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.