Saturday, 4 April 2015

David Rose On Grammatical Metaphor As Stratal Tension

Another thing that’s interesting in both the ‘re-mapping’ and ‘stratal tension’ models, is the role of lexis. For example, in IFG 10.5.2 there are many examples of ideational metaphors ‘unpacked’ to congruent clause complexes. Like Obama's example…
America has carried on | Circ:cause not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office
-> America has carried on || not simply because those in high office are very able || or see clearly
Recognising lexical relations such as skill-able and vision-see is necessary to interpret the metaphors, but lexical relations tend to be backgrounded in discussions of grammatical metaphor. To me they indicate that discourse semantic systems like ideation are in tension with grammatical systems like transitivity. It is the lexical item ‘vision’ that construes the process of seeing, and ‘skill’ that construes the quality able, while the grammar construes them as possessions of those in high office.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Lexical relations are a resource of the textual metafunction (the text-forming resources), so it's hardly surprising they are "backgrounded" in discussions of ideational metaphor (incongruent construals of experience).

[2] The relation between lexical relations (cohesion: non-structural textual grammar) and transitivity (structural experiential grammar) is not one of 'stratal tension', since both are construals of the same stratum: lexicogrammar.

Regarding the rebranding of Halliday's cohesion as 'discourse semantics', I have just started a new blog called Discourse Semantic Theory (here) which demonstrates how and why 'discourse semantics' is inconsistent with the theoretical architecture of SFL.  This will be done by paying close attention to its major exposition, page by page, in Martin's English Text.

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