The Thought Occurs

Saturday, 21 September 2019

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Friday, 20 September 2019

Intellectual Integrity

What every strong intellect wants to be is a guardian of integrity.
 — Jacob Bronowski

Intellectual integrity is the discipline of striving to be thorough and honest to learn the truth or to reach the best decision possible in a given situation. A person with intellectual integrity has a driving desire to follow reasons and evidence courageously wherever they may lead.

Friday, 13 September 2019

When Is Emotion Not Affect?

When it is not used to enact the self or intersubjective relations through an interpersonal assessment. For example, the clause
She was surprised that the answer was thirteen
construes a process of emotion, but on its own, does not enact an appraisal, since nothing is assessed positively or negatively.

On the other hand, the clause
She was pleasantly surprised that the answer was thirteen
  1. construes a process of emotion (was surprised), and 
  2. enacts a positive appraisal of that emotion by reference to a Quality of emotion (pleasantly), and so constitutes an instance of affect.

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 7):
The ideational metafunction is concerned with construing experience — it is language as a theory of reality, as a resource for reflecting on the world. The interpersonal metafunction is concerned with enacting interpersonal relations through language, with the adoption and assignment of speech roles, with the negotiation of attitudes, and so on — it is language in the praxis of intersubjectivity, as a resource for interacting with others.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

What Is A Connotative Semiotic?

Applied to SFL theory, the expression plane (signifier) of language and the content plane (signified) of language together constitute a denotative semiotic.  And language as a denotative semiotic is the expression plane (signifier) of the culture as semiotic system (signified).  It is this relation between language and culture that constitutes a connotative semiotic.

connotative semiotic (culture language)
culture as content
language as expression

denotative semiotic (language)
content plane of language
expression plane of language

Note that Martin, while claiming to be 'following Hjelmslev' (1992: 493), misinterprets varieties of the content of a denotative semiotic — genre, register — as (the content of) a connotative semiotic.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Undoubted Importance Of Jim Martin's Opinion

For my part, after thinking about several exchanges on the list and off, it seems to me that having plenary talks in languages other than English matters far more for people for whom it matters than not being able to follow such talks matters for people who wouldn’t be able to follow them… and so we should defer to the people for whom this matters most.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Subjunctive 'Mood' In SFL Theory And Description

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.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Minor Speech Function Of 'Well-Wishing'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
Greetings include salutations, e.g. Hullo!, Good morning!, Welcome!, Hi!, and valedictions, such as Goodbye!, See you!; together with their responses, largely the same set of forms. Under this heading we could include well-wishings, like Your very good health!, Cheers!, Good shot!, Congratulations!. Both calls and greetings include some that are structured as clauses or nominal groups.
Cf. The Lord be with you, God forgive you your sins and God bless you.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Decolonising Vs Hegemonic

May I add that adopting SFL as a metalanguage is already a decolonising act, against the hegemonic universalist metalanguage of north American formal linguistics?
at the end of a conversation on SYSFLING begun by Jim Martin on 28 Jul 2019, 22:47:
… I would encourage the ISFLA executive to develop guidelines to the effect that in the absence of simultaneous interpreting English be used as a lingua franca for plenary addresses, that programs are clear about which language will be used for parallel presentations, and that where possible an English alternative be made available.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

International Conferences

International Conferences are institutional devices whereby
those with the greatest capacity to pay (savvy senior academics with expense accounts)
have their international (business class) air travel and accommodation paid for (as plenary speakers)
by those with the least capacity to pay (naïve students and junior academics).

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Why It Is Important To Understand Theory

Just as a language adapts to the inabilities of those who use the language,
so too does a theory adapt to the inabilities of those who use the theory,
thereby gradually losing contact with the phenomenon being modelled.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Predictive Attributes

The hosts were most welcoming.
The food was delicious.
The papers were stimulating.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

A Semiotic Principle

The Presumption Of Immanence

All meaning is presumed to be immanent unless proven otherwise.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Explaining Something In SFL

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 49):
Giving priority to the view ‘from above’ means that the organising principle adopted is that of system: the grammar is seen as a network of interrelated meaningful choices. In other words, the dominant axis is the paradigmatic one: the fundamental components of the grammar are sets of mutually defining contrastive features. Explaining something consists not in stating how it is structured but in showing how it is related to other things: its pattern of systemic relationships, or agnateness (agnation).

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory Vs Systemic Functional Linguistics

Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory ('Systemic Functional Grammar') is a scientific theory with a precisely defined architecture that provides the means of identifying misinterpretations of it.

Systemic Functional Linguistics, on the other hand, is a movement, the members of which have responded to a call to improve humanity by teaching students and/or analysing texts.  Because it is the movement that is paramount, it is not so much the theoretical consistency of the work that matters, but merely the fact that the work is 'Systemic' (i.e. 'us' not 'them'). When members of the movement die, they are chiefly praised for the extent to which they served the 'cause'.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Material Setting Vs Semiotic Context

Using the theory of language to interpret the language of theory:
  1. The material setting is what is mentally perceived by people when they speak, sign or write.
  2. The semiotic context is what is verbally construed by people when they speak, sign or write.
That is:
  1. The material setting is a first-order phenomenon of a mental process of perception.
  2. The semiotic context is a second-order phenomenon (metaphenomenon) realised by a projection of a verbal process.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Social Parameters Vs Semiotic Context

context is construed by / realised in language

the social parameters that can be used to characterise the interactants (gender, class, ethnicity, etc.) are not context

they are construed by / realised in the language of the interactants.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

What Does The Theoretical Term 'Realisation' Actually Mean Precisely?

Linguistic theory is 'language turned back on itself'. This just means that linguistic theory is the use of language to model language.

As a consequence, the language of theory can be analysed in terms of the theory of language.

For example, the theoretical relation of 'realisation' can be understood in terms of grammatical theory.

In transitivity theory, 'realise' is an intensive identifying Process — subtype 'symbol'.

It construes an identity between two levels of symbolic abstraction: a lower Token and a higher Value.

In an identity relation, either level can be used to identify the other.

If the lower Token is used to identify the higher Value, the relation is encoding:
the identity encodes the Value by reference to the Token.

If the higher Value is used to identify the lower Token, the relation is decoding:
the identity decodes the Token by reference to the Value.

So when the language of theory says that the stratum of wording (lexicogrammar) realises the stratum of meaning (semantics), the theory of language says that this construes an identity between two levels of symbolic abstraction, a lower Token (wording) and a higher Value (meaning).

If the lower Token (wording) is used to identify the higher Value (meaning), then the identity encodes the meaning by reference to the wording.

If the higher Value (meaning) is used to identify the lower Token (wording), then the identity decodes the wording by reference to the meaning.

(In this regard, Halliday's argument in On the ineffability of grammatical categories was that a theory of meaning can only be encoded by reference to a theory of wording.  That is, a theory of wording cannot be decoded by reference to a theory of meaning.)

Similarly, when the language of theory says that form (e.g. verbal group) realises function (e.g. Process), the theory of language says that this construes an identity between two levels of symbolic abstraction, a lower Token (form) and a higher Value (function).

If the lower Token (form) is used to identify the higher Value (function), then the identity encodes the function by reference to the form.

If the higher Value (function) is used to identify the lower Token (form), then the identity decodes the form by reference to the function.

Finally, when the language of theory says that structure (syntagmatic axis) realises system (paradigmatic axis), the theory of language says that this construes an identity between two levels of symbolic abstraction, a lower Token (structure) and a higher Value (system).

If the lower Token (structure) is used to identify the higher Value (system), then the identity encodes the system by reference to the structure.

If the higher Value (system) is used to identify the lower Token (structure), then the identity decodes the structure by reference to the system.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Research Misconduct

Make research misconduct public

Even when investigations are exemplary and findings clear, universities rarely report them publicly, says research ethicist C. K. Gunsalus — and that perpetuates misbehaviour and breeds mistrust. Gunsalus argues that open misconduct reports would create a virtuous circle of mutual learning and trust among institutions, leaders and researchers.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

How To Get Credited With Other People's Ideas Without Being Accused Of Plagiarism

Step 1: Acknowledge your source at least once.

Step 2: Change the name of their model.

Result: All future references by you and your students can be made to your name of the model, and to your publications, instead of the original work.

The genius of this approach is that it converts an inability to understand the original model into a positive advantage, because every misunderstanding differentiates your relabelled model from the source model, giving the impression that your model is genuinely novel theorising.

For example, suppose some genuine theorists came up with a model of lexicogrammatical cohesion, you could relabel it as your model of discourse semantics.  Then you could relabel all its original systems as your systems.  For example:
  • if there is an original system called reference, you could relabel it as your system of identification;
  • if there is an original system called lexical cohesion, you could relabel it as your system of ideation;
  • if there is an original system called conjunction, you could relabel it as your system of connexion.

Having set this up, you could relabel other original work and add it to your model.  For example, if a genuine theorist came up with a semantic system of speech function, you could relabel it as your discourse semantic system of negotiation.

You could also consolidate your achievement by falsely accusing one of the theorists whose work you have relabelled as your own of plagiarism, and by urging colleagues to use your model instead of hers.  For maximum effect, you could do this after she has died, at a memorial symposium convened to honour her achievements.

But why stop there?  If your research assistant came up with a model of body language, you could relabel it as your model of paralanguage.  Then you could relabel its original systems as your systems.  For example:
  • if there is an original system called linguistic body language, you could relabel it as your system of sonovergent paralanguage;
  • if there is an original system called epilinguistic body language, you could relabel it as your system of semovergent paralanguage.

This approach can, of course, be applied to pedagogical fields as well.  For example, suppose you had just finished a PhD describing an indigenous language, and had just begun working in an unfamiliar field, say, for a more experienced colleague who had painstakingly developed a teaching model called Accelerated Literacy.  All you need to do, in this case, is relabel it as, say, Reading To Learn, and if you add more of other people's work, such as a model of genre pedagogy, it would further differentiate your relabelled programme from the source of your ideas.

Not only will you not be found out, but you'll be actively promoted and defended by those you have duped.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Ideational Construal Metaphorically Realising Interpersonal Enactment

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 584):

Blogger Comments:

Cf the 'uncertainty' argued by Hume and demonstrated by Quantum Physics.

Friday, 17 May 2019

The Grammar's Construal Of Consciousness As Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 580):

Blogger Comments:

 Omitted from this diagram, for simplicity, is Phenomenon as Agent or Range.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Martin's 'Move' & 'Field' And Hao's 'Figure'

Exploring field in 'social science' (?): Oral examinations in a tertiary Spanish Law course
The presentation starts by setting the general context of the project, followed by a general description of the key analytical tools for this examination – in interpersonal terms, the notion of move from the NEGOTIATION system (Martin, 1992), and in ideational terms, the concept of figure as proposed by Hao (2015). Discourse semantic patterns of ideational and interpersonal meaning are described and then examined in the light of recent theoretical developments in relation to field (Doran & Martin, forthcoming).
Doran, Y.J. & J.R. Martin to appear Field relations: understanding scientific explanations. In K. Maton, J.R. Martin & Y.J. Doran (eds.), Studying science: Knowledge, language, pedagogy. London: Routledge. 
Hao, J. (2015). Construing biology: An Ideational perspective. (Doctor of Philosophy), University of Sydney, Sydney. 
Martin, J.R. (1992). English text. System and structure. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, the SFL notion of a 'move' in an exchange derives from Halliday's semantic system of SPEECH FUNCTION, which Martin (1992) relabels as his own discourse semantic system of NEGOTIATION.

[2] To be clear, the SFL notion of 'figure' derives from Halliday's ideational semantics, as set out in Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 128-76).

[3] To be clear, Martin misunderstands the SFL notion of 'field', as demonstrated  in great detail here.  Essentially,
  • In SFL theory, 'field' refers to the ideational dimension of context (the instantiation cline from culture to subculture/situation type to situation);
  • Martin misconstrues context as register, which in SFL theory is language, not context, and subpotential, not potential, and thus misunderstands field as the ideational dimension of register;
  • In terms of SFL theory, in confusing context potential (culture) with language subpotential (register), Martin's discussions of field confuse field (context) with the ideational meaning (semantics) of a text (of a register).  For example, in terms of SFL theory, Martin's notion of 'building a field' corresponds to the instantiation of ideational semantics during the unfolding of a text (logogenesis).