Thursday, 17 October 2013

Mick O'Donnell On Projection And Clause Complexing

On 17/10/13, Mick O'Donnell wrote to the sys-func and sysfling lists:
Truing [sic] to get my head around Halliday's treatment of projection as clause complexing:
a) Many believe that John is right.
b) That John is right is believed by many.
If (a) Is a clause complex, how do I analyse (b) which seems to be the passive form of the same?

Blogger Comment:

(a) is not a clause complex.  It is a clause simplex with an embedded projection (i.e. a 'pre-projected fact') serving as Phenomenon, and (b) is its receptive agnate.


From 'roundabout': (a) is agnate with Many believe the fact that John is right

From 'above': the projection was not created by the process of believing.  It was projected by a previous figure of a senser sensing or sayer saying (i.e. 'pre-projected'), and the process of believing ranges over it as a metaphenomenon.

See a transitivity analysis here.

See why (ranking) projections are not clause constituents here.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

David Rose On Epistemology

On 10/10/13, David Rose wrote on sysfling:
We have what is claimed to be a 'mimetic' theory… that describes language "by mimicking its crucial properties” (Halliday 1996), a claim that the theory is more than just a 'model'.
It shouldn't therefore be surprising that the list exchange is as much interpersonal as ideational, if the theory can describe how institutional power relations are realised in texts, alongside the categories and relations of the theory.
Conversely, a claim that the architecture of the theory is independent of institutional power relations would contradict the metafunctional dimension of the theory. From the interpersonal perspective of the theory, such a claim would have to be interpreted as a strategy to manipulate institutional power relations.
In order to understand and perhaps reconcile our apparently incommensurate versions of the theory, Im sure we have to honour its breadth, and admit our own varying institutional positions. These include the focus of our specialisations on particular strata, as discussed earlier, alongside our personal affiliations (and antipathies) to supervisors, colleagues and institutions.
If we could acknowledge but tease apart the personal from theoretical, perhaps it would be possible to admit that genre, register and discourse semantic theory may indeed mimick the properties of the system itself, although they may be unnecessary for the institutional work of many linguists.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Halliday's claim does not assert that 'the theory is more than just a model'.   Ideationally, language is an evolved theory of experience, and a linguistic theory is a designed theory of language; not just a model — a model.  Given that language and linguistic theories are both semiotic systems, they both share the properties of semiotic systems, and it is in that sense that a theory which construes language as a semiotic system is mimetic ("mimics its properties").

[2] To claim that the (ideational) architecture of a theory — think of general relativity or quantum mechanics, for example — is dependent on (interpersonal) "institutional power relations" is manifestly absurd.  Being ideational, the architecture depends on agreement with experience and logical consistency.  It is the architecture of religious dogma that potentially relies on "institutional power relations"; for example, because the Catholic Church included the Aristotelian cosmogony in its dogma, the Pope had Galileo imprisoned and Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake for supporting cosmogonies that threatened their "institutional power".  Cf Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 618):

… the ontogenetic perspective shows that in fact our experience is being ongoingly reconstrued and recategorised as we grow from infancy to maturity.  This is the outcome of processes taking place in human history — evolutionary events that are at once both material and semiotic, and that cannot be reduced to either purely physical processes driven by technology or purely discursive processes driven by ideology.
[3] It is precisely those of us who are outside the "institutional power relations" who are free to make public our reasoning without fear of recrimination, and who have nothing to gain from "manipulating" such relations, even if we were motivated to do so, or if such a thing were possible.

[4] Rose's use of admit and acknowledge harks back to a previous post in which he judged those who didn't agree with him as obstinate (and himself as capable);  see an Appraisal analysis here.

[5] "Genre, register and discourse semantic theory" may well mimic the properties of language in some way or other.  The problem with them is that theorising them as strata is inconsistent with the rest of the theory in which they are placed — and it is the rest of the theory that gives these theories their "institutional power".  It is clearly this last point that Rose is so afraid of — the loss of "institutional power" — given his continual raising of the issue.

John Bateman Misunderstanding Stratification And Realisation

On 10/10/13, John Bateman wrote on the sysfling list:
I'm afraid we know rather less than we might hope (or think?) on some of these issues though.
However [quoting the blog post below],
by definition, the relation between different levels of abstraction is realisation. That is what the theoretical architecture means. The reason why it is difficult to apply realisation to register and genre as strata is that they are not levels of abstraction higher than the strata of language.
This is circular unfortunately; even though I might agree with it :-) 'The theoretical architecture' is then one of strata related by realisation. Realisation is not appropriate to register and genre because register and genre are not strata. Register and genre are not strata because that is not what 'the' theoretical architecture says.
I agree that terms *within* theories should be used in ways that are consistent within those theories; but across different theories such consistency may not be present. And I think we are dealing with different theories here (in a technical sense of different organisational principles, different predictions, different descriptions).

Blogger Comments:

[1]  See appraisal analysis here.

[2] The argument is demonstrably not circular — it is merely misunderstood.  The theoretical architecture is an hypothesis for managing the complexity of language.  It has to be self-consistent, otherwise any theory building on its design will collapse.  The stratified model is a means of parcelling out the complexity by distributing it over different levels of symbolic abstraction, and different levels of abstraction are related by realisation.  The reason they are related by realisation is because, in terms of the grammar, the verb 'realise' serves as an intensive identifying process that relates two levels of abstraction, Token and Value; the lower level Token realises the higher level Value.  (This is theory turned back on itself.)

So, for theoretical constructs to be proposed as strata in this model, they must be consistent with its defining principles; the proposed stratum must be more abstract than the stratum below it — it must be realised by the stratum below — and it must be less abstract than the stratum above — it must realise the stratum above.  If this principle is violated when proposing strata, the model becomes internally inconsistent.  I have given reasons several times why placing register and genre is this model makes the model internally inconsistent.

[3] We are indeed dealing with different theories with different organisational principles etc.  That is the point. Halliday and Martin don't mean the same thing by 'register' or by 'context', and genre is largely not theorised on SFL principles.  When Martin's register and genre are inserted into Halliday's stratification model, it creates an internally inconsistent theory.

John Bateman Misunderstanding Realisation And Instantiation

After Annabelle Lukin wrote on sysfling on 8/10/13:
The key issue is whether you think it matters if you treat situation and culture as in a realization relation (Martin) or in a relation of instantiation (Halliday). I continue to be persuaded by Halliday’s view on this matter. Given that these are fundamentally different relations,
John Bateman replied on 9/10/13:
realisation and instantiation are indeed necessarily fundamentally different. I don’t see that we can have one without the other in any sensible fashion, and just what inter-stratal realisation is, as indicated above, certainly needs far more work to say that it does or does not apply. Some relation of its kind will probably be necessary, otherwise there is no connection between strata—so we may as well call it realisation. This will involve complex patterns of instantiation and who knows what else. I wouldn’t want to give any of those dimensions of description up before we’ve tried many more detailed models out. I doubt if philosophising on the possible inter-relationships of the dimensions of the theory is going to take us all the way (although it helps of course).
Blogger Comments:

[1] The issue that Lukin raises is not a matter of "giving up" either realisation or instantiation as dimensions of the theory.  It is a matter of which theoretical dimension applies in the relation between context of culture (Martin's 'genre') and context of situation (Martin's 'register').

[2] By definition, the strata represent different levels of symbolic abstraction, and, by definition, the relation between different levels of abstraction is realisation.  That is what the theoretical architecture means.  The reason why it is difficult to apply realisation to register and genre as strata is that they are not levels of abstraction higher than the strata of language.  The term 'register' denotes a functional variety of language, and as explained elsewhere on this site, functional varieties are not higher levels of symbolic abstraction.  If the term 'register' is not used in the sense of a functional variety of language, why use that term?  The problem with theorising genre as a stratum is more complex, because it is largely not theorised in ways that are consistent with SFL theory as a whole — for example, there is no metafunctional differentiation — and components of the genre model are scattered across the theoretical architecture of SFL; some suggestions on this can be read here.

[3] Relations between strata do not involve "complex patterns of instantiation" because, by definition, instantiation is not a relation across strata; instantiation is the relation between the system and instance, on each stratum.

[4] There is no need to philosophise on "the possible inter-relationships of the dimensions of the theory"; all that's needed in this regard is an understanding of the dimensions of the theory, as theorised.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

David Rose On The "Discovery" Of Theoretical Constructs

On 2/10/13 David Rose wrote on sysfling:
… the discovery that the contexts of language are also stratified as register and genre.
and on 4/10/13:
Halliday's major specialisation has always been grammar, and one of his key discoveries (yes) was the metafunctionality of grammar in relation to field, mode and tenor.

Blogger Comment:

It's not necessary to delve into the history of philosophical thought on epistemology to discount Rose's claim that theoretical constructs are "discovered" as if material phenomena; the theory of experience that has evolved in the grammar of English is instructive enough.

Semiotic phenomena — metaphenomena — such as 'stratified context' and 'metafunction', are created by being projected onto the semiotic plane by a senser sensing (ideas) or by a sayer saying (locutions).  The sense in which semiotic phenomena are 'discovered' is restricted to the sensing of ideas or locutions that have already been created by a senser sensing or a sayer saying (i.e. pre-projected facts).

Thursday, 3 October 2013

David Rose On Stratified Context

On 2/10/13 David Rose wrote on sysfling:
The historical materialist perspective that underpins Halliday's life work, and the theory we all work with, also suggests that our consciousness tends to be shaped by our position in the social division of labour, a view that Bernstein among many others has elaborated.
There is also a social division of labour within the field of production of SFL theory, organised along the lines of the theory itself. Some of us are specialist phonologists, others grammarians, others discourse analysts, and many others are specialists in fields beyond linguistics.
It is a matter of interest to me, and perhaps worth researching further, that the latter two groups have provided the bulk of contributions to the explosion of research generated over the last 30 years by the discovery that the contexts of language are also stratified as register and genre. On the other hand, of those among us who still seem to find most difficulty with accepting this concept, the first two groups seem to predominate.

Blogger Comment:

If the problem with Martin's model — the stratification of the context as register and genre — were merely the negative attitude of some linguists toward it — see an Appraisal analysis of Rose's attitude here — the proponents of the model would have nothing to fear.  It is the fact that there are valid reasons for rejecting the stratified model of context that guarantees it will not survive long in its current form.

It is not genre theory that is the problem — it stands alone as a distinct theory  — it is its construal with the SFL architecture as a stratum of context that is the problem.  For suggestions on how genre is scattered across the SFL architecture, see arguments here.

On the other hand, Martin's model of register is problematic even if it is not construed as a stratum of context — but that's another matter.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

David Rose On Text Type [2/10/13]

On 2/10/13, David Rose wrote on sysfling:
In a cline of instantiation, both genre and register lie at the system end, and text type is the next step

 Blogger Comments:

[1] On the stratified model (Martin 1992) that Rose advocates, genre and register are distinct strata.  Instantiation is the relation between system and instance.  It is not a relation across strata.  So, in terms of Martin's stratification — to be consistent with the notion of instantiation — the cline for each distinct stratum would be the relation between:
  • genre as system and genre as instance
  • register as system and register as instance

[2] In Martin's stratified model, genre and register are strata of context.  Here Rose is construing text type — i.e. language instead of context — as a point on the cline of instantiation of context.

Rose's construal of text type is quite difficult to unpack, owing to the fact that:
  1. the model that Rose advocates is full of internal inconsistencies, and
  2. Rose's construal of that model is inconsistent with the model itself.

David Rose On Text Type [1/10/13]

On 1/10/13, David Rose wrote on the sysfling list:
One use of 'text type' is to avoid the word genre, by pedagogues who oppose explicit genre pedagogy, and linguists who oppose a stratified context model.
Another is for a node in an instantiation cline starting with genre at the system end, and reading at the instance end.
… genre - text type - text - reading
In other words, text type is more specific subset of texts of the same genre.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, the term 'text type' has a precise definition.  It is the same point on the cline of instantiation as register.  Text type is register viewed from the instance pole of the cline, just as register is text type viewed from the system pole of the cline.  

This is a separate issue from any "opposition" to Martin's stratified model of context.  As argued elsewhere on this site, Martin's stratified model of context is based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of both stratification and context in SFL theory.

[2] The cline of instantiation Rose presents above is that of Martin, with the terms 'system' and 'register' (strategically) omitted.  In Martin's model, register is conflated with genre, and both are points on the cline; ie genre is not at the system pole of the cline.  If genre is placed at the system pole, this cline is concerned only with instantiation on Martin's stratum of genre, thereby restricting the notions of text type, text, and reading to that stratum.

As argued elsewhere on this site, it is logically inconsistent to place 'reading' on this cline because the relation between reading and text is not the same as the relation between text and text type.

As also argued elsewhere on this site, Martin's cline of instantiation is logically inconsistent with his stratified model of context.  This is because his stratified model construes genre and register as more abstract than (the strata of) language — a construal inconsistent with the SFL notion of register — while his instantiation cline construes genre/register as a subpotential of (the system of) language.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

David Rose On Instantiation [1/10/13]

On 1/10/13, David Rose added to his previous post on realisation on the sys-func and sysfling lists:
Sorry, I should also add that instantiation completely changes the game, as it brings together criteria from different strata
Perhaps the relation between move and speech function can be considered as instantial. That is a move in an exchange may be instantiated by various speech functions, depending on (/realising) contextual factors

Blogger Comments:

[1] Instantiation is the relation between language as potential and language as actual instance (text).  It is a relation that obtains on each stratum — it is not a relation between strata.  For example,
  • on the semantic stratum, instantiation is the relation between the system of semantic potential and the actual semantic selections in a specific text;
  • on the lexicogrammatical stratum, instantiation is the relation between the system of lexicogrammatical potential and the actual lexicogrammatical selections in a specific text;
  • on the phonological stratum, instantiation is the relation between the system of phonological potential and the actual phonological selections in a specific text.
As such, instantiation does not "bring together criteria from different strata".

[2] As such, the relation between move and speech function cannot be considered as instantial. Where SPEECH FUNCTION is a semantic system, move is a unit on a semantic rank scale — just as MOOD is a lexicogrammatical system and clause is a unit on the lexicogrammatical rank scale.

[3] The incoherence of Rose's final sentence can be made clear by paraphrasing the same speculation for lexicogrammar:
  • a verbal group in a clause may be instantiated by various moods, depending on (/realising) semantic factors.
[A verbal group realises the Finite and Predicator as interpersonal functional elements at clause rank (i.e. realisation down the rank scale); and clause rank interpersonal structure realises the clause rank interpersonal system of MOOD (i.e. realisation across axes).]

David Rose On Realisation [30/9/13]

On 30/9/13, David Rose wrote on the sys-func and sysfling lists:
Well …the term realisation has been used for three types of relation - between strata, between axes (system/structure), and between ranks. So higher rank units are not simply composed of lower ranks units… higher rank functions (e.g. participant functions) are realised by lower rank units (e.g. nominal groups).
The whole area of realisation is not clearly resolved as far as my understanding stretches, e.g. Halliday treats KEY as a grammatical system, that is realised by the phonological system of TONE in the 'grammatical environment' of MOOD (Halliday & Greaves p123), but its features are stated as (graduated) speech functions, e.g. for declarative clauses, 'reserved statement: tone 4; insistent statement: tone 5...' (IFG3 p142). So are these interstratal, axial or other realisation relations?
The work on semantic networks of speech functions is accompanied by grammatical realisation statements, as Annabelle pointed out, e.g. [demand info:confirm:verify:reassure] is realised by major:indic:declarative:tagged:reversed mood. So are these axial realisation statements or interstratal or both at once? How are they like and unlike realisation statements for grammatical systems?
Im not suggesting these are wrong, but that our comfortable model of systemic features realised by function structures, or of 'meaning realised by wording realised by sounding' is not so simple. Particularly when 'the view from above' is considered, e.g. when is 'can you open this window' a question or command?
and then in reply to Brad Smith:
all strata contribute layers of meaning, that 'meaning realised by wording realised by sounding' is descriptively inadequate.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The term realisation has a precise, well-defined meaning in SFL.  It is always used in the theoretical architecture of SFL for the one type of relation: the relation between different levels of abstraction.  It is the nominalisation of the verb realise when serving as an 'intensive identifying' process that relates a lower level of abstraction (a Token) to a higher level of abstraction (a Value).  So wherever there is a Token-Value relation in the architecture of the theory, the term realisation is used.  For example, 
  • it relates a lower (less abstract) stratum to a higher (more abstract) stratum;
  • it relates the syntagmatic (less abstract) axis to the paradigmatic (more abstract) axis;
  • it relates group rank (less abstract) forms to clause rank (more abstract) functions.
[2] Thus, the theoretical notion of realisation is "clearly resolved", at least to this extent, and it is indeed Rose's understanding of the theoretical notion that isn't.

[3] The systems of TONE, KEY & MOOD and SPEECH FUNCTION are located at different levels of symbolic abstraction (strata), and the different terminology for each stratum helps to identify the level of abstraction being referred to.  For example, declarative mood identifies the level of abstraction as lexicogrammar (wording), whereas statement identifies the level of abstraction as semantics (meaning). Strata are not different phenomena, like geological strata, they are different levels of abstraction, like a theatrical cast (forms) and the rôles (functions) they perform in a play.

[4] The realisation statements in semantic networks (such as SPEECH FUNCTION) that specify features in lexicogrammatical networks (such as MOOD) are clearly relating the (more abstract) stratum of semantics to the (less abstract) stratum of lexicogrammar, and, as networks, on the paradigmatic axis.

[5] The realisational relation between meaning and wording, and between wording and sounding, as different levels of abstraction, is simple enough for those who take the trouble to understand it, and are not motivated to misunderstand it. 

[6] It is precisely the distinction between meaning (semantics) and wording (lexicogrammar), and the realisational relation between them, that makes theorising about metaphors of mood systematic.

[7] It is true that all strata contribute to making meaning, that is: to semogenesis.  Layers of meaning, however, on the SFL stratification model, are all on the semantic stratum, and are created through grammatical metaphor, where congruent meanings (Value) are realised by metaphorical meanings (Token).

[8] The SFL stratification model incorporates the notion of metaredundancy; so strictly speaking:
  • meaning is realised by [realisation of wording in sounding], or
  • [the realisation of meaning in wording] is realised by sounding.
If it is indeed the model that is inadequate, Rose has yet to demonstrate the fact.