Monday, 3 November 2014

Tom Bartlett On Behavioural & Mental Processes

Tom Bartlett wrote on the sysfling list on 30 October 2014 at 17:34:
While we're on the subject, Halliday (139 in IFG2) says that "watch" is anomalous amongst behavioural processes in taking a phenomenon-like Complement rather than a prepositional phrase (and by IFG4:302 the claim is upped to say that this is "restricted to "watch"):
I am watching you. (Cf. I (can) see you, which is mental:perceptual)
I am looking at you/listening to you.
But can anyone suggest any reason why the following control-over-perception examples would not also be behavioural processes with Complements, if we follow the same reasoning?
I was smelling the roses when a bee stung my nose. (Cf. Careful, I (can) smell gas!)
Taste this soup and tell me what you think. (Cf. Do/can you taste the saffron in it?)
Never mind the quality, feel the width. (Cf. She felt/could feel the cold snow beneath her feet.)
 Or even the control-over-cognition one I cited earlier:
She was contemplating her future.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The reason the verb watch is anomalous is because it can serve in clauses such as I am watching Inside No. 9 which feature a Phenomenon, like mental clauses, but which, in all other respects, are behavioural.  This is not the case with the clauses Bartlett provides — they are all simply mental clauses of perception in which the Range is a Phenomenon (not a Behaviour).  [See transitivity analyses here.]  They can be checked against the grammatical reactances of behavioural vs mental clauses here.

[2] In this clause, the verb contemplate serves as a cognitive mental Process whose Range is a Phenomenon (not a Behaviour).  This verb also serves in mentally projecting nexuses such She was contemplating whether she should report his misdemeanour.  As Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 450-1) note:
… mental clauses representing an ‘undecided’ state of mind are used to project indirect questions. These include clauses of wondering and doubting, finding out and checking, and contemplating, which tend to be characterised by special lexical verbs such as wonder, ascertain …