The Thought Occurs

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

What Do Social Semiotics And Pantheism Have In Common?

SFL enables us to recognise a parallel between pantheism and social semiotics. 

By pantheism, I mean the practice of regarding natural phenomena as if persons: ie as if gods, spirits etc; by social semiotics, I mean the practice of regarding material phenomena, especially human artefacts, as if signs: ie as if metaphenomena. 

In pantheism, natural material phenomena are treated as symbol sources. In personifying such phenomena, the type of symbol source is Senser: ie a conscious participant capable of projecting the content of consciousness. Sensers engage in interior (conscious) symbolic processing.

In social semiotics, artefactual material phenomena are also treated as symbol sources. Here, though, the type of symbol source is Sayer: ie a participant, not necessarily conscious, capable of projecting the content of consciousness (the sign says x). Sayers engage in exterior symbolic processing, which is intermediate between interior symbolic processing (sensing) and symbolising (being).

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Who’s Afraid Of Benjamin Lee Whorf?

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 569):
Whorf (1956) distinguished between overt and covert categories and pointed out that covert categories were often also “cryptotypes” — categories whose meanings were complex and difficult to access. Many aspects of clause grammar, and of the grammar of clause complexes, are essentially cryptotypic.