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.