The Thought Occurs

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Epistemological Position Of SFL Theory

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: xi):
… we stress that the categories and relations of experience are not “given” to us by nature, to be passively reflected in our language, but are actively constructed by language, with the lexicogrammar as the driving force.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 3):
We contend that the conception of ‘knowledge’ as something that exists independently of language, and may then be coded or made manifest in language, is illusory. All knowledge is constituted in semiotic systems, with language as the most central; and all such representations of knowledge are constructed from language in the first place.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 3):
Our contention is that there is no ordering of experience other than the ordering given to it by language. We could in fact define experience in linguistic terms: experience is the reality we construe for ourselves by means of language.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 13):
In paradigmatic construal, we construe a phenomenon as being of some particular type — some selection from a set of potential types. … In syntagmatic construal, we construe a phenomenon as having some particular composition — as consisting of parts in some structural configuration.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 17):
The view we are adopting is a constructivist one, familiar from European linguistics in the work of Hjelmslev and Firth. According to this view, it is the grammar itself that construes experience, that constructs for us our world of events and objects. As Hjelmslev (1943) said, reality is unknowable; the only things that are known are our construals of it — that is, meanings. Meanings do not ‘exist’ before the wordings that realise them. They are formed out of the impact between our consciousness and its environment.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 68):
Categorisation is often thought of as a process of classifying together phenomena that are inherently alike, the classes being as it were given to us by the nature of the experience itself. But this is not what really happens. Categorising is a creative act: it transforms our experience into meaning, and this means imposing a categorical order rather than putting labels on an order that is already there.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 68):
There would be indefinitely many ways of construing analogies among different elements in the total flux of experience; what our semantic resources enable us to do is to construe those analogies which yield categories resonating with what as a species, and as members of a particular culture, we have found to carry material and symbolic value.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 82):
From a typological point of view, construing experience in terms of categories means locating them somewhere in [a] network of relations.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 97):
To construe experience of concrete phenomena as meaning is thus to construe some signification which lies outside the ideation base as a value which is internal to the ideation base system.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 213):
The key to the construal of experience is the perception of change; the grammar construes a quantum of change as a figure (typically one clause) and sorts out figures in the first instance into those of consciousness (sensing and saying), those of the material world (doing & happening) and those of logical relations (being & having). The central element of a figure is the process; ‘things’ are construed as entities participating in processes, having different rôles, of which one is ‘that participant in which the process is actualised’ … ; hence the grammatical nucleus of the clause is the configuration of Process with Medium.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 353):
… our metatheoretic position is that the construction of meaning is both a discourse–semantic and a lexicogrammatical process.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 423-4):
… reality is not something that is given to us; we have to construct an interpretation of it — or, as we prefer to put it, we have to construe our experience. Interpretation is a semiotic process, and our interpretation takes into account not only the concrete natural world but also the socio-cultural realm that is brought into existence as a semiotic construct …

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 602):
Language is not a second–order code through which meanings created in some higher–order realm of existence are mysteriously made manifest and brought to light. To borrow the conceit that Firth was fond of caricaturing, there are no “naked ideas” lurking in the background waiting to be clothed. It is language that creates meaning, in the sense that meaning has for us as human beings (which is the only sense of it that we can know).

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 603):
… our interpretation of meaning is immanent, so that meaning is inside language, not some separate, higher domain of human experience.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 608-9):
… the human brain has evolved in the construction of a functioning model of “reality”. We prefer to conceptualise “reality construction” in terms of construing experience. This is not so much because it avoids metaphysical issues about the ultimate nature of reality — we are prepared to acknowledge a broadly materialist position …

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 609):
… what is being construed by the brain is not the environment as such, but the impact of that environment on the organism and the ongoing material and semiotic exchange between the two.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 609):
… we want to emphasise the evolutionary perspective, since this allows us to start from what human beings have in common with other species rather than always insisting on our own uniqueness: when we talk of “construction of reality” it is almost impossible to avoid taking our own construction as the norm, whereas parakeets, pythons, and porpoises have very different experiences to construe — different both from each other’s and from those of people.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 609):
… the concept of experience is, or can be, a collective one: experience is something that is shared by the members of a species — construed as a “collective consciousness”, in Durkheim’s classic formulation.