The Thought Occurs

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Errors In 'Working With Discourse' (Martin & Rose 2003) — [1]

all my girlfriends

Process: mental: emotive

In Working With Discourse (Martin & Rose 2003: 76), the semantic figure* realised by the clause above is erroneously analysed as 'doing' (behavioural), rather than 'sensing' (mental):
'Envying' is kind of conscious behaviour, like 'watching' or 'listening'.  These are borderline types of figures that we have labelled as kinds of doing, since they can't project.
This elementary error derives from simply not understanding that the potential to project ideas is not a necessary feature of sensing.  The potential to project is restricted to cognitive and desiderative types of sensing; figures of perceptive and emotive sensing, on the other hand, do not project ideas into semiotic existence.   See Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 137-44).

* Note that the 'figure' is not a unit of experiential meaning in the model of discourse semantics (Martin 1992).  It derives from the ideational semantics of Halliday & Matthiessen (1999).

Note also that, contrary to the much touted claim that discourse semantics models 'meaning beyond the clause', the meaning here is restricted to that which realised by a single clause.

Postscript: It has since been found that there are so many egregious errors in Working With Discourse that a blog has been established — see here — in order to undo as much of the damage as possible.