The Thought Occurs

Sunday, 26 January 2020

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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The Difference Between ASFLA & The Australian SFL Community

A: Australian Systemic Functional Linguistic Association
B: The Australian Systemic Functional Linguistic Community

Saturday, 30 November 2019

What's Wrong With The Design Of This Diagram?

Martin, 1997 (p.7) , Analysing Genre: Functional Parameters, in Christie and Martin, Genre and Institutions - Social Processes in the Workplace and School, Continuum.


Martin uses two spatial dimensions, vertical and horizontal, to represent one theoretical dimension, stratification.  This leads to the absurdity of presenting the realisation relation between levels — represented by the double-headed arrow — as a level in itself (expression form of the "connotative semiotic").  The representation of levels of lower and higher abstraction, strata, along the horizontal dimension only adds to the confusion.

Note also that Martin thinks that a connotative semiotic consists only of its content plane, and that varieties of a denotative semiotic, genre and register, constitute (the content of) a connotative semiotic.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Buyer Beware!

Scholars who are new to SFL Theory should note that this new publication mainly features papers by Jim Martin and his former students.

Evidence of Jim Martin's serious misunderstandings of SFL Theory is available here (English Text 1992) and here (Working With Discourse 2007).

The only way to get a solid grounding in Halliday's theory is to read Halliday (± Matthiessen).

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

External vs Internal Cohesive Conjunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 611):
Relations between representations of segments of experience are called external relations, and conjunctions marking such relations are called external conjunctions. … 
Relations linking text segments in their interpersonal guise are called internal relations – internal to the text as a speech event, and conjunctions marking such relations are called internal conjunctions.

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Importance Of Irreverence In Intellectual Life

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; 
they are not here to worship what is known, 
but to question it.

— Jacob Bronowski

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.