The Thought Occurs

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Jim Martin "Honouring" The Late Ruqaiya Hasan

In this third session of the symposium to honour the late Ruqaiya Hasan, Jim Martin insinuated that Ruqaiya Hasan had knowingly used the work of Mitchell on text structure without admitting it. That's right, Jim Martin actually impugned the integrity of a deceased colleague at a gathering convened to honour her.

However, a glance at Hasan's work on text structure reveals that the relevant Mitchell publication is cited in her list of references (Hasan 1985: 121):
Mitchell, T.F. (1957), 'The language of buying and selling in Cyrenaica: A situational statement', Hesperis 26.  Reprinted in T. F. Mitchell Principles of Firthian Linguistics (Longmans Linguistics Library), Longman, London, 1975.
In his English Text (1992: 432), Martin had previously insinuated that Hasan's motivations for modelling texture were Chomskyan in orientation, as part of his critique of her model.  See my analysis of Martin's assessment here.

For a list of some of the misrepresentations of Hasan's work in Martin (1992), see here.

Martin ended his "honouring" of Ruqaiya Hasan by promoting his own work at the expense of hers. For detailed evidence demonstrating that Martin's theorising is based on multiple misunderstandings of SFL theory, see here.

Hasan (2011)

Hasan 1978/2011

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Text: Instantiation Vs Stratification

 Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 587):
A text is thus a unit of meaning — more accurately, a unit in the flow of meaning that is always taking place at the instance pole of the cline of instantiation.

Instantiation Perspective: Text As Instance Of System Potential

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 23):
A text is the product of ongoing selection in a very large network of systems — a system network.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 33):
In the form that we typically receive it, as spoken and written discourse, a text is the product of two processes combined: instantiation and realisation. The defining criterion is instantiation: text as instance. But realisation comes in because what becomes accessible to us is the text as realised in sound or writing. We cannot directly access instances of language at higher strata — as selections in meaning, or even in wording.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 524):
Text is something that happens in the form of talking or writing, listening or reading. When we analyse it, we analyse the product of this process; and the term ‘text’ is usually taken as referring to the product — especially the product in its written form, since this is most clearly perceptible as an object … . The organisation of text is semantic rather than formal, and much looser than that of grammatical units. The organisation of text has typically been represented in some form of structural notation. But it is important to to be able to think of text dynamically, as an ongoing process of meaning.

Stratification Perspective: Text As Semantic Stratum Unit

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 588, 588n):
The upper bound of the semantic stratum is the text: this is the most extensive unit of meaning. The upper bound of the lexicogrammatical system is the clause: this is the most extensive unit of wording. … By saying that they are the upper bounds, we are not ruling out complexes — text complexes and clause complexes … . But complexes are not higher–ranking units but rather expansions of units of a given rank.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 122-3):
Texts and sequences are of the same order of abstraction; both are semantic phenomena. A text is a piece of language that is functional in context. It draws on the ideational meaning base but it involves the full metafunctional spectrum; i.e. there are interpersonal and textual contributions as well. Since text draws on the ideational meaning base, sequences are one principle for organising text. 

Distinguishing Social Context From Cultural Context

The social context of language is of the material order of experience from which sayers and sensers project wording and meaning (the content plane of language).  The social context is a model of first-order phenomena.

The cultural context of language is of the semiotic order of experience.  It is the culture as a semiotic system that is realised as language.  The cultural context is a model of second-order phenomena: metaphenomena.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Why Expanding The Grammar To Maximum Delicacy Is Not A PhD Project

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 46):
It would take at least 100 volumes of the present size to extend the description of the grammar up to that point [of maximum delicacy] for any substantial portion of the vocabulary.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Halliday On The Location Of Appraisal In The SFL Model

Halliday (2008: 49):
Some interpersonal meanings are highly generalised, like the enactment of dialogic rôles (speech function) … .  With options in the way something is evaluated (“I approve / I disapprove”), or contended (“I agree / I disagree”), the borderline between grammar and lexis is shaded over; systems of appraisal, as described by Martin & White (2005), represent more delicate (more highly differentiated) options within the general region of evaluation.
On the appraisal system of attitude, Halliday (2008: 179) writes:
This is a grammatical system that is realised by a selection of lexical items. Each such item is uniquely identified as a set of intersecting grammatical features; eg complicated is
appraisal: attitude: appreciation: composition: ( complexity : complex / polarity: negative …)
as well as other general grammatical features (e.g. as distinct from confusing, which is “effective”, as in it confuses mecomplicated is “descriptive”).  Note that I am interpreting the feature "undesirable" (the "snarl" member of the "purr/snarl" opposition) as negative in the environment of the interpersonal.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Material Doing & Relational Being As Complementary Perspectives On A ‘Quantum Of Change’

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 132): 
Figures of doing and being can be interpreted as complementary perspectives on a ‘quantum of change’. 
Construed as doing, a change appears as a change in the thusness of a participant. 
Construed as being, the change appears as an achieved or attainable result.
Consider a causal consequence such as [doing:] ‘he washed it’ —<so>—> [being:] ‘it was clean’. 
This quantum of change may be construed as two figures, as it is here (He washed it, so it was clean.). 
Alternatively, it may be construed as one figure, in which case it may adopt either point of view. 
If construed as doing, he washed it clean, the figure is elaborated with a result. 
If construed as being, he made it (be) clean, the figure is enhanced with an agentive Attributor. 
The wording he cleaned it embodies both perspectives in a single process.

resultative Attribute

Process: material
Process: relational