Friday, 24 February 2017

John Bateman On The Interpersonal Metafunction In Mathematics

John Bateman wrote to sysfling on 24 February 2017 at 10:10 in reply to the query 'To what degree is TENOR important in mathematical discourse?':
one of the well known kinds of proofs for more advanced mathematics is 'proof by intimidation': sounds pretty interpersonal to me! :-) 
And as soon as you move down to educational contexts, you'll want to be hitting your tenor variables right. Since all metafunctions in less-grammaticised semiotic modes are in any case discourse interpretations, I'm sure you'll be able to find something... 
I'd be with Yaegan though in doubting that the technical resources employed in mathematics have any inherent interpersonal organisationalthough certain variations,
'x(1-y)' compared to 'x times (1 - y)'
may move in that direction. But is that what you meant?

Blogger Comments:

[1] The use of the word 'down' here — from genre to tenor — indicates that Bateman is using Martin's (1992) model* in which genre and register are misconstrued as context strata instead of functional varieties of language (a point on the cline of instantiation).  For some of the many theoretical misunderstandings on which Martin's model is based, see the arguments here.

[2] The use of the word 'discourse' here — instead of 'semantics' or 'meaning' — indicates that Bateman is using Martin's (1992) model* of discourse semantics.  For some of the many theoretical misunderstandings on which Martin's model is based, see the arguments here.

[3] The typical mathematical equation is a proposition realised by a declarative clause, and structured as Subject^Finite/Predicator^Complement, whether realised in the graphology peculiar to the field of mathematics or in the unspecialised graphology (or phonology) of an individual language.  A sample structural analysis can be viewed here.  Proposals realised by imperative clauses are also used, and take the form exemplified by let x =3.

[4] The variation here is textual (mode), not interpersonal (tenor).


* Postscript: A critical examination of Bateman's review of Martin (1992) will be the subject of a new blog: Thoughts That Didn't Occur.  At first glance, it appears that Bateman has failed to notice any of the 2000+ theoretical inconsistencies in Martin's work (identified here).