Saturday, 28 September 2013

Sysfling/Sys-Func Discussion On Offers

Why Offers Are Always More Than Just Offers

1. In English, there is no congruent lexicogrammatical realisation of the speech function 'offer' in terms of mood (see Halliday 1994: 95; Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 110).

2. Consequently, all offers involve interpersonal metaphor.

3. Grammatical metaphor is a junctional construct: the grammatical wording simultaneously realises both the congruent and the metaphorical meaning (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 263, 271, 283).

4. On the semantic stratum, the congruent meaning is realised as the metaphorical meaning (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 288, 293).

5. Therefore:

(a) an offer that is realised as an imperative clause is simultaneously an offer and a command, where the offer is realised as a command (see, eg, Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 139 on suggestions);

(b) an offer that is realised as an interrogative clause is simultaneously and offer and a question, where the offer is realised as a question;

(c) an offer that is realised as a declarative clause is simultaneously and offer and a statement, where the offer is realised as a statement.
See an analysis of a clause complex with imperative and declarative realisations of offers (the one that triggered the discussion) here.

See also the semantic system of speech function (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 108) for the valeur of initiating and responding moves within the overall system.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Mick O'Donnell On Non-Finite Dependent Clauses

On 17 September 2013, Claudia Stoian asked on the sys-func and sysfling email lists:
What do you think about the following clauses, are they adverbial or non-defining relative clauses?
Every night, at exactly 21:53, the Chief Yeoman Warder of the Tower emerges from the Byward Tower wearing his long red coat and Tudor bonnet and carrying a candle lantern and the Queen's Keys.

And Mick O'Donnell replied:
The clauses in yellow (wearing... and carrying...) are not relative clauses, but rather present participle clauses (one of the three infinitive clause types)
I have never liked the label "adverbial" used in traditional grammar: clauses are not adverbs. "Adverbial" (or adverb-like) is a holdover from grammars which only had one label for each item, (its class), while good grammars label items by both function (what it does in larger units) and structural class (what shape of unit it is). Because we have two kinds of label, rather than talk of adverbial clauses, we can talk of clauses functioning as Adjunct (or as Circumstance, pick your layer).
I would say these clauses are Circumstances, my best guess would be Manner (how did he emerge?) but I am not sure of that.

Blogger Comment:

On The SFL model, Adjuncts and circumstances are functional elements of the clause.  Clauses do not function as Adjuncts or circumstances unless they are embedded in a ranking clause.  In the example above, the clauses in question are ranking clauses within a clause complex — see analysis here — and so do not function as Adjunct or circumstance.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mick O'Donnell On Non-Defining Relative Clauses [2]

On 18/9/13, Mick O'Donnell remarked about the linked post to previous post:
Except in this paraphrase, "A British nursery rhyme" is not a relative clause.
Paraphrasing is dangerous, two sentences can express the same ideational meanings but differ in grammatical form.





Blogger Comments:

 [1] The term 'relative clause' is from traditional grammar.  On the SFL model, ranking clauses like which is a British nursery rhyme are dependent elaborating finite clauses.  Such finite clauses have their non-finite agnates (counterparts), in this case being a British nursery rhyme as in:
  • The house that Jack built, being a British nursery rhyme, is a cumulative tale.
As Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 403) point out for the non-finite agnates, 'when the non-defining clause is an 'intensive relational' one, the Process may be left implicit', as in:
  • The house that Jack built, a British nursery rhyme, is a cumulative tale.
As Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 404) further point out, 'with non-finite elaborating hypotactic nexuses, there is a special construction where the dependent precedes the dominant', as in:
  • A British nursery rhyme, the house that Jack built is a cumulative tale.
As they explain (ibid), 'these elaborating clauses are always 'intensive attributive relational' ones where the Process is implicit and the Attribute is typically the only explicit element of the clause', as in the example given above.  So the following two clause nexuses are agnates of each other — both are hypotactic elaborating clause nexuses, differing in textual prominence (and in finiteness in the dependent clause):
  • The house that Jack built, which is a British nursery rhyme, is a cumulative tale.
  • A British nursery rhyme, the house that Jack built is a cumulative tale.


[2] O'Donnell's use of the word 'paraphrase' suggests that he doesn't understand the important rôle that agnation plays in reasoning about grammar.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Mick O'Donnell On Non-Defining Relative Clauses

Mick O'Donnell wrote on 7 Sep 2013 on the sysfling list:
Myself, I would have treated the two 'which' clauses as nondefining relative clauses, and thus as part of the nominal group structure, and not as part of the clause complex structure.
and then again on 15 September 2013:
And yes, I did mention that I disagreed with the treatment in the example of nondefining relatives being related as part of a clause complex.
My reasoning is that they only ever occur immediately after the noun (with possible interceding Qualifier) with which the relative pronoun is grounded.
And semantically: They do not extend on a clause, but on a participant.
I don note the possible counter example of postponed nominal relatives,
e.g.,
  • The man is here who you were waiting for.
But note that this case is only possible where the postponed relative is in a defining relationship. The above sentence corresponds to:
  • The man who you were waiting for is here.
NOT TO:
  • The man, who you were waiting for, is here.

Blogger Comment:

[1] O'Donnell's stated reason for treating non-defining relative clauses as 'part of nominal group structure' is  'that they only ever occur immediately after a noun (with a possible interceding Qualifier) with which the relative pronoun is grounded'.

The domain that non-defining relative clauses elaborate is not restricted to the nominal group; they can elaborate the whole of the primary clause or some part of it that is more than the nominal group' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 400).  For example:
He often accuses others of his own shortcomings, which is hypocritical. 
Here the non-defining relative clause which is hypocritical elaborates the whole primary clause he often accuses others of his own shortcomings.  Clearly, it is not a constituent of the preceding nominal group, as any attempt to analyse it as such will demonstrate.  Therefore, O'Donnell's position is based on a false premise.

For some reasoning about the difference between non-defining and defining clauses, see:

http://thethoughtoccurs.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/defining-vs-non-defining-relative.html

[2] Relative clauses generally elaborate the primary clause rather than extend it, though there is one group that strictly belong with extension.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 402-3) for the reasoning.

Friday, 6 September 2013

David Rose On 'Recoverability From The Discourse'

David Rose wrote on 5 September 2013 on the Sys-func and sysfling email lists:
Implicit means it is recoverable from the discourse... i.e. we recognise an imperative as a move in an action exchange, likewise for your indicative examples below… moves in a knowledge exchange.






Blogger Comment:

Here Rose uses 'discourse' to mean 'discourse semantics' as the (more abstract) stratum above lexicogrammar on Martin's (1992) model (eg 'moves in action and knowledge exchanges').

But note that what he is actually referring to is the cotext, the accompanying text, and this can be viewed at different levels of symbolic abstraction: as wording (lexicogrammar) or meaning (semantics).  This again evinces the same confusion of two distinct dimensions, cotext with symbolic abstraction, inherent in Martin's stratification, as argued in previous posts.