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…