The Thought Occurs

The Thought Occurs

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Pageviews by Countries Since Blog Relocation

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
United Kingdom

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Time Phase vs Reality Phase

Time phase, as the name suggests, is the unfolding of the process with regard to time: starting vs continuing vs ending.   Reality phase, as the name suggests, is the unfolding of the process with regard to reality: unreal (apparent) vs real (realised). Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 571):
At the deepest level time-phase and reality-phase are the same thing: both are concerned with the stages of becoming. A process is something that emerges out of imagination into reality, like the rising of the sun. Before dawn, the sun shines only in the future, or only in the imagination – as future turns into present, imagination turns into reality.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

SFL Is A Dimensional — Not Modular — Theory

Halliday & Webster (2009: 231):
In SFL language is described, or “modelled”, in terms of several dimensions, or parameters, which taken together define the “architecture” of language. These are 
  • (i) the hierarchy of strata (context, semantics, lexicogrammar, phonology, phonetics; related by realisation); 
  • (ii) the hierarchy of rank (e.g. clause, phrase/group, word, morpheme; related by composition); 
  • (iii) the cline of instantiation (system to instance); 
  • (iv) the cline of delicacy (least delicate to most delicate, or grossest to finest); 
  • (v) the opposition of axis (paradigmatic and syntagmatic); 
  • (vi) the organisation by metafunction (ideational (experiential, logical), interpersonal, textual).

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Ergativity & Voice

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 333n):
Note that ‘transitivity’ is the name for the whole system, including both the ‘transitive’ model and the ‘ergative’ one. ‘Ergativity’ is thus not the name of a system, but of a property of the system of transitivity: within this system of transitivity, we can recognise the ‘transitive model’ and the ‘ergative model’
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 349):
A clause with no feature of ‘agency’ is neither active nor passive but middle. One with agency is non-middle, or effective, in agency. An effective clause is then either operative or receptive in voice. In an operative clause, the Subject is the Agent and the Process is realised by an active verbal group; in a receptive [clause] the Subject is Medium and the Process is realised by a passive verbal group.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Difference Between Delicacy And Instantiation

Delicacy is a 'type to sub-type' relation (hyponymy).  In terms of logical semantic relations, this is elaboration.  For example, delicacy is the relation between 'academic' and 'lecturer'; 'lecturer' is a sub-type of the more general type 'academic'.

Instantiation is 'token to type' relation.  This is a class membership relation of intensive attribution, which thus combines elaboration with ascription; (the relation between token and type is thus the relation between Carrier and Attribute).  For example, instantiation is the relation between a token, such as 'Peter White', and the type 'academic' (or its sub-type 'lecturer').

In terms of the theoretical architecture of SFL theory, delicacy is a dimension of the system, whereas the dimension of instantiation relates two perspectives on language: the system to an instance of the system.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Taxis Vs Embedding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 426):
It is important to distinguish between the 'tactic' relations of parataxis and hypotaxis on the one hand and embedding on the other.  Whereas parataxis and hypotaxis are relations between clauses (or other ranking elements), embedding is not.  Embedding is a semogenic mechanism whereby a clause or phrase comes to function as a constituent within the structure of a group, which itself is a constituent of a clause … .  The embedded clause functions in the structure of the group, and the group functions in the structure of the clause.
The distinction between hypotactic and embedded expansions is set out in Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 442) in Table 7(15).

What Is The Advantage Of Distinguishing Between Embedding And Hypotaxis?

In the case of projection, it lays the foundation for the semantic distinction between (pre-projected) facts and (projected) reports (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 28).

Why Projected Clauses Are Not Clause Constituents

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 578-9):
In our analysis (unlike that of the mainstream grammatical tradition), the projected clause is not a constituent part of the mental or verbal clause by which it is projected. There are numerous reasons for this; some of them are grammatical — for example, it cannot be the focus of theme–predication … it cannot be the Subject of a passive mental clause … it is presumed by the substitute so, which is also used to presume conditional clauses in clause complexes … But these, in turn, reflect the semantic nature of projection: this is a relationship between two figuresnot a device whereby one becomes a participant inside another.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Problem With The Notion Of Grammatical Metaphor As 'Stratal Tension' [1]

(a) In terms of discourse semantics, Martin (1992: 199) analyses the logical relation in the following instance as concessive purpose:
Ben can train hard without improving his time.
In terms of lexicogrammar, on the other hand, the logical relation in this instance is not a type of enhancement (purpose), but the type of extension termed addition: adversative — X and conversely Y — as shown by the paratactic agnate Ben can train hard and not improve his time.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 471-6).

There is thus a "tension" between discourse semantics (concessive purpose) and lexicogrammar (adversative addition). However, despite this tension, this does not constitute an instance of grammatical metaphor. The tension, rather, is between an understanding of logico-semantic relations and a misunderstanding of them.

(b) In terms of discourse semantics, Martin (1992: 203) analyses the logical relation in the following instance as manner: comparison: contrast:
Whereas usually we win, this time we lost.
In terms of lexicogrammar, on the other hand, the logical relation in this instance is not a type of enhancement (manner), but, again, the same type of extension as in (a): addition: adversative — X and conversely Y.

There is thus, again, a "tension" between discourse semantics (contrastive comparison) and lexicogrammar (adversative addition).  However, despite this tension, this does not constitute an instance of grammatical metaphor. The tension, rather, is between an understanding of logico-semantic relations and a misunderstanding of them.

The notion of grammatical metaphor as 'stratal tension' requires the establishment of discourse semantic systems that are not "in tension" with the lexicogrammar in order to identify those cases that are not metaphorical.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Errors In 'Key Terms In Systemic Functional Linguistics' (Matthiessen, Teruya & Lam 2010) [1]

 Matthiessen, Teruya & Lam (2010: 116):
identifying                   descriptive 
Term in the experiential clause system contrasting with ‘ascriptive’. In the identifying mode, one entity is used to identify another. Identifying clauses are realised by the presence of the Token and Value and/or the Identifier and Identified in the transitivity structure of clause. Combinations of these two sets of variables determine coding direction between decoding and encoding, for example, if the Token is construed as Identified and the Value as Identifier the clause is an encoding one, as in the Mint Museum houses a collection of Australian decorative arts. Identifying relations manifest in the environment of ‘intensive’, for example, the new president is Obama, ‘possessive’, for example, (see above), and ‘circumstantial’ relational processes, for example, many mansions line the harbour.
IFG3 pp. 227–239; Matthiessen (1995a: 303–313); Davidse (1992a)

Blogger Comments:

This is untrue. If the Token is construed as Identified and the Value as Identifier the clause is a decoding one.  In encoding clauses, the Token is construed as Identifier and the Value as Identified.

Halliday & Matthiessen [IFG3] (2004: 230):
… either the Token is ‘decoded’ or else the Value is ‘encoded’. If the Token is construed as Identified and the Value as Identifier, the clause is a decoding oneif the Value is construed as Identified and the Token as Identifier, the clause is an encoding one … In other words, the identity either decodes the Token by reference to the Value or it encodes the Value by reference to the Token.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Errors In 'Working With Discourse' (Martin & Rose 2003) — [2]

Martin & Rose (2003: 75):
But there are processes of sensing that can project.  These include processes like 'seeing', 'hearing', 'thinking' and 'feeling':
I heard he was working
I saw that he was leaving 
I forgot whether he left
I was to learn that he had been operating overseas 
I didn't want him to leave
I wish he wouldn't go

Blogger Comments:

The only processes of sensing that can project other figures are those of thinking (cognition) and desiring (desideration).  Here Martin & Rose misconstrue desiring as feeling (emotion), and falsely claim that processes of perceiving (perception) can project.  The 'perceiving' examples do involve projections (metaphenomena), but these are not projected into semiotic existence by the perceiving process.


[[he was working]]
Process: mental: perceptive

[[that he was leaving]]
Process: mental: perceptive

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 137-8):
Sensing projects ideas into existence; the projection may take place either through cognition or through desideration, for example:
I just thought —> I’d tell you that I’d appreciate it.
I think —> I’ll give it up.
They want —> me to crawl down on my bended knees.
Thus the idea ‘I’ll give it up’ is created by the process of thinking; it does not exist prior to the beginning of that process.  Similarly, the idea ‘me to crawl on my bended knees’ is brought into hypothetical existence by the process of wanting.  In contrast, perceptive and emotive types of sensing cannot project ideas into existence.  That is, ideas do not arise as a result as a result of someone seeing, hearing, rejoicing, worrying, grieving or the like.  However, these two types of sensing may accommodate pre-existing projections, i.e. facts, for instance:
It assures me [[that I am as I think myself to be, that I am fixed, concrete]].
I was impressed, more or less at that point, by an intuition [[that he possessed a measure of sincerity the like of which I had never encountered]].
We heard [[that you kindly let rooms for gentlemen]].
Thus ‘that I am fixed, concrete’ is construed as something already projected (hence we could add assures me of the fact that) and this fact brings about the emotion of assurance.

Note again that this is the ideational semantics of Halliday & Matthiessen (1999), not the discourse semantics of Martin (1992), and that, contrary to the claim that discourse semantics is concerned with meaning 'beyond the clause', the discourse analysis of Martin & Rose does not go beyond the meaning that is realised by the clause grammar.

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.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Anything Goes In SFL — Except Truth

Slide from Jim Martin's plenary today at ASFLA 2016

Shield of the Trinity representation of the trivium.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Language As Social Power

As Bertrand Russell observed in The History Of Western Philosophy, social power is power over each other.

As Douglas Adams observed in The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy:
it is a well-known and much lamented fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin

An English translation is freely available for download here.

From the glossary:

This is the speaking personality, the speaking consciousness. A voice always has a will or desire behind it, its own timbre and overtones. Single-voiced discourse is the dream of poets; double-voiced discourse the realm of the novel. At several points Bakhtin illustrates the difference between these categories by moving language-units from one plane to the other — for example, shifting a trope from the plane of poetry to the plane of prose: both poetic and prose tropes are ambiguous [literally "double-meaninged"] but a poetic trope, while meaning more than one thing, is always only single-voiced. Prose tropes by contrast always contain more than one voice, and are therefore dialogised.

The base condition governing the operation of meaning in any utterance. It is that which insures the primacy of context over text. At any given time, in any given place, there will be a set of conditions — social, historical, meteorological, physiological — that will insure that a word uttered in that place and at that time will have a meaning different than it would have under any other conditions; all utterances are heteroglot in that they are functions of a matrix of forces practically impossible to recoup, and therefore impossible to resolve. Heteroglossia is as close a conceptualisation as is possible of that locus where centripetal and centrifugal forces collide; as such, it is that which a systematic linguistics must always suppress.

Dialogism is the characteristic epistemological mode of a world dominated by heteroglossia. Everything means, is understood, as a part of a greater whole-there is a constant interaction between meanings, all of which have the potential of conditioning others. Which will affect the other, how it will do so and in what degree is what is actually settled at the moment of utterance. This dialogic imperative, mandated by the pre-existence of the language world relative to any of its current inhabitants, insures that there can be no actual monologue. One may, like a primitive tribe that knows only its own limits, be deluded into thinking there is one language, or one may, as grammarians, certain political figures and normative framers of "literary languages" do, seek in a sophisticated way to achieve a unitary language. In both cases the unitariness is relative to the overpowering force of heteroglossia, and thus dialogism.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Intellectual Origins Of Van Leeuwen's Ideal–Real Verticality: The Medieval Scale Of Being

Kœstler (1959/79: 97-9):
It was a walled-in universe like a walled-in medieval town.  In the centre lies the earth, dark, heavy and corrupt, surrounded by the concentric spheres of the moon, sun, planets, and stars in an ascending order of perfection, up to the sphere of the primum mobile, and beyond that the Empyrean dwelling of God.
But in the hierarchies of values, which is attached to this hierarchy of space, the original simple division into sub-lunary and supra-lunary regions has now yielded to an infinite number of sub-divisions.  The original, basic difference between coarse, earthly mutability and ethereal permanence is maintained; but both regions are sub-divided in such a manner that the result is a continuous ladder, or graded scale, which stretches from God down to the lowliest form of existence. …
The […] theory was put into a more specifically Christian shape in The Celestial Hierarchy and The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy by the second most influential among the Neoplatonists, known as the pseudo-Dionysius. … It was he who provided the upper reaches of the ladder with a fixed hierarchy of angels, which were afterwards attached to the star-spheres to keep them in motion: the Seraphim turning the Primum Mobile, the Cherubim the sphere of fixed stars, the Thrones the sphere of Saturn; the Dominations, Virtues, and Powers the spheres of Jupiter, Mars, and the sun; the Principalities and Archangels the spheres of Venus and Mercury, while the lower angels look after the moon.
If the upper half of the ladder was Platonic in origin, the lower rungs were provided by Aristotelian biology, which was rediscovered around A.D. 1200.  Particularly important became his 'principle of continuity' between apparently divided realms of nature…
The 'principle of continuity' made it not only possible to arrange all living beings into a hierarchy according to criteria such as 'degrees of perfection', 'powers of soul' or 'realisation of potentialities' (which, of course, were never exactly defined).  It also made it possible to connect the two halves of the chain — the sub-lunary and the celestial — into a single continuous one, without denying the essential difference between them. …
The chain, thus unified, now reached from God's throne down to the meanest worm.  It was further extended downward through the four elements into inanimate nature. … A further downward extension led into the conic cavity in the earth, around whose narrowing slopes the nine hierarchies of devils were arranged in circles, duplicating the nine heavenly spheres; Lucifer, occupying the apex of the cone in the precise centre of the earth, marked the bitter end of the chain.
The medieval universe, as a modern scholar remarked, is thus not really geocentric, but 'diabolocentric'.
Note that, in terms of metafunction, the ideal/real distinction is, of course, an ideational distinction, not a textual one.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Bernstein's Codes From The Perspective Of SFL Theory

Halliday (1978: 25):
What are these linguistic codes, or fashions of speaking? They relate, essentially, to a functional interpretation of language. It is not the words and the sentence structures — still less the pronunciation or ‘accent’ — which make the difference between one type of code and another; it is the relative emphasis placed on different functions of language, or, to put it more accurately, the kinds of meaning that are typically associated with them. The ‘fashions of speaking’ are socio-semantic in nature; they are patterns of meaning that emerge more or less strongly, in particular contexts, especially those relating to the socialisation of the child in the family.

Halliday (1978: 27):
We are still far from being able to give a comprehensive or systematic account of the linguistic realisations of Bernstein’s codes …

Halliday (1978: 27):
Seen from a linguistic point of view, the different ‘codes’, as Bernstein calls them, are different strategies of language use. […] All children have access to the meaning potential of the system; but they may differ, because social groups differ, in their interpretation of what the situation demands.

Halliday (1978: 31):
But the kind of meanings that one child expects to be associated with any particular context of situation may differ widely from what is expected by another. Here we are back to Bernstein’s codes again, which we have now approached from another angle, seeing them as differences in the meaning potential which may be typically associated with given situation types.

Halliday (1978: 67):
In terms of our general picture, the codes act as determinants of register, operating on the selection of meanings within situation types: when the systemics of language — the ordered sets of options that constitute the linguistic system — are activated by the situational determinants of text (the field, tenor and mode […]), this process is regulated by the codes.

Halliday (1978: 68):
It is important to avoid reifying the codes, which are not varieties of language in the sense that registers and social dialects are varieties of language. […] The code is actualised in language through register, the clustering of semantic features according to situation type. (Bernstein in fact uses the term ‘variant’, i.e. ‘elaborated variant’, to refer to those characteristics of a register that derive from the choice of code.) But the codes themselves are types of social semiotic, symbolic orders of meaning generated by the social system. Hence they transmit, or control the transmission of, the underlying patterns of a culture and subculture, acting through the primary socialising agencies of family, peer group and school.

Halliday (1978: 88):
It was clear, however, that any significant linguistic generalisations that could be made would be at the semantic level, since it was through meanings that the codes were manifested in language.

Halliday (1978: 88):
The hypothesis was that, in a given context, say that of parental control of the child’s behaviour, various different subsystems within the semantic system might typically be deployed; hence the ‘codes’ could be thought of as differential orientation to areas of meaning in given social situations.

Halliday (1978: 98):
The sort of differences that are in question, insofar as they are linguistic, are probably to be interpreted along the lines of Bernstein’s ‘codes’, as linguistic manifestations of differences in the social semiotic, different subcultural ‘angles’ on the social system. There are styles of meaning distinguishing one culture or one subculture from another …

Halliday (1978: 106):
What Bernstein’s work suggests is that there may be differences in the relative orientation of different social groups towards the various functions of language in given contexts, and towards different areas of meaning that may be explored within a given function.

Halliday (1978: 106):
We can interpret the codes, from a linguistic point of view, as differences of orientation within the total semantic potential.

Halliday (1978: 111):
‘Code’ is used here in Bernstein’s sense; it is the principle of semiotic organisation governing the choice of meanings by a speaker and their interpretation by a hearer. The code controls the semantic styles of the culture.
Codes are not varieties of language, as dialects and registers are. The codes are, so to speak, ‘above’ the linguistic system; they are types of social semiotic, or symbolic orders of meaning generated by the social system. The code is actualised in language through the register, since it determines the semantic orientation of speakers in particular social contexts; Bernstein’s own use of ‘variant’ (as in ‘elaborated variant’) refers to those characteristics of a register which derive from the form of the code. When the semantic systems of the language are activated by the situational determinants of text — the field, tenor and mode — this process is regulated by the codes.
Hence the codes transmit, or control the transmission of, the underlying patterns of a culture and subculture, acting through the primary socialising agencies of family, peer group and school. As a child comes to attend to and interpret meanings, in the context of situation and context of culture, at the same time he takes over the code. The culture is transmitted to him with the code acting as a filter, defining and making accessible the semiotic principles of his own subculture, so that as he learns the culture he also learns the grid, or subcultural angle on the social system. The child’s linguistic experience reveals the culture to him through the code, and so transmits the code as part of the culture.

Halliday (1978: 123):
The specification of the register by the social context is in turn controlled and modified by the code: the semiotic style, or ‘sociolinguistic coding orientation’ in Bernstein’s term, that represents the particular subcultural angle on the social system. This angle of vision is a function of the social structure. It reflects, in our society, the pattern of social hierarchy, and the resulting tensions between an egalitarian ideology and a hierarchical reality. The code is transmitted initially through the agency of family types and family rôle systems, and subsequently reinforced in the various peer groups of children, adolescents and adults.

Halliday (1978: 181):
In this respect, therefore, it [an anti-language] is more like Bernstein’s (1974) concept of a code, or coding orientation. A code may be defined just in this way: as a systematic pattern of tendencies in the selection of meanings to be exchanged under specified conditions. (Note that the ‘specified conditions’ are in the sociolinguistic environment. They may be social or linguistic, the tendency being, naturally, that the higher the level of variation, the more likely it is that the relevant context will be social rather than linguistic. Hence in the definition of code we could say ‘in specified social contexts’.)