Thursday, 7 December 2017

David Rose "In A Nutshell" [Part 2]

We can often categorise lexical items according to grammar or discourse patterns they tend to instantiate (as Michael and Christian like to do in IFG). But these categories are only one dimension of their meaning. Their more specific meanings can only be described in terms of register systems (the function of dictionary and thesaurus). So my instinct is to locate them at the level of register. This is hard to conceptualise because they only manifest as wordings, so we usually talk about them as if they are words. But the items themselves are meanings (at register level), that are realised in language as wordings. In text, they co-instantiate with grammar and discourse features to construe patterns of register. These probabilistic co-instantantions may be the basis of much linguistic description. 
in a nutshell

Blogger Comments:

[1] The claim here is that lexical items are categorised according to grammar or discourse patterns.  This is inconsistent with Halliday & Matthiessen (2004, 2014).  In SFL theory, lexical items are specified by bundles of the most delicate features of the systems of lexicogrammar.  The relation between a bundle of such features and a lexical item is symbolic identity: the more abstract Value (feature bundle) is realised by the less abstract Token (lexical item).

[2] To be clear, in SFL theory, lexical items realise meaning.  That is, wording (lexicogrammar) is construed as a lower level of symbolic abstraction than meaning (semantics).

[3] Rose's argument can be characterised as follows:
Premiss: (reason) the more specific meanings of lexical items — as provided by dictionary and thesaurus — can only be described in terms of register systems.
Conclusion: (result) lexical items are located at the level of register.
Ignoring the theoretical misunderstandings for the moment, the argument itself is an instance of circular reasoning, in this case: the logical fallacy known as begging the question (petitio principii): providing what is essentially the conclusion of the argument as a premiss.  Moreover, the premiss itself is a bare assertion, unsupported by reasoned argument.

Turning to the theoretical misunderstandings, both the premiss and conclusion are inconsistent with the SFL architecture.  In the premiss, Rose does not recognise the stratal differentiation of a lexical item (lexicogrammar) and the meaning (semantics) that it realises.  In both the premiss and the conclusion, Rose misrepresents the SFL notion of register in terms of stratification (context vs language) and instantiation (system vs sub-system).

Stepping back a little, this is what Rose's previous three posts — in which he disingenuously described himself as "perhaps obtuse", "puzzled" and "generally puzzled" — have been leading to: his "instinct" to locate lexical items at the level of register.  Keeping in mind that, for Rose, register means "social context", which he distinguishes from language, his proposal is to locate lexical items outside language.

[4] As mentioned in a previous post, in SFL theory, 'lexical item' is one of two abstractions on the word, the other being a rank unit in the grammar.

[5] This is another bare assertion, made on the assumption that the previous circular reasoning, involving a bare assertion, has established it as true.  It contains the same theoretical confusions about lexical items and register that were identified in [3] above, with the addition of locating linguistic meaning at the level of context (characterised by Rose as 'social context', and misconstrued, following Martin (1992) as 'register').

[6] The claim here is that lexical items, at the level of social context, are realised in language as wordings.  This adds further to the previously identified theoretical inconsistencies by proposing a realisation relation between context and lexicogrammar, thereby skipping the intervening level of symbolic abstraction, semantics.

[7] The claim here is that lexical items are instantiated in text.  On Rose's model, lexical items are located in context, and as such, are not instances of language (text), but of social context, which Rose distinguishes from language.

[8] To be clear, in SFL theory, the relation between features co-selected across different strata is realisation.  On the model proposed by Rose, this means that lexical items (at the level of context) are realised by the realisation of discourse semantic features in lexicogrammatical features.  Here the notion of 'co-instantiation' helps to mask the fact that Rose has not accounted for the discourse semantic features that realise lexical items.

[9] To be clear, in SFL theory, the different probabilities of features being co-selected provide the quantitative means of differentiating registers — where registers are coherently construed: as sub-potentials of language.

[10] From Fawlty Towers (The Hotel Inspectors):
Mr Hutchinson: In a nutshell.
Basil Fawlty: Case, more like.
In a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more:
In a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more:
In a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more: a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more:

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

David Rose "In A Nutshell" [Part 1]

a different but hopefully complementary perspective. I’m interested in social context as a semiotic plane that is organised systemically and realised by language, including grammar and discourse systems. Grammar and discourse construe register (field/tenor/mode) in different ways, partly by configuring lexical items. Eg IDEATION configures items in taxonomies, figures and sequences, TRANSITIVITY in processes, participants and circumstances. Each of these contribute general types of patterns to unfolding construals of a field. Lexical items contribute more specific features of register. …
in a nutshell

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, in SFL theory, 'context' means the culture construed as a semiotic system.  This is distinct from the material setting in which interlocutors create texts.  The context is realised by what the interlocutors say (and think).

[2] To be clear, in SFL theory, taking metaredundancy into account, context is realised by the realisation of semantics (meaning) in lexicogrammar (wording).

[3] To be clear, in SFL theory, language construes context — where construes means intellectually constructs — and field tenor and mode are the metafunctional systems of context.

[4]  To be clear, in SFL theory, register means a functional variety of language, and it is modelled as a  language sub-potential of the content plane (semantics and lexicogrammar).  As sub-potentials of language, different registers realise different sub-potentials of context.  Thus, context and register differ in terms of stratification (context vs language) and instantiation (potential vs sub-potential).

Rose, on the other hand, confuses register with context (field, tenor and mode), and in doing so, misconstrues language as non-language (his "social context"). 

[5] To be clear, in SFL theory, lexical items are not configured.  What are configured are functions in structures, whereas lexical items are the synthetic realisation of the most delicate lexical systems.  

[6] The experiential discourse semantic system of IDEATION is from Martin (1992).  As demonstrated in great detail here, and summarised here, it is a confusion of lexical cohesion (textual metafunction), lexis as most delicate grammar, and misapplied logical relations.

[7] This is seriously misleading.  Figures and sequences are types of phenomenon in the ideational semantics of Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 48ff).  They do not appear in Martin (1992), where 'activity sequences' —misunderstood from Barthes (1977) — are modelled as field (ideational context), which Martin misconstrues as register.

[8] To be clear, the system of TRANSITIVITY does not configure lexical items "in processes, participants and circumstances".  The system of TRANSITIVITY provides the potential for construing experience as a configuration of process, participants and circumstances.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 212, 213):
…experientially, the clause construes a quantum of change as a figure, or configuration of a process, participants involved in it and any attendant circumstances. …
The system of transitivity provides the lexicogrammatical resources for construing a quantum of change in the flow of events as a figure – as a configuration of elements centred on a process.
[9] Here Rose follows Martin (1992) in misconstruing ideational semantics (the meaning construed) during logogenesis as ideational context (the field of culture construed) — which Martin further misconstrues as a dimension of register.  For Martin's misunderstandings of context see here; for Martin's misunderstandings of register, see here.

[10] There is a sense in which the wording of this is consistent with SFL theory, even if it is not the meaning that Rose has in mind (see [Part 2]).  It is consistent in the sense that registers, in the SFL use of the term, differ in terms of the probabilities of systemic features being instantiated, and given that lexical items realise bundles of the most delicate features, the probabilities of these most delicate features being instantiated are the most delicate means of specifying different registers.
In a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more:
In a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more:
In a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more: a nutshell.
Case, more like.

Read more:

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

David Rose "Generally Puzzled"

Personally I like co-instantiation for integrating instantiation with stratification 
Only problem I have with Ruquaiya’s [sic] "only lexical item capable of functioning” is absence of probability. Isn’t the item/structure relation probabilistic? I’d be happy with probabilities of co-instantiation of strike (back) with either middle material or 1-Role Process. 
I’m still interested in where people locate lexical items in the architecture. Ruqaiya was trying to prove they could be delicate grammatical options. 
generally puzzled

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, the process of instantiation is the selection of features and the activation of realisation statements (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 45) at the instance pole of the cline of instantiation in logogenesis (the unfolding of text).  This necessarily entails the co-selection of features that are related along the dimensions of the theory, including delicacy, rank and strata.  Martin's superfluous notion of "co-instantiation" is merely an acknowledgement that features are co-selected.  In terms of semogenesis, what matters is the relations between the selected features — the place of features in the system.  For some of Martin's misunderstandings of instantiation, see here.

[2] In SFL theory, the cline of instantiation and the stratification hierarchy are distinct dimensions, organised according to different principles: class membership and symbolic identity, respectively.  As distinct dimensions, they jointly define the theoretical spaces in the following matrix:

The notion of co-instantiation "integrating instantiation with stratification" thus demonstrates a misunderstanding of these dimensions and the relation between them.

[3] This confuses the specification of a lexical item by lexical features with the probability of the instantiation of those features.

[4] In SFL theory, at the system pole of the cline of instantiation, features in systems are said to have relative probabilities of being selected (instantiated).  At the midway point on the cline of instantiation, different registers differ by the different probabilities of features being selected.  At the instance pole of the cline of instantiation, texts differ by the different frequencies of selected features.

Rose's notion of an "item/structure relation" is nonsensical, as explained in a previous post here.

[5] Translating this into SFL theory, it becomes: the co-selection probabilities of the features that specify the lexical item 'strike back' and the clause rank features 'material' (PROCESS TYPE) and 'middle' (AGENCY) from the system network of TRANSITIVITY.  Again, following from [3] above, Rose confuses the specification of a lexical item by lexical features with the probability of the co-selection of those features with grammatical features.

[6] The way to find out where lexical items are in the theoretical architecture is to both read about the theory and learn from it.  For example, Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 198-9) are quite helpful in this regard:
The paradigmatic strategy … is typically associated with feature networks: that is, networks made up of systems of features, such that each lexical item (as the name of a thing) realises a certain combination of these features selected from different systems within the network — a particular clustering of systemic variables. … This resource, the construal of systematically related lexico-semantic sets, illustrates well the principle of “lexis as most delicate grammar”. …
Note that it is not (usually) the lexical items themselves that figure as terms of the systems in the network.  Rather, the systems are systems of features, and the lexical items come in as the synthetic realisation of particular feature combinations.  Thus lexis (vocabulary) is part of a unified lexicogrammar; there is no need to postulate a separate “lexicon” as a pre-existing entity on which the grammar is made to operate.

[7] This is misleading, since it misrepresents the following quote from Hasan (1987: 198):
In English, the only lexical item capable of functioning as the Event in a clause with the above selection expression is 'scatter'. 
Hasan was not "trying to prove" that lexical items "could be delicate grammatical options", as demonstrated by the fact that she distinguishes between 'lexical item' and the bundle of features ('selection expression') that the lexical item realises.

Monday, 4 December 2017

John Bateman Endorsing David Rose's Misunderstandings Of SFL

David Rose wrote:
But it's not just Gordon’s phrasing… it’s normal SF talk, as in your own “the Medium isn't implicit: it's the empire;” which, forgive me, seems to imply the role and lexical item are identical
John Bateman replied:
yup, you're absolutely right. The phrasing is certainly less than unproblematic. It is just that I have difficulty in remembering that the packaging that has to be thought around Medium, Process etc. to have them make any sense at all even could be forgotten. 
So you're right as well to point this out — although language use is always underspecified in these ways: the consequences of the underspecification will depend on audience of course, which on this list is sufficiently diverse as to advise caution I guess.
David Rose wrote:
And how can a grammatical function structure be ‘realized’ by a lexical item? Where in the theory’s architecture is that possible?
 John Bateman replied:
lots of shorthand and slippage ... but I don't think that they are particularly unresolved or unresolvable, if necessary. You raise the more interesting set of issues around relations between information organised lexically and information organised grammatically, and I don't think that particular nut is going to be solved any time soon; there has been little sign of it going away in the past. Here there is more architecture than actual solutions I think.

Blogger Comments:

[1]  As demonstrated in the previous post, Rose is far from right on this matter, since he misconstrues a nominal group the empire as a lexical item, and the phrasing is not problematic, since it encodes a theoretical Value the Medium by reference to a language Token the empire.

[2] Apparently, Bateman has "difficulty in remembering" that something "even could be forgotten".

[3] As demonstrated in the previous post, the notion of a grammatical function structure being ‘realised’ by a lexical item is nonsensical, since a lexical item is the synthetic realisation of the most delicate lexicogrammatical features, whereas a grammatical function structure is constituted by the relations between the functional elements.

[4] In SFL theory, the relation between "information" (i.e. content) "organised grammatically" and "organised lexically" is one of delicacy.  As will be seen in a later post, "the more interesting set of  issues around relations between information organised lexically and information organised grammatically" arise not only from confusing lexical items with word rank units, but also from the confusion of lexis as most delicate grammar with lexical cohesion — a theoretical confusion that first occurs in Martin's (1992) discourse semantic system of IDEATION, as critiqued in great detail here.

[5] Leaving aside the conundrum of "solving a nut" and it "going away", any problem here arises from not understanding the theory, and so any solution will necessitate getting to know the theory, especially in terms of its architecture.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

David Rose "Puzzled"

Thanks John But it's not just Gordon’s phrasing… it’s normal SF talk, as in your own “the Medium isn't implicit: it's the empire;” which, forgive me, seems to imply the role and lexical item are identical.  Is it possible our shorthand masks some unresolved slippage? Hence my question about the relation. ‘Filled’ is too syntax and vocab isn’t it? And how can a grammatical function structure be ‘realized’ by a lexical item? Where in the theory’s architecture is that possible? The problem is two distinct construals of field that come together in an instance like 'the hurricane struck the coastal area of Haiti’… lexical and grammatical

Blogger Comments:

[1] To say the Medium is the empire does not imply that 'the role and lexical item are identical' — not least because the empire is not a lexical item, but a nominal group.  In construing an element of clause structure (the Medium) and a nominal group (the empire) as higher (Value) and lower (Token) levels of abstraction, the clause is consistent with SFL theory:

the Medium
'the empire'
Identified Value
Identifier Token

But this misses the point.  The clause construes an identifying relation between linguistic theory and language data, such that a theoretical value (the Medium) is encoded by reference to a token of language (the empire).

[2] The notion of a grammatical structure being realised by a lexical item is nonsensical.  A lexical item is the synthetic realisation of the most delicate features of the lexicogrammatical system, whereas a grammatical structure is constituted by the relations between its functional elements. Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83-4):
The significance of any functional label lies in its relationship to the other functions with which it is structurally associated. It is the structure as a whole, the total configuration of functions, that construes, or realises, the meaning. … It is the relation among all these [functions] that constitutes the structure.

[3] This heralds a cluster of theoretical misunderstandings that Rose elaborated in a later sysfling post.  See David Rose "In A Nutshell" [Part 1] and David Rose "In A Nutshell" [Part 2].

Saturday, 2 December 2017

David Rose "Being Obtuse"

David Rose wrote to sysfling on 30 Nov 2017 at 14:05:27:
Perhaps I'm being obtuse, but can I ask if, whether our perspective is transitive or ergative, when we describe items like 'strike' or 'strike back’ in terms like 1-Role Processes or 2-Role Processes (or ergative/transitive or whatever), we are actually classifying lexical items according to grammatical criteria? By the term Process do we mean a lexical item or an element in a function structure, such as Actor+Process? If the latter, then what is the relation between the function structure and the lexical item?

Blogger Comments:

[1] In describing 'strike' and 'strike back' as lexical items, instead of verbs, Rose is taking the lexical perspective on the notion of 'word' and ignoring the grammatical perspective.  As Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568-9) point out:
The folk notion of the “word” is really a conflation of two different abstractions, one lexical and one grammatical.
(i) Vocabulary (lexis): the word as lexical item, or "lexeme". This is construed as an isolate, a 'thing' that can be counted and sorted in (alphabetical) order. People "look for" words, they "put thoughts into" them, "put them into" or "take them out of another's", and nowadays they keep collections of words on their shelves or in their computers in the form of dictionaries. Specialist knowledge is thought of as a matter of terminology. The taxonomic organisation of vocabulary is less exposed: it is made explicit in Roget's Thesaurus, but is only implicit in a standard dictionary. Lexical taxonomy was the first area of language to be systematically studied by anthropologists, when they began to explore cultural knowledge as it is embodied in folk taxonomies of plants, animals, diseases and the like. 
(ii) Grammar: the word as one of the ranks in the grammatical system. This is, not surprisingly, where Western linguistic theory as we know it today began in classical times, with the study of words varying in form according to their case, number, aspect, person etc.. Word-based systems such as these do provide a way in to studying grammatical semantics: but the meanings they construe are always more complex than the categories that appear as formal variants, and grammarians have had to become aware of covert patterns.
From a grammatical perspective, 'strike' is a verb and 'strike back' is a phrasal verb, both at word rank.  As verbs, they feature as constituents of verbal groups, where they realise the functional element 'Event'; and verbal groups, in turn, feature as constituents of clauses, where they realise the functional elements 'Process', experientially, and (Finite +) Predicator, interpersonally.

[2] A lexical item is the synthetic realisation of the most delicate features of lexicogrammatical systems — just as a phoneme is the synthetic realisation of phonological features.  The relation between lexicogrammatical features and a lexical item is thus one of symbolic identity — lexical item as Token, features as Value — not class membership (attribution).

[3] The architectural dimensions of the theory provide the means of relating any regions within it.  To relate function structure to lexical item, the following path can be taken:
  • from structure to system: syntagmatic axis to paradigmatic axis (related by realisation),
  • within system, from most general features to most delicate (related by delicacy),
  • from bundle of most delicate features to lexical item (related by realisation).

But the question itself arises from taking a lexical perspective on the word instead of the grammatical.  The grammatical question would be 'how do we get from clause structure to word?', and the answer is via the rank scale and realisation, as described in [1] above.

See a related post from 2015 David Rose On Lexical Items.

Friday, 1 December 2017

David Rose On Metaphor And Levels Of Comprehension

A common definition that teachers use is in relation to similes, that compare one thing with another with ‘like’, while metaphors say one thing is the same as another. My strategy is to show them that metaphors have ‘two meanings’, the ‘literal' meaning of the wording and an ‘inferred' meaning that is different. And comparison is only one type of metaphor. They can be recognised because the literal meaning doesn't make sense in the co-text. The relation to SFL theory that teachers recognise is three levels of comprehension, literal, inferential and interpretive, where literal is defined simply as recognising meaning with a sentence, inferential as recognising connections from sentence to sentence and page to page, and interpretive as recognising connections to one’s knowledge and values. In technical SFL terms these are explained stratally as lexicogrammar, discourse semantics and register. This and much much more can be found in… Rose, D. (2017). Reading to Learn: Accelerating learning and closing the gap. Teacher training books and DVDs. Sydney: Reading to Learn

Blogger Comments:

[1] This misconstrues (literary) metaphors as similes — the comparison ('same') of phenomena — despite having already identified similes as concerned with comparison ('like').  The general frame of literary metaphor X is a Y, not X is the same as a Y.

A similar misunderstanding of metaphor can be found in Working With Discourse (Martin & Rose 2007: 45), as demonstrated here.

[2] Here Rose misrepresents levels of symbolic abstraction in the modelling of language as levels of comprehension of readers.

[3] In SFL theory, the "meaning in a sentence" is not lexicogrammar; it is the semantics (sequence) realised by the lexicogrammar (clause complex).  'Sentence', on the other hand, is a graphological unit.

Moreover, the (lexicogrammatical) wording may be congruent with the meaning ('literal') or incongruent (grammatical metaphor).

[4] In SFL theory, the "connections from sentence to sentence" are those of lexicogrammatical cohesion, the non-structural resource of the textual metafunction.  Martin (1992) misinterprets these non-structural textual systems of the lexicogrammar as structural experiential, logical and textual systems of his 'discourse' semantics, as demonstrated here.

[5] In SFL theory, 'register' is a functional variety of language, and as such, is modelled as a sub-potential of language, midway on the cline of instantiation between system and instance.  Martin (1992) confuses registers of language with the cultural contexts they realise and misconstrues register as context potential — i.e. neither language nor sub-potential — as demonstrated here.

[6] The use of the term 'accelerating' is interesting here, given that Reading To Learn is largely Rose's rebranding of Brian Gray's Accelerated Literacy.  Rose's doctoral research was concerned with providing an SFL description of an indigenous language; he worked with Brian Gray after its completion.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

John Bateman On "The 'Space' Between A Grammatically-Induced Semantics And Any Contextualised Use Of Involved Grammatical Constructions"

John Bateman wrote to sysfling on 2 November 2017 at 19:10:
I guess I should say something since the word 'space' came up.... for variety, spice and funny symbols, see:
  • Bateman, J. A. Language and Space: a two-level semantic approach based on principles of ontological engineering. International Journal of Speech Technology, Springer, 2010, 13, 29-48.
and for this as a further refinement of Michael and Christian's Construing Experience:
  • Bateman, J. A.; Hois, J.; Ross, R. J. & Tenbrink, T. A linguistic ontology of space for natural language processing Artificial Intelligence, 2010, 174, 1027-1071
One of the main points of these papers (derived from our 12 year collaborative research center on space ...) is to open up the 'space' (ha ha) between a grammatically-induced semantics and any contextualised use of involved grammatical constructions so that the enormous flexibility of ranges of interpretation is both made visible and constrained sufficiently so that it can be worked with productively. In the simple cases, one *might*, along that path, get to descriptions of locations-in-space (measurable, movable-in, etc.); in most cases, however, the constructed context is more interesting. One is in any case dealing at least with places rather than locations (i.e., social constructions and not geometry).

Blogger Comments:

[1] See John Bateman Positively Judging Himself.

[2] For a grammatical analysis of this clause nexus, see The Transitivity Of Bamboozlement.

[3] To be clear, "a grammatically-induced semantics" is the SFL model in which semantic potential is construed by lexicogrammatical potential; and "contextualised use of involved grammatical constructions" refers to the grammatical structures that realise grammatical systems instantiated in texts that realise situations.  The 'space' between the two is not a theoretical space; the two are related along three theoretical dimensions simultaneously:
  • stratification (semantics realised by lexicogrammar),
  • axis (system realised by structure),
  • instantiation (text as instance of system).

[4] Here Bateman follows Martin (1992) in misconstruing ideational semantics (the meaning construed) as ideational context (the field of culture construed).  For Martin's misunderstandings of context see here; for Martin's misunderstandings of stratification, see here.  For Bateman's endorsements of Martin's theoretical misunderstandings, in general, see here.

[5] To be clear, on the SFL model, socially constructed "places" and geometrical "locations" are construals of experience as meanings of socio-semiotic systems. For more on Bateman's epistemological assumptions, see John Bateman Denying The Existence Of Text.

Monday, 6 November 2017

David Banks' Reasons For Not Identifying 'Accompaniment'

 David Banks replied regarding Annabelle Lukin's query on sysfling on 2 November 2017 at 22:09:
It seems to me that if you say "between Iraqi and British forces" is a circumstance, that means that it is functioning at the level of the clause, and it is a circumstance of the predicator "have been". But I don't feel that holds water. If "between Iraqi and British forces" is related to a process, then that process is "clashes", which is a nominalized process, and the relationship is not circumstantial but agentive, so in the unpacked variant "Iraqi and British forces clashed", "Iraqi and British forces" functions as actor. This is not unusual; it is common in cases of grammatical metaphor, for the putative actor of a nominalized process to be encoded in a prepositional phrase functioning as qualifier of the nominalized process. It is the reciprocal nature of the process in this case that gives us the process "between" rather than "by".

If we simply ask: what is "between Iraqi and British forces" doing, surely the answer is: telling us about the nature of "clashes", that is, it is describing "clashes". Since "clashes" is a noun, an element which describes it is a modifier or qualifier. 
The only complication arises because "clashes" is a nominalized process. Who is doing the "clashing": answer: "Iraqi and British forces". So the qualifier encodes the putative actor of the nominalized process.

and on 3 November 2017 at 19:22:
Among the numerous variants we have:
"Iraqi forces clashed with British forces"
"British forces clashed with iraqi forces"
"Iraqi and British forces clashed"
So, I feel, you can't get away from the fact that "Iraqi forces" and "British forces" are the participants in the process of "clashing", and the grammatical metaphor (used for reasons we do not know since it's out of context) means that the participants are encoded as a qualifier of the nominalized process.

I agree with almost everything David wrote, with the possible exception of needing to agree to disagree! :-)

Blogger Comments:

Reminder: the clause under discussion is
there have been more clashes between Iraqi and British forces.

[1] Trivially, a circumstance is attendant on a Process (experiential), not a Predicator (interpersonal), and have is Finite and been is Predicator.

[2] This is incorrect.  The Process of this clause is have been, not clashes; clashes functions as the Thing/Head of the nominal group more clashes which functions as the participant Existent.

[3] This is true; clashes is a nominalised process, which is why it doesn't function as the Process of this metaphorical clause.  It is in the more congruent agnates, which Banks cites, that it functions as Process.

[4] The agency of both the metaphorical clause and its congruent agnates is 'middle', not 'effective';  that is, there is no Agent.

[5] This part is true, but irrelevant, because the query is about the metaphorical clause, not its more congruent agnates.

[6] An instance of this type would be there have been more attacks by British and Iraqi forces.  In this type, the prepositional phrase is indeed functioning as Qualifier, since, unlike the clause under discussion, it can't be thematised without more attacks; see previous post on determining constituency.

[7] Here Banks repeats Bartlett's misinterpretation of 'joint participation in the process' as 'reciprocality'; see previous post.  Since the process is not 'reciprocal' — the British and Iraqi forces didn't "clash each other" — this is not the reason for the minor Process being between rather than by.  The function of between is to construe the joint participants as a circumstance; see [8].

[8] The prepositional phrase metaphorically construes the joint participants in what is congruently a material Process, 'clash', as circumstantial to the existential Process have been.  The type of circumstance that construes joint participation is 'Accompaniment' (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 174; Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 324).

[9] This correctly identifies agnates of the metaphorical clause, demonstrating both Accompaniment (with British forces, with Iraqi forces) and its relation to 'joint participation' (Iraqi and British forces), but still fails to make the theoretical connection.

[10] What we can say is that the grammatical metaphor reconstrues a very material process as one of merely existing, and reconstrues the participants of that Process, both Agent and Medium, as merely circumstantial.  Given that it was Britain that illegally invaded Iraq, and not the contrary, we can take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that one reason the metaphor was used was to hide the agency of British humans in the "clash", along with the fact that their actions impacted on Iraqi humans.

[11] See [1] to [10] above.  See also Thoughts That Didn't Occur…

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Tom Bartlett's Reasons For Not Identifying 'Accompaniment'

How about this:
There have been more clashes between Iraqi and British forces
The process type is simple. But what kind of circumstance is "between Iraqi and British forces"?

I'd say it's a qualifier in the ngp.

My feeling here is that it could usefully be analysed as a marker of reciprocality, i.e. where processes are two way, such as:
they married/fought/loved/hated each other 
These have nominal equivalents of
the marriage/fighting/love/hate between them
For that reason I would also stick with the qualifier analysis. 
It's a bit difficult to talk about agency though as love and hate are non-agentive processes (just Medium and Range).

Blogger Comments:

[1] The question of whether the prepositional phrase between Iraqi and British forces functions as a circumstance or a Qualifier is one of constituency: does it realise an element of clause structure (circumstance) or does it realise an element of group structure (Qualifier)?  Halliday and Matthiessen (2014: 270-1) provide a simple means of determining this:
To differentiate [circumstance from Qualifier] in analysis, we can apply textual probes: in principle, being an element of the clause, a circumstance is subject to all the different textual statuses brought about by theme, theme predication and theme identification. … In contrast, a Qualifier cannot on its own be given textual status in the clause since it is a constituent of a nominal group, not of the clause; so it can only be thematic together with the rest of the nominal group it is part of.
Bartlett's analysis of the prepositional phrase as Qualifier is ruled out by the textual agnate:
it is between Iraqi and British forces that there have been more clashes.
cf the Location agnate:
it is between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that there have been more clashes.

[2] This confuses reciprocality with joint participation in a process.  On the basis of Bartlett's examples, the omitted clause they clashed each other falsifies the interpretation as reciprocality.  On the other hand, a more congruent agnate of Lukin's clause
Iraqi and British forces have clashed again
demonstrates that the circumstance between Iraqi and British forces is agnate to joint participation in a process.  The type of circumstance that is agnate to joint participation is Accompaniment.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 324):
Accompaniment is a form of joint participation in the process and represents the meanings ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’ as circumstantials;
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 174):
The circumstance of Accompaniment does not correspond to any one particular participant rôle. Rather, it corresponds to an extending of the participant itself, by addition or variation… Grammatically, the analogous type of participant is one represented by a nominal group complex.
A transitivity analysis of Lukin's clause can be viewed on the Sysfling blog here.  Other instances of non-spatiotemporal uses of 'between' can be viewed on the Sys-Func blog here.

[3] These nominal groups provide no grammatical reasoning for interpreting Lukin's clause, since they are not agnate to it.  Being nominal groups, they are merely instances in which the prepositional phrase does actually function as a Qualifier.  As an argument, this can be seen as an example of the logical fallacy known as begging the question.

[4] To be clear, emotive mental Process clauses are potentially 'two-way': emanating ('like' type) or impinging ('please' type).  It is only the emanating type that is 'middle' in terms of agency ("just Medium and Range").  Impinging mental Process clauses are 'effective' in terms of 'agency'.  However, 'effective' agency can also be realised in analytical causatives, as in you made me love you:


Monday, 23 October 2017

Tom Bartlett Misunderstanding Meaning Potential, Delicacy And Instantiation

We can probably bring in a phylogenetic and logogenetic perspective too - focusing on the meaning potential of the lexeme across the language as well as the construal of the process in the text -

I think this would be in line with what Lise has suggested in a couple of plenaries recently.

Each lexeme (here verb) has developed a range of possible meanings and associations at the potential end of the cline,

and when used in text (to construe a process) this range of meanings and connotations is narrowed down (but not entirely) by both the grammatical structures used and the surrounding cotext.

As Lise was suggesting, we then also need to consider the middle ground - what sorts of meaning tend to be cut down under what sorts of conditions/in what sort of situation types.

Basically, it's looking at the system-instance cline from the perspective of the individual resources (for Lise, lexis, but I would say any meaning type including structures) rather than (or complementary to) the total range of meanings that are "at risk".

Again as pointed out by Lise, we need to consider the potential of the individual resources we can draw on in a particular situation as well as the potential range of meanings we can make.

What we end up uttering is the intersection of the two, and that may leave ambiguity, etc.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Theorising by focussing on the lexical item is neither systemic nor functional, and so, is inconsistent with the perspective of Systemic Functional Grammar.  The reason it is not systemic is that a lexical item is not (a feature in) a system; instead, a lexical item is the synthetic realisation of the most delicate features in lexicogrammatical systems (as a phoneme is the synthesis of phonological features).  The reason it is not functional is that lexical items are lower in symbolic abstraction than both the lexicogrammatical features they realise, and the semantic features that the lexicogrammatical features realise.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 49) explain:
Being a ‘functional grammar’ means that priority is given to the view ‘from above’; that is, grammar is seen as a resource for making meaning — it is a ‘semanticky’ kind of grammar. But the focus of attention is still on the grammar itself. 
Giving priority to the view ‘from above’ means that the organising principle adopted is one of system: the grammar is seen as a network of interrelated meaningful choices. In other words, the dominant axis is the paradigmatic one: the fundamental components of the grammar are sets of mutually defining contrastive features.  Explaining something consists not of stating how it is structured but in showing how it is related to other things: its pattern of systemic relationships, or agnateness (agnation).
By adopting a different perspective on the data, Bartlett is unwittingly using a different theory to interpret the data, thereby yielding interpretations at odds with the original theory.

[2] This confuses 'potential meaning' (of a lexical item) with 'meaning potential' (system).

[3] Here Bartlett contrasts the lexical with the grammatical contributions to the meanings realised by an instantial process.  In SFL, this is theorised by the scale of delicacy.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 198-9):
… we can differentiate both processes and participants into finer and finer subcategories, until we reach a degree of differentiation that is associated with the choice of words (lexical items). Note that it is not (usually) the lexical items themselves that figure as terms of the systems in the network. Rather, the systems are systems of features, and the lexical items come in as the synthetic realisation of particular feature combinations. 
[4] This confuses the lexical and grammatical notions of the 'word'.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568):
The folk notion of the "word" is really a conflation of two different abstractions, one lexical and one grammatical.
(i) Vocabulary (lexis): the word as lexical item, or "lexeme". This is construed as an isolate, a 'thing' that can be counted and sorted in (alphabetical) order. … 
(ii) Grammar: the word as one of the ranks in the grammatical system. This is, not surprisingly, where Western linguistic theory as we know it today began in classical times, with the study of words varying in form according to their case, number, aspect, person etc.
[5] The potential pole of the cline of instantiation is the system.  Because lexical items are not systems — but synthetic realisations of features — it is inconsistent to construe them as systems at the potential pole of the cline.

[6] The midway point on the cline of instantiation is register, each of which a subpotential of the overall system that varies according to situation type.  Because lexical items are not systems, it is inconsistent to construe them as subpotentials at the midway point of the cline of instantiation.

[7] Here Bartlett contrasts looking at lexis in terms of the cline of instantiation with 'the total number of meanings that are "at risk" '.  As explained above, this is a contrast between, on the one hand, a misunderstanding of delicacy and instantiation, and on the other, the system of meaning potential.

[8] Here Bartlett misconstrues (syntagmatic) structures as being on the cline of instantiation that obtains between (paradigmatic) system and instance.  This is inconsistent in terms of axis.

[9] Here Bartlett summarises by claiming that instances (texts) involve 'the intersection' of
  • the potential meanings of lexical items (and grammatical structures) at the instance pole of the cline of instantiation, with 
  • meaning potential (the system pole of the cline of instantiation), 
As demonstrated above, the first of these arises from misunderstandings of meaning potential, delicacy and instantiation, combined with a perspective on grammar that is neither systemic nor functional.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Tom Bartlett Confusing A 'Qualitative Process' With An 'Angle' Agnate

Tom Bartlett wrote to sysfling on 13 October 2017 at 19:09:
If something matters, it has to matter to somebody, that is why it so readily takes a Circumstance of Angle (a grammatical reactance that brings in a second participant, if outside the nucleus):
It matters to me
cf. the less likely (yes, I know, I need hard evidence....)

It's big to me. 
This is because mattering is evaluative while size is (construed as) objective - and it belongs in appreciation: impact. Now, appreciation and relational clauses are a pretty congruent mix, but as we know from Appraisal, appreciation: impact is borderline with affect, which has some sort of congruency relationship (deliberately vague formulation...) with mental processes. So from this perspective, just as we analyse interesting as appreciation: impact with a nod to affect: satisfaction (if it's interesting someone must be interested), we could also analyse matter as relational with a nod to mental (because of the reactances and the systemic relations, not just notionality). In other words, matter itself is relational, but it entails a separate mental process.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Here Bartlett confuses the mental Process agnate of a circumstance of Angle (to me) with a qualitative attributive Process (matters).  To be clear, in SFL theory, a circumstance of Angle is agnate to a projecting mental or verbal clause.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 174-5):
This type of circumstance relates to projection rather than expansion, and specifically to the projecting not the projected component. Hence there is no agnate participant; instead, the Angle corresponds to the process of saying (grammatically, the projecting verbal clause in a ‘locution’ nexus) or the process of sensing (grammatically, the projecting mental clause of an ‘idea’ nexus). Thus according to the newspaper corresponds to the newspaper says; and to her students corresponds to her students think.
[2] To be clear, Angle is a circumstance, not a participant.  However, the Range of the prepositional phrase serving as Angle does constitute an indirect participant in the Process — indirect because it is mediated through the minor Process of the prepositional phrase.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 329):
The preposition, it was suggested, acts as a kind of intermediary whereby a nominal element can be introduced as an ‘indirect’ participant in the main process.
[3] Trivially, all second participants are 'outside the nucleus', since the Nucleus comprises only the Process and its Medium.

[4] This is attempt to justify (or obfuscate) the ideational confusion identified above in [1], by arguing from the interpersonal system of appraisal: attitude.

[5] To be clear, the term 'congruent' has a precise meaning in SFL theory.  It refers to two levels of symbolic abstraction, typically semantics (meaning) and lexicogrammar (wording), within the one metafunction, being in agreement, as is the case in the absence of grammatical metaphor.  Here Bartlett applies it to the relation between interpersonal meaning (appraisal: attitude: affect) and ideational wording (transitivity: mental process clauses).

Thursday, 19 October 2017

David Rose On Process Type Features

… Fourth, as Mick points out there are consistent (but also fuzzy) relations between the grammatical categories and domains of experience denoted by certain verbs (for example). I don’t think labels like behavioural, mental and so on are semantic. Rather they denote general fields of experience, beyond language. The grammar organises these fields, while lexical items are far more variable. 
A question I’m interested in is where do these relations come from? I mean our experience is so complex, fluid and variable. It seems a miracle that the grammar organises it as neatly as it does, despite the fuzz.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This misunderstands the theory.  In SFL, the process type features are theorised as both semantic and lexicogrammatical.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 503):
… we treat transitivity both within semantics (the paradigmatic and syntagmatic organisation of figures) and within lexicogrammar (the grammar of transitivity): it is a system construed within the content plane of language — both in the ideational component in the lexicogrammar and in the ideation base. This two-stratal approach to transitivity makes it possible to model the resource of grammatical metaphor and is fundamental to work on multilingual systems for generating text.
[2] On the one hand, this can be read as consistent with SFL theory, and so, as contradictory of Rose's previous statement.  On this reading, process type features, as ideational semantics do realise (Rose's 'denote') field, in the sense of 'field' as ideational context (the culture as semiotic system).  But this is not Rose's meaning here — as suggested by the contradiction — since Rose follows Martin's error in treating 'field' as a dimension of register.

On the other hand, this can be read as inconsistent with the epistemological assumptions on which SFL theory was developed.  On this reading, 'fields of experience beyond language' refers to the experience that is construed as ideational meaning.  On the SFL model, meaning is located within semiotic systems ("immanent"), rather than being transcendent of them.

In claiming that process type features denote (realise) 'fields of experience beyond language', Rose is (a) ascribing meaning to the domain outside semiotic systems, and (b) construing this domain as more abstract meaning than the meaning of language.  See also Philosophical Realism.

[3] On the one hand, this can be read as consistent with SFL theory if 'fields' is understood as the experience that is transformed into meaning, and if 'organises' is understood as 'construes as meaning'.  But this is not Rose's meaning here.  For Rose, 'fields' refers to (transcendent) meanings outside language, and it is the rôle of the grammar to organise them.

[4] This misunderstands the relation between grammar and lexis.  In SFL, lexical items are the synthesis of features of the most delicate systems of the lexicogrammar (just as phonemes are the synthesis of phonological features).

[5] This puzzlement arises from the epistemological inconsistencies identified above in [2] and [3].  The 'relations' arise as ideational meaning, construed of experience, in the logogenesis, ontogenesis and phylogenesis of meaning potential.