The Thought Occurs

The Thought Occurs

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The contrast between ‘operative’ and ‘receptive’ is a contrast in voice open to ‘transitive’ clauses

(1) How Operative & Receptive Clauses Differ

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 182):
The clauses are the same experientially; they both represent a configuration of Actor + Process + Goal. But they differ in how these rôles are mapped onto the interpersonal functions in the modal structure of the clause. In the ‘operative’ variant, the Actor is mapped on to the Subject, so it is given modal responsibility and in the ‘unmarked’ case (in a ‘declarative’ clause) it is also the Theme; and the Goal is mapped on to the Complement, so in the ‘unmarked’ case it falls within the Rheme. However, in the ‘receptive’ variant, it is the Goal that is mapped onto the Subject, so it is assigned modal responsibility and it is also the Theme in the ‘unmarked’ case; and the Actor has the status of an Adjunct within the Rheme of the clause and, as an Adjunct, it may be left out …

(2) Purpose Of Choosing Receptive

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 232):
The reason for choosing the ‘receptive’ in English is to get the desired texture, in terms of Theme–Rheme and Given–New; in particular it avoids marked information focus (which carries an additional semantic feature of contrast).

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