The Thought Occurs

Saturday, 31 March 2018


In his review of The Routledge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics (2017), edited by Tom Bartlett and Gerard O’Grady, Chris Butler (2018: 114, 123) writes:
… the editors chose to represent in their handbook not only the Hallidayan model of SFL which has received the most attention (see Halliday and Matthiessen, 2014), but also the Cardiff model elaborated by Fawcett and his colleagues (e.g. Fawcett, 2008) … 
A further very positive feature is the inclusion of a considerable quantity of material relating to the Cardiff Grammar, as well as to the approaches centred on the Sydney linguists. In my own writings I have strongly supported the view expressed by Huang at the end of his chapter:
We might say something here, as a concluding remark, that is important, but which may arouse controversy in the SFL community: that the Cardiff Grammar, an alternative model of language that is designed with the aim of being ‘an extension and simplification of Halliday's Systemic Functional Grammar’ (Fawcett, 2008), has its own characteristics and needs more attention from SFL scholars other than those associated with Cardiff. (p. 176).

Blogger Comments:

[1] Note that this is one Cardiff grammarian (Chris Butler)
  • remarking that two other Cardiff grammarians (Tom Bartlett and Gerard O'Grady) have "chosen" to include the Cardiff Grammar in their edited volume, and 
  • endorsing his own view expressed by another Cardiff grammarian (Guowen Huang).

[2] As the review of the Cardiff Grammar here demonstrates, it is only the lack of critical attention by theory-competent SFL scholars that keeps the model alive.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Halliday's 'Metafunctional' Hypothesis

Halliday (1994: xxxiv):
it is postulated that in all languages the content systems are organised into ideational, interpersonal and textual components.
Note that 'content' refers to both semantics (meaning) and lexicogrammar (wording).

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Halliday On 'Collocation'

Collocation Defined

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 648-9):
At the same time there are other instances of lexical cohesion that do not depend on any general semantic relationship of the types just discussed, [repetition, synonymy, hyponymy, meronymy] but rather on a particular association between the items in question – a tendency to co-occur. This ‘co-occurrence tendency’ is known as collocation.

The Semantic Basis Of Collocation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 649):
In general, the semantic basis of many instances of collocation is the relation of enhancement, as with dine + restaurant, table; fry + pan; bake + oven. These are circumstantial relationships (for collocations involving Process + Manner: degree, e.g. love + deeply, want + badly, understand + completely, see Matthiessen, 2009b), but as the example with smoke + pipe illustrates, participant + process relationships also form the basis of collocation – the most important ones involving either Process + Range (e.g. play + musical instrument: piano, violin, etc.; grow + old) or Process + Medium (e.g. shell + peas, twinkle + star, polish + shoes); and there are also combinations involving functions in the nominal group, in particular, Epithet + Thing (e.g. strong + tea, heavy + traffic, powerful + argument) and Facet + Thing (e.g. pod + w[h]ales, flock + birds, school + fish, herd + cattle, gaggle + geese).

The Measure Of Collocation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 59):
The measure of collocation is the degree to which the probability of a word (lexical item) increases given the presence of a certain other word (the node) within a specified range (the span). This can be measured in the corpus.

SFL Work On Collocation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 60n):
The notion of collocation was first introduced by J.R. Firth (1957) (but note Hoey, 2005), and gained wide acceptance, particularly in work based on corpus analysis, as in the Birmingham tradition, e.g. Sinclair (1987, 1991), Coulthard (1993), Hoey (2005) and Cheng et al. (2009). For further systemic functional accounts of collocation, see e.g. Halliday (1966b), Halliday & Hasan (1976: Section 6.4), Benson & Greaves (1992), Gledhill (2000), Tucker (2007) and Matthiessen (2009b); Matthiessen (1995a) relates collocational patterns to structural configurations such as Process + Medium, Process + Range, Process + Degree; Thing + Epithet (for a corpus-based study of Process + Degree, see Matthiessen, 2009b).

Collocation Vs Other Types Of Lexical Cohesion

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 644):

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Subjunctive In Modern English

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
Note that the system of MOOD is a system of the clause, not of the verbal group or of the verb. Many languages also have an interpersonal system of the verb(al group) that has been referred to as ‘mood’: it involves interpersonal contrasts such as indicative/subjunctive, indicative/subjunctive/optative. To distinguish these verbal contrasts from the clausal system of MOOD, we can refer to them as contrasts in mode. The subjunctive mode tends to be restricted to the environment of bound clauses — in particular, reported clauses and conditional clauses having the sense of irrealis. In Modern English, the subjunctive mode of the verb is marginal, although there is some dialectal variation.