Thursday, 20 June 2013

Tom Bartlett On Ellipsis

On 19/6/13 Claudia Stoian asked on the sys-func and sysfling lists:
In clause complexes as the following, I could consider theme of the second clause either the dropped subject or the predicator. Which variant would you choose?
Canterbury Cathedral was founded in AD597 and [ø: Canterbury Cathedral] is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion
David Banks then replied on sys-func:
I am averse to adding in things which are not in the original clause. So, I consider "Canterbury Cathedral" to be the single theme of the two coordinate clauses. This goes against the usual principle of one clause - one theme, but I feel it works better. However, I may be alone in holding this point of view.
Tom Bartlett then added on sys-func:
I agree with David. There is a very good case for seeing such cases as a single clause with coordinated Residues/propositions/processes (Finite + Residue often, so no cover-all term in SFL). If you put a tag at the end of them then both propositions usually need to be true for a "yes" response.
If we treat "I saw Peter and David" as a single proposition and "Peter and David saw me" as one, why not "I went to the shops and bought a cake"? In other words, not ellipsis at all.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Bartlett says he agrees with Banks, even though Bartlett sees the example as a single clause and Banks sees it as two clauses.

[2] The case for seeing the clause nexus as a single clause is not "very good", as demonstrated, for example, by a transitivity analysis: it includes two distinct processes, the first of which is material, the second relational.  See analysis here.  See related theoretical quote here.

[3] Coordination is a logical relation (paratactic extension), that holds between forms: clauses, phrases/groups, words. Here Bartlett misapplies the relation to functions: Residues/propositions/processes. This (unwittingly) complicates the theory without adding explanatory power.

[4] Any proposition regarded as true by someone will yield a 'yes' response from that person.  This is not an argument that supports the case of treating the example as a single clause.

[5] The clause nexus 'I went to the shops and bought a cake' enacts two propositions: 'I went to the shops (didn't I?)' and 'I bought a cake (didn't I?)', either of which can be separately affirmed or denied, whereas each of the clause simplexes 'I saw Peter and David (didn't I?)' and 'Peter and David saw me (didn't they?)' enacts just a single proposition.