Friday, 31 October 2014

Jim Martin On Behavioural & Verbal Processes

Jim Martin wrote 30 October 2014 to sys-func & sysfling:
It is hard to get beyond notional reasoning here. 
One possibility is to try to restrict the behavioural category to 'embodied physical' manifestations of mental or verbal processing, giving minimal pairs such as look/see, listen/hear, smile/like, shudder/fear, ponder/think… etc. This would seem to fit with what Mick reports from Thompson below, and with a suggestion in the Deploying Functional Grammar workbook. 
As a reactance, although in general behaviourals don't project (better to say 'don't report'), and this helps distinguish them from mentals and verbals, many can quote, in 'narrative' discourse, especially when following a quoted locution or idea… to describe the manner in which something is said or thought.
'I better get out of her', he shuddered.
'I think so', she smiled.
'You're wrong', they accused. 
But not:
*'They've arrived', he listened.
*'She's responsible', they gossiped. 
The 'accused' example above raises the classification of clauses of judgement as verbals in IFG (with a Target function) even though they take present in present tense and can't report.
I'm accusing you of forgetting.
*I accuse you that you forgot.
Another issue.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 135-6) provide some useful grammatical reactances of behavioural processes which can be viewed here.

[2] "To restrict the behavioural category to 'embodied physical' manifestations of mental or verbal processing" would ignore the fact that the processes of physiological behaviours pattern grammatically like the processes of psychological behaviours; eg the Medium is endowed with consciousness, as in mental clauses, but the unmarked present tense is 'present-in-present', as in material clauses, and the Range is restricted to behaviours, unlike the Range in material clauses.

[3] The treatment of behavioural processes in Deploying Functional Grammar is problematic, as argued here.

[4] In such cases of quoting, the effect is to attach a behavioural feature to a verbal or mental process.  That such cases are verbal or mental, and not behavioural, is shown by the unmarked present tense, the simple present — the same as verbal and mental — in contradistinction to behavioural and material processes; eg
'I don't understand' he frowns.
'I don't understand' he is frowning. 

[5] 'She's responsible', they gossiped seems fine enough, especially with the tonic on she's (or with the more obviously judgemental irresponsible as Attribute).

[6] If we consider a less unlikely clause, we see that the unmarked present tense for these targeting verbal processes is indeed the simple present, like other verbal processes:
you flatter/insult me
not the present-in-present of behavioural processes:
you are flattering/insulting me
[7] Projection is not a prerequisite for verbal clauses, any more than it is for mental clauses (emotion, perception).  The verbal clauses that take a Target are those in which the order of saying is activity, rather than semiosis (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 302), which locates them topologically nearer the behavioural (and material) processes.

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