The Thought Occurs

Thursday, 31 March 2011


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 320-1):
… both these contextual variables [field and tenor] are, in some sense, independent of language, even though they are constituted in language and the other semiotic systems of a culture. That is, they concern realities that exist alongside the reality created by language itself, semiotic reality. However, there is a third contextual variable that is specifically concerned with the part language is playing in any given context — the symbolic mode, how the linguistic resources are deployed. This covers both the medium (spoken, written, and various subtypes such as written in order to be spoken) and the rhetorical function — persuasive, didactic, informative, etc.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Collective Consciousness

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 609):
Edelman’s interpretation of higher–order consciousness … suggests that this form of consciousness (unlike primary consciousness) is constituted in language. Language is a socio–semiotic system, so it follows that higher–order consciousness is constituted socio–semiotically; and since socio–semiotic systems are collective, it follows that higher–order consciousness must also be collective. …
But it is the rôle of language in the construction of experience as meaning — as shared activity and collaboratively constructed resource — that gives substance to the concept of collective consciousness as an attribute of the human condition.

Cf Edelman (1992: 133):
higher–order consciousness adds socially constructed selfhood to this picture of biological individuality … but it is highly individual (indeed it is personal).

Cf Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 193):
Human collectives: intermediate between conscious beings and institutions. These can function as Senser in sensing of all kinds … but they accept either singular or plural pronouns, and if singular pronominalise with it.

ie the grammar construes the consciousness of human collectives as impersonal.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Extent Vs Scope

Diagnostics: Measure and Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 264):
There is no very sharp line separating (circumstantial) expressions of Extent from (participant) expressions of Scope of the enhancing type; but there is a distinction between them: Extent is expressed in terms of some unit of measurement … whereas Scope in terms other than measure units … and being a participant, the Scope has the potential of being able to serve as Subject.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Token Vs Value

Diagnostic: Voice & Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 233, 235):
With a verb other than be it is clear which is Token and which is Value, since … this can be determined by the voice: if the clause is ‘operative’, the Subject is Token, whereas if the clause is ‘receptive’, the Subject is Value. … With the verb be one cannot tell whether the clause is ‘operative’ or ‘receptive’; the best strategy for analysing these is to substitute some other verb, such as represent, and see which voice is chosen. … Note that in a thematic equative, the nominalisation is always the Value.