The Thought Occurs

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Buyer Beware!

Scholars who are new to SFL Theory should note that this new publication mainly features papers by Jim Martin and his former students.

Evidence of Jim Martin's serious misunderstandings of SFL Theory is available here (English Text 1992) and here (Working With Discourse 2007).

The only way to get a solid grounding in Halliday's theory is to read Halliday (± Matthiessen).

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

External vs Internal Cohesive Conjunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 611):
Relations between representations of segments of experience are called external relations, and conjunctions marking such relations are called external conjunctions. … 
Relations linking text segments in their interpersonal guise are called internal relations – internal to the text as a speech event, and conjunctions marking such relations are called internal conjunctions.

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Importance Of Irreverence In Intellectual Life

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; 
they are not here to worship what is known, 
but to question it.

— Jacob Bronowski

Friday, 20 September 2019

Intellectual Integrity

What every strong intellect wants to be is a guardian of integrity.
 — Jacob Bronowski

Intellectual integrity is the discipline of striving to be thorough and honest to learn the truth or to reach the best decision possible in a given situation. A person with intellectual integrity has a driving desire to follow reasons and evidence courageously wherever they may lead.

Friday, 13 September 2019

When Is Emotion Not Affect?

When it is not used to enact the self or intersubjective relations through an interpersonal assessment. For example, the clause
She was surprised that the answer was thirteen
construes a process of emotion, but on its own, does not enact an appraisal, since nothing is assessed positively or negatively.

On the other hand, the clause
She was pleasantly surprised that the answer was thirteen
  1. construes a process of emotion (was surprised), and 
  2. enacts a positive appraisal of that emotion by reference to a Quality of emotion (pleasantly), and so constitutes an instance of affect.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 7):
The ideational metafunction is concerned with construing experience — it is language as a theory of reality, as a resource for reflecting on the world. The interpersonal metafunction is concerned with enacting interpersonal relations through language, with the adoption and assignment of speech roles, with the negotiation of attitudes, and so on — it is language in the praxis of intersubjectivity, as a resource for interacting with others.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

What Is A Connotative Semiotic?

Applied to SFL theory, the expression plane (signifier) of language and the content plane (signified) of language together constitute a denotative semiotic.  And language as a denotative semiotic is the expression plane (signifier) of the culture as semiotic system (signified).  It is this relation between language and culture that constitutes a connotative semiotic.

connotative semiotic (culture language)
culture as content
language as expression

denotative semiotic (language)
content plane of language
expression plane of language

Note that Martin, while claiming to be 'following Hjelmslev' (1992: 493), misinterprets varieties of the content of a denotative semiotic — genre, register — as (the content of) a connotative semiotic.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Undoubted Importance Of Jim Martin's Opinion

For my part, after thinking about several exchanges on the list and off, it seems to me that having plenary talks in languages other than English matters far more for people for whom it matters than not being able to follow such talks matters for people who wouldn’t be able to follow them… and so we should defer to the people for whom this matters most.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Subjunctive 'Mood' In SFL Theory And Description

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
Note that the system of MOOD is a system of the clause, not of the verbal group or of the verb. Many languages also have an interpersonal system of the verb(al group) that has been referred to as ‘mood’: it involves interpersonal contrasts such as indicative/subjunctive, indicative/subjunctive/optative. To distinguish these verbal contrasts from the clausal system of MOOD, we can refer to them as contrasts in mode. The subjunctive mode tends to be restricted to the environment of bound clauses – in particular, reported clauses and conditional clauses having the sense of irrealis. In Modern English, the subjunctive mode of the verb is marginal, although there is some dialectal variation.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Minor Speech Function Of 'Well-Wishing'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
Greetings include salutations, e.g. Hullo!, Good morning!, Welcome!, Hi!, and valedictions, such as Goodbye!, See you!; together with their responses, largely the same set of forms. Under this heading we could include well-wishings, like Your very good health!, Cheers!, Good shot!, Congratulations!. Both calls and greetings include some that are structured as clauses or nominal groups.
Cf. The Lord be with you, God forgive you your sins and God bless you.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Decolonising Vs Hegemonic

May I add that adopting SFL as a metalanguage is already a decolonising act, against the hegemonic universalist metalanguage of north American formal linguistics?
at the end of a conversation on SYSFLING begun by Jim Martin on 28 Jul 2019, 22:47:
… I would encourage the ISFLA executive to develop guidelines to the effect that in the absence of simultaneous interpreting English be used as a lingua franca for plenary addresses, that programs are clear about which language will be used for parallel presentations, and that where possible an English alternative be made available.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

International Conferences

International Conferences are institutional devices whereby
those with the greatest capacity to pay (savvy senior academics with expense accounts)
have their international (business class) air travel and accommodation paid for (as plenary speakers)
by those with the least capacity to pay (naïve students and junior academics).