Thursday, 10 October 2013

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.

No comments: