The Thought Occurs

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).

Example Of Delicacy In Field (i.e. Cultural Context, Not Register Of Language)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 322):