Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Tom Bartlett Misrepresenting IFG On Behavioural Processes

Tom Bartlett replied to Michael O'Donnell on Sysfling on 12 October 2017 at 19:48:
When we discuss concepts such as transitivity on the list there are three (at least) possible things we are doing … 
2. Suggesting the IFG analysis is wrong in its own terms - i.e. accepting the logic of IFG but suggesting this logic has been wrongly applied. This often happens when we discuss behaviourals as they now seem to be dotted about in various self-contradictory places in IFG itself.

Blogger Comments:

This is manifestly untrue and, unsurprisingly, Bartlett cites no evidence. Inconsistent interpretations of behavioural processes do, however, appear in works other than IFG, such as Deploying Functional Grammar (Martin et al 2010), as documented here. Bartlett may be confused by the misunderstandings of Banks, critiqued here.

The reason interpreters of IFG have such trouble with behavioural processes is that they are the least distinct of all the process types, as Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 248-50, 255) explain:
They are the least distinct of all the six process types because they have no clearly defined characteristics of their own; rather they are partly like the material and partly like the mental. … ‘behavioural’ process clauses are not so much a distinct type of process, but rather a cluster of small subtypes blending the material and the mental into a continuum …
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 136) suggest:
These can be interpreted as a subtype of material processes or as a borderline category between material and mental.