Sunday, 7 June 2015

David Rose On Field, Register And Discourse

Another difficulty for analysis is ambiguity without any co-text, especially with metaphor. Without it, its hard to know what they’re pursuing - attacking us or whoever is attacking us. And without knowing the field, its hard to say whether the circumstance is expanding the clause or qualifying the group.
So there’s another problem for linguistics in general… to focus on features of grammar we push register and discourse to the background. But in reality, we can’t read grammar examples without reading register and discourse.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, field is the ideational dimension of context — the culture construed as a semiotic system that is realised by language.  Field is theorised as more abstract than language.

Register, on the other hand, in SFL and elsewhere, is a functional variety of language itself.  It is, therefore, not more abstract than language.  In SFL theory, register refers to a point of variation on the cline of instantiation.  It is 'text type' viewed from the system pole of the cline.  Registers vary according to the probabilities of linguistic choices being instantiated.

[2] Circumstances don't expand clauses or qualify groups.  Circumstances and Qualifiers can be realised by prepositional phrases, and prepositional phrases can be expanded in prepositional phrase complexes.

For expansion (and projection) relations between circumstances and the Nucleus, see Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 172-6) on degree of involvement: circumstantial rôles.

[3] In using SFL theory, grammatical analysis is done by shunting between lexicogrammar and semantics, giving priority to the view from semantics.  Grammatical analysis includes using cohesion, the non-structural text-forming resources of the textual metafunction: reference, ellipsis & substitution, conjunction and lexical cohesion.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 524-85) around the clause: cohesion and discourse.

See clause analysis here.