficulty while analysing my corpus:
Adiposity and low aerobic fitness in children are associated with a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors.
Is the process "are associated" an identifying circumstancial process expressing accompaniment or an identifying intensive process?

To which David Rose replied:
Cause = time x obligation
Obligation is gradable, so is cause
may do : will do : must do ::
are associated with : arise from : are caused by

Blogger Comments:

[1] Viewed from 'round about', the clause is intensive, not circumstantial, since it has an implicit Assigner, and the system of ASSIGNMENT has the feature 'intensive' as an entry condition.  Click here for a transitivity analysis.

[2] Cause is not "time x obligation"; cause and time are features of ideational construals, whereas obligation is  a feature of interpersonal enactment.  The ideational and interpersonal metafunctions are distinct perspectives on language: language viewed in terms of its function of construing experience vs language viewed in terms of its function of enacting interpersonal relations.

[3] "Obligation is gradable" — so is the greyscale from white to black.  This red herring exemplifies the type of logical fallacy concerned with fallacies of relevance: attempts to prove a conclusion by offering considerations that simply don’t bear on its truth.

[4] May and will are low and median values, respectively, of probability (modalisation) not obligation (modulation).

[5] The meanings are associated with and arise from are not low and median values of are caused by.  See, for example, correlation does not imply causation.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

David Rose On Stratification [17/8/12]

On 17 Aug  2012, David Rose wrote on the Sys-Func and Sysfling lists:
For similar reasons, perhaps we could give up the triplet 'meaning, wording, sounding' as misleading, since as Halliday has said meaning can "refer to patterns at all strata"
Then we could sensibly distinguish discourse semantics, clause semantics, and tone group semantics, recognise the semantic contributions of each stratum, and celebrate the descriptive contributions of each group of researchers.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The use of the terms 'meaning, wording, sounding' as descriptions of linguistic strata is not misleading.  They are terms that Halliday himself uses to clarify what he means by the strata that are more formally labelled as semantics, lexicogrammar and phonology.  What is misleading is the claim that they are misleading.

The distinction between meaning and wording is, of course, also made within the lexicogrammar with respect to projection.  Mental processes project meanings (ideas); verbal processes project wordings (locutions).  These processes project the semiotic order of experience: the content plane of language.  [See for example Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 443).]

[2] Halliday's stratification model uses the more specific sense of 'meaning', as his use of the terms 'meaning, wording, sounding' suggests, and as he stated explicitly in a quote previously cited by Rose himself:
Note that “meaning” is here being used in its narrower, more specific sense, to refer just to patterns in semantics.
[3] To speak of 'discourse semantics, clause semantics, and tone group semantics' not only makes the term 'semantics' redundant, but ignores what strata represent: different levels of symbolic abstraction.  Note also that the stratum of phonology has been reduced here to one of its rank units, the tone group, to (knowingly) conceal the more obvious absurdities of, say, syllable or phoneme semantics.

[4] The 'descriptive contributions of each group of researchers' can be "celebrated" by anyone who wishes to "celebrate descriptive contributions".  Understanding the theory accurately in its own terms is the issue, not ± celebration.

Clearly, the mention of this as an issue is an example of the logical fallacy known as the argument from adverse consequences, which rejects an argument because its consequences are undesirable, or because accepting it could mean accepting something we would prefer not to acknowledge.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Jim Martin On Context, Instantiation & Stratification

On Sysfling and Sys-Func, on 17 August 2012, Jim Martin wrote:
One possibility would be to give up the terms 'context of culture' and 'context of situation' as confusing.
Genre and register (field, tenor and mode) can be used as names of strata in models using a stratified model of context.
The term context alone can be used in models with just a single stratum of context (field, tenor and mode).
My impression is that both the stratified and unstratified models of context privilege context as a stratum of meaning, moving upwards in abstraction from (discourse) semantics – that is their modelling ideal. 
In a stratified model, context as a stratum of meaning is formalised in genre networks realised through register (field, tenor and mode) networks. In an unstratified model context as a stratum of meaning is formalised as field, tenor and mode networks.
All strata instantiate, so in either model system [formalised in networks as phonology/graphology, lexicogrammar, (discourse) semantics, plus context as field, tenor and mode or as register (field, tenor and mode) plus genre] is instantiated in text. We don't give a separate name to the instantiation of phonology, or the instantiation of lexicogrammar, or the instantiation of (discourse) semantics, so why give a special name to the instantiation of the stratum of context (i.e. context of culture instantiated as context of situation) and distinguished from the collective instantiation of phonology/graphology, lexicogrammar and semantics as text? We can simply have a stratified system, with context as a stratum (or two), realised through (discourse) semantics realised through lexicogrammar realised through phonology/graphology - all instantiated as text (or readings of text if we want to push instantiation a rung further and treat text as still a meaning potential to some degree). 
We of course have to bring multimodality into the picture; but that is the same problematic issue whether we have an unstratified model of context or not. Our notion of system on the instantiation hierarchy has ultimately to be broadened to allow for coupling across modalities, each with their own realisation hierarchy, so we end up with instances of multimodal text.
So I guess I am suggesting that the notion of context as a higher level stratum of meaning doesn't seem to be properly reconciled with instantiation in SFL models that distinguish the instantiation of context of culture in context of situation from the instantiation of language systems in text. If context is a higher stratum of meaning, then there is one instantiation process, not two.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The term 'context of culture' simply means context as system, and the term 'context of situation' simply means context as instance, where 'context' means a higher (more abstract) semiotic that is realised in language [ie Halliday's stratified model].  Confusion only arises when context is construed instead as language (register and genre) [ie Martin's stratified model].  Construing context as language suggests that Martin understood context as co-text when he devised his model.

[2] If genre and register are construed as contextual strata, then the meaning (valeur) of both 'context' and 'register' changes.  'Context' is construed as language instead of context, and 'register' is construed as more abstract than semantics instead of a more specific type of language.  This means that 'register' no longer means 'a functional variety of language', since higher strata are not functional varieties of lower strata — eg lexicogrammar is not a functional variety of phonology.  Using the term 'register' for context is thus likely to create confusion.

[3] The impression that "both the stratified and unstratified models of context privilege context as a stratum of meaning" in the narrow sense of linguistic meaning is a false impression.  In Martin's stratified model, contextual strata are construed as meaning, and accordingly, to a limited extent, they can be seen as construing semantics.  However, in Halliday's unstratified model, on the other hand, context is realised in meaning (semantics).  This demonstrates the confusion that can arise from construing "all strata make meaning" (semogenesis) as "all strata have meaning".

[4] The clause "all strata instantiate" is as big a source of theoretical confusion as "all strata make meaning".  The underlying reason for this is that the relation between instance and system is attributive.  That is, in a congruent representation of the theory, the instance pole of the cline is Carrier and the system pole of the cline is Attribute.  However, the verb 'instantiate' does not function as an Attributive process, as shown by the fact that, unlike Attributive processes, it can be used in receptive clauses.  This means that the theoretical relation cannot be expressed congruently using the verb 'instantiate'.  So the clause 'all strata instantiate' is, at best, an incongruent expression of the theory, which needs to be unpacked in a way that is true to the theoretical meaning.  And this is complicated further by the fact that the theoretical notion of instantiation also refers to a process: the selection of features in system networks and the activation of their realisation statements.

[5] It is simply not true that, in both models, context "is instantiated in text".  In Halliday's model, text is an instance of the system of language, not an instance of context.  It is the context of situationnot the text — that is an  instance of the context of culture.  The text, as an instance of language, and the situation, as an instance of context, are related stratally by realisation (symbolic abstraction).

[6] One reason for using the terms 'context of culture' and 'context of situation' when talking about the cline of instantiation at the level of context is that it clarifies which pole of the cline — system or instance — we are referring to.  We do the same in the case of the linguistic strata (semantics, lexicogrammar, phonology) when we use the term 'text' to refer to the instance pole of the cline.

[7] Again, context is not 'instantiated as text' (see [5]).  Text realises context (of situation).

[8] "Readings of text" does not "push instantiation a rung futher".  The relation between 'readings of a text' and a text is not the same as the (instantial) relation between a text and a linguistic system.  Locating 'readings of a text' as a point on the cline of instantiation creates a theoretical inconsistency.

[9] The text is an actualised instance of meaning potential: an ongoing instantial system (with or without 'readings of text' on the cline of instantiation — or anywhere else.)

[10] The notion of 'system' on the cline of instantiation does not need "ultimately to be broadened to allow for coupling across modalities".  The cline of instantiation models the relation between a system and instances of a system.  To the extent that "coupling" just means the co-selection of features, this is already built into the theoretical model as probabilities of co-selection at the system pole, as differences in probabilities across registers, in the middle of the cline, and as differences in actual co-selection frequencies at the instance pole.  And also to the extent that "coupling" just means the co-selection of features, it misses the point of co-selection, since what is significant about co-selected features is not that they are "coupled", but the relations between them, as defined by the architecture of the theory.

[11] It is certainly true that "the notion of context as a higher level stratum of meaning doesn't seem to be properly reconciled with instantiation in SFL models that distinguish the instantiation of context of culture in context of situation from the instantiation of language systems in text".  But the only stratification model that treats context as "a higher level stratum of meaning" is Martin's model.  In Halliday's model, meaning is located stratally in semantics.  Again, this demonstrates the confusion that can arise from construing "all strata make meaning" (semogenesis) as "all strata have meaning".

[12] Context is not a higher stratum of meaning on Halliday's model, and the process of instantiation can be viewed at any of the levels of symbolic abstraction: context, semantics, lexicogrammar, phonology.  The question of there being one or two processes of instantiation does not arise in Halliday's model.

David Rose On Register

David Rose wrote on Sysfling and Sys-Func on 17 August 2012: 
I just wanted to clarify, that in both Halliday's and Martin's interpretations, register refers to the relation between field, tenor and mode and their linguistic realisation. The difference is that Halliday defines the relation 'from below' as "the linguistic features which are typically associated with...particular values of the field, mode and tenor" (Halliday and Hasan 1976), while Martin defines it 'from above' as variations in "field, tenor and mode realised through language".
The difference seems to me not merely in terminology but in appliability, depending on one's goals. Likewise whether genre is construed as a more abstract level of context, or as a sub-class of tenor (functional tenor) or mode (rhetorical mode).

Blogger Comments:

[1] In Halliday's model, the term 'register' refers to a point of variation on the cline of instantiation.  Looked at from the system pole, each register is a subpotential of the linguistic system that realises a subpotential of the system of context; looked at from the instance pole, each register is a type of instance of the linguistic system, a text type, that realises a type of instance of the context system, a situation type.

In Martin's model, on the other hand, the term 'register' refers to a stratum.  This means it is modelled as a system — not a subpotential of the system — that is more abstract than the content plane of language. However, 'context' does not have the same meaning in Martin's model as Halliday's model, since its contextual strata, register and genre, are both levels of language rather than a semiotic that is more abstract than language.  As a result, the terms 'field' 'tenor' and 'mode' — at least to the extent that they are used self-consistently — also mean differently in Martin's model.

[2] As such, the difference between the models is not that Halliday "defines the relation 'from below'" and Martin defines it 'from above'".

[3] As such, the difference between the models is not a difference in terminology — "merely" or otherwise.  The models do not use different terms for the same theoretical meaning (valeur); they (confusingly) use the same term for different meanings (valeurs).

[4] As such, not "likewise" for genre — not that an argument for genre as a stratum of context was actually made.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

David Rose On Stratification [15/8/12]

At 10:39am on 15/8/12, David Rose sent the following email to Sysfling and Sys-func entitled All strata make patterns of meaning:
For those concerned with our ongoing discussion about the nature of stratification, this recent clarification from MAKH could form a point of articulation/agreement, around his (and Firth's) 'broader sense' of meaning...
'Realization is the relationship among strata… wordings realize patterns of meaning, which we refer to as the stratum of semantics. (Note that “meaning” is here being used in its narrower, more specific sense, to refer just to patterns in semantics. The same term “meaning” is also used in a broader, more general sense to refer to patterns made at both the semantic and the lexicogrammatical stratum – the “content plane”, in Hjelmslev’s terminology. Firth used to use the term to refer to patterns at all strata, those of expression as well as those of content.)'  from Complementarities in Language (2008:14)

Blogger Comment:

Note that in modelling strata and the realisational relation between them, Halliday uses "meaning" (as he says) 'in its narrower, more specific sense, to refer just to patterns in semantics'.  He then clarifies that this usage contrasts with the other 'broader, more general sense' of the term in his linguistic  tradition.

Once again, Rose has confused the process of semogenesis, in which all strata do indeed make meaning (abstract creative material process), with the hierarchy of stratification, in which meaning is realised in wording (symbolic identity).

Friday, 3 August 2012

Robin Fawcett On The Nominal Group

On 3 Aug 2012, on sysfling John Polias wrote:
Any thoughts on whether 'kind of' in the following nominal group is a measure numerative (eg p.334 IFG3) or not. It seems to be less about delimiting than about likening (I suppose likening is also a delimiting strategy).
a kind of giant mutated axolotl

Robin Fawcett replied on the same day:
Dear John (and any others interested in this fascinating area of the lexicoframmar),
I do indeed have 'thoughts' on this matter! Two papers, in fact - but I hasten to add that it's not your fault that you haven't heard of them. 
The two papers are:
(1a) Fawcett, Robin P., 2006. ‘Establishing the grammar of “typicity” in English: an exercise in scientific inquiry.’ In Huang, Guowen., Chang, Chenguang & Dai, Fan, (eds.) Functional Linguistics as Appliable Linguistics, Guangzhou: Sun Yat-sen University Press, 159-262. Reprinted from Educational Research on Foreign Languages and Art. No. 2, 3-34 and No. 3, 71-91, Guangzhou: Guangdong Teachers College of Foreign Language and Arts, 2006. 921-52. (Also available as Fawcett 2007c.
(1b) Fawcett, Robin P., 2007a. Establishing the Grammar of ‘Typicity’ in English: an Exercise in Scientific Inquiry.COMMUNAL Working Papers No. 21. Cardiff: Computational Linguistics Unit, Cardiff University (ISSN No. 0967-0254). Reprinted from Fawcett, Robin P., 2006. Available for
(2) Fawcett, Robin P., 2007b. ‘Modelling “selection” between referents in the English nominal group: an essay in scientific inquiry in linguistics’. In Butler, Christopher S., Hidalgo Downing, R., & Lavid, J., Functional Perspectives on Grammar and Discourse: In Honour of Angela Downing, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 165-204.
As you can see from the titles, both papers are about (i) an aspect of lexicogrammar (the phenomenon that I have termed 'typicity' in (1a and 1b) and about the broader concept of 'selection between referents' in (2) and (ii) the methodologies that I used in working on identifying (a) the full range of data that are necessarily involved in considering this topic and (b) the resulting system network, realization rules and summary of the structures generated by the outputs from those realization rules.* Your example is just one of a wide set of data that need to be considered, some with overt realizations, as in your example, and some with covert realizations, as in the ambiguous example The army have recently acquired a new tank [Is it just a single new tank, or a new type of tank?] and BP have developed a new engine oil [which is unambiguous, because the head is a 'mass' noun]. Typicity, overt or covert, occurs quite frequently in most types of text, and I have suggested the concept of a typic determiner to handle its overt realizations. This new element in the nominal group is a later development in the more general concept of 'selection between referents' in the grammar of the nominal group.
Thus, if in five of them the item five is a quantifying determiner, so too are a large number in a large number of them and two kilos in two kilos of sugar - and several other types of determiner. This is on the model of other types of determiner that are filled by a nominal group, as described in Fawcett 2007b. My concept of 'selection' is taken up and used in Mathiessen's Lexical Cartography (1995: 655), where he refers back to my earlier work, which I should perhaps therefore list here too:
Fawcett, Robin P., 1974-6/81. ‘Some proposals for systemic syntax: Parts 1, 2 and 3’. In MALS Journal 1.2, 1-15, 2.1. 43-68, 2.2 36-68. Reprinted 1981 as Some Proposals for Systemic Syntax. Pontypridd: Polytechnic of Wales (now University of Glamorgan).
I would start with Fawcett 2007b, if you have it in your university library (as I expect you do) but there is far more in Fawcett 2006 and 2007a about typicity, and about the use of corpora in resolving the question of what structure to use to model its realizations.
If you, John, or any other interested person, would like an electronic version of either Fawcett 2007a or 2007b (or both), please ask.

Robin Fawcett
Emeritus Professor of Linguistics
Cardiff University
* It is, of course, the structures that are the outputs from the use of the grammar that are what most SFL grammars in fact describe - rathe than the grammar itself. Grammars such as Halliday's Introduction to Functional Grammar and my Invitation to Systemic Functional Linguistics (Fawcett 2008) are written to provide readers with a descriptive framework for analyzing texts, which is not the same thing as a grammar (which, in SFL, consists of the system network and its associated realization rules/statements).

Blogger Comment:

An example of this type of structure is given on p333 of IFG3: a kind of owl, where a kind of is analysed as an extended Numerative, but of the category type (not measure), subcategory variety.  These are discussed on the following page.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Mick O'Donnell On Cause

Michael O'Donnell wrote on sysfling on 3/7/12:
"we have been raised to love and care"
Actor: -
Process: material (have been raised)
Goal: We
Circumstance: "to love and care" (which is maybe Result, as Reason/Purpose
don't fit).

Blogger Comments:
love and care are processes not participants here,
and to love and care is a dependent clause complex of Cause: purpose
(or a dependent clause, if love and care is treated as a paratactic verbal group complex).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

David Rose On Form And Function

David Rose wrote on sys-func and sysfling on 4 June 2012:
Im not sure where a form/function duality would fit in SFL theory.

Blogger Comment:

It fits, for example, in the rank scale.  The rank scale is a compositional scale of forms.  The unit of each rank is a configuration of functional elements, each of which is realised by a unit of the rank below (except in the case of rank-shift).  For example, elements of the function structure of a clause are realised in the form of groups and phrases.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

David Rose On Co-text And Semantics

David Rose wrote on Sysfling at 13:53 on 30 May 2012 about the clause complex Destroy it and man is destroyed:
There are two clauses in this sentence …
destroy it, will you?
man is destroyed, isn't he?
They are related grammatically by paratactic addition 'and'.
Any conditional relation is a discourse semantic inference, recoverable from the co-text, it is not there in the grammar of the clause complex. The grammar is not sufficient to interpret this (or any other).

Blogger Comments:

This confuses co-text with levels of symbolic abstraction (stratification).

Discourse semantics, if the stratum above lexicogrammar (wording), is a higher level of symbolic abstraction (meaning).

The co-text, on the other hand, is the text that accompanies this excerpt, and its content can be analysed at each stratum of symbolic abstraction: wording (lexicogrammar) and meaning (semantics).

It is simply not true that the meaning realised in the logical relation of the clause complex can be inferred — or is only recoverable — from the co-text: there is nothing at all in the co-text that suggests the logical meaning being incongruently worded as [extension: addition] is [enhancement: condition].

It is not that 'the grammar is not sufficient to interpret this (or any other)' but that, in SFL, all grammatical analysis involves taking a trinocular perspective, and this includes determining the meaning being realised in the wording.

See here for an analysis of the clause complex in question.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Robin Fawcett On 'Would'

On 9 May 2012, on the Sysfling list, S.S. Deol wrote:
Dear All
You may comment on the use of would in the following sentence taken from an interview of a film actor:

I was doing what the script demanded and my director would scream at me saying......

To which Robin Fawcett  replied on 9 May:
A good question!  It has a simple answer, but it is one that upsets the neat patterns of system networks that we systemicists like to draw (e.g as discussed - and exemplified - in Bache, Carl, 2008.  English Tense and Aspect in Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar: A Critical Appraisal and an Alternative.  London: Equinox).  …
In a systemic functional grammar, the meaning of an item such as would  is captured by the selection expression of features that have been 'chosen' in the traversal of the system network.   In the Cardiff version of SFG the meaning of would in the key clause of your text-sentence (my director would scream at me) is expressed by the following selection expression (where 'trp' stands for 'time reference point'): 
[past trp, real, long period in past, repeated].
(Here 'repeated' stands for 'repeated regularly'.)  It has no connotations of 'will', 'willingness', 'intention' etc, as other uses of would have.  Its nearest systemic relationship is with another meaning that lies outside the canonical model of 'time', i.e. used to, in which the meaning is, in terms of its semantic features:
[past trp, real, long period in past, simple].
So we can refer to the multiply repeated event in your example by saying either 
My director would scream at me
or, using the closely related meaning that does not restrict the meaning to repeated events, represented here by [simple]: 

My director used to scream at me.
But the first is the more precise meaning, because it expresses both 'long period' and 'repetition'.  In contrast, with a 'stative' process such as 'living' we can only say I used to live in London and not *I would live in London,  because part of the meaning of would is that the event was repeated over a relatively long period of time.  (In contrast, we CAN say I would stay with my aunt (whenever I visited London, because 'staying' lasts for a relatively short period of time.)  So the 'aspectual type' of the process of the event interacts in complex ways with 'time meanings'.

Blogger Comment:

The simple answer is that, in the SFL framework, this would functions interpersonally as the Modal operator of median usuality that realises the Finite element in the Mood of the clause as exchange.  The relevant system networks are on pages 135 (clause) and 349 (verbal group) of Halliday & Matthiessen (2004).

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Tom Bartlett On Attributive Clauses

Tom Bartlett wrote on 17 April 2012 at 17:19 on the sys-func & sysfling lists:

I would analyse "that she had decided on fur" in
She was glad that she had decided on her fur.
as a metaphenomenon rather than a projection as "glad that" construes a reaction to a presupposed event rather than the verbal or mental representation of an event. This can be shown by separating the clauses:
She decided on fur and she was glad about it.
*She decided on fur and John thinks it/so. 
This also shows that substitution is with a pronominal rather than SO. There's a complication, however, in that English (unlike e.g. Spanish) does not allow the combination of preposition and THAT + fact, so that the preposition showing the relationship between the attribute and the phenomenon only appears with simple Phenomena rather than metaphenomena:
She was glad about the decision.
She was glad about it.
She was glad (*about) that she had decided on fur.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The clause She was glad that she had decided on her fur is an attributive relational clause

glad [[that she had decided on her fur]]
Process: relational

in which that she had decided on fur is a pre-projected fact — a projection and thus a metaphenomenon — which functions as Qualifier in the nominal group functioning as Attribute.

 [[that she had decided on her fur]]

[2] The words glad that do not form a functional grammatical unit; glad is the Head/Epithet of a nominal group realising the Attribute and that is a structural element of the embedded clause functioning as the Qualifier (that she had decided on her fur) in that nominal group.

[3] The preposition about in the clause She was glad about the decision does not show "the relationship between the attribute and the phenomenon", as Bartlett would maintain.  There are several reasons for this:
  • there is no Phenomenon in the clause, because the clause is attributive and Phenomenon is a participant in mental clauses;
  • the preposition about serves as the minor Process in the prepositional phrase realising a circumstance of Matter (about the decision)* — circumstances of Matter are agnate with the Phenomenon in mental clauses;
  • the decision is thus the Range of prepositional phrase realising the circumstance of Matter, not "a simple phenomenon".

about the decision
Process: relational

the decision

It's also worth noting that, in terms of orders of experience, the decision is not a "simple" (first-order: material) phenomenon.  It is metaphenomenal (second-order: semiotic), since it is the name of a mental or verbal projection — as can be seen in she decided to buy a fur coat, where the decision is the projection to buy a fur coat.

* The analysis of the prepositional phrase about the decision as ranking (circumstance of Matter), rather than embedded (Qualifier), is made on the basis that it can be thematised, as in It was about the decision that she was glad.