Friday, 23 June 2017

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Structural Realisations Of Indicative Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
(1) The presence of the Mood element, consisting of Subject plus Finite, realises the feature ‘indicative’.
 (2) Within the indicative, what is significant is the order of Subject and Finite:
(a) the order Subject before Finite realises ‘declarative’;
(b) the order Finite before Subject realises ‘yes/no interrogative’;
(c) in a ‘WH- interrogative’ the order is:
(i) Subject before Finite if the WH- element is the Subject;
(ii) Finite before Subject otherwise.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The General Principle Behind The Expression Of Clause Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
The general principle behind the expression of MOOD in the clause is as follows. The grammatical category that is characteristically used to exchange information is the indicative; within the category of indicative, the characteristic expression of a statement is the declarative, that of a question is the interrogative; and within the category of interrogative, there is a further distinction between yes-no interrogative, for polar questions, and WH- interrogative, for content questions.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Subjunctive Mode

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.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Interpersonal Elements In Neither Mood Nor Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
The combination of Mood plus Residue embody the proposition or proposal of the clause (with the Mood element as the key to the distinction between the two); but, as we shall see below, there are certain interpersonal elements of the clause that do not belong to either the Mood element or the Residue: the Vocative, and comment and conjunctive Adjuncts. These relate to, but are not part of the proposition/proposal enacted by the clause.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Why The Residue Is Not Labelled 'Proposition'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
The remainder of the clause we shall call the Residue. It has sometimes been labelled ‘Proposition’, but this term is also not very appropriate; partly because, as has been mentioned, the concept of proposition applies only to the exchange of information, not to the exchange of goods-&-services, and partly because, even in the exchange of information, if anything it is the Mood element that embodies the proposition rather than the remainder of the clause.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mood Element vs MOOD System

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142n):
Note the distinction in capitalisation between ‘Mood’ as the name of an element of the interpersonal structure of the clause (Mood + Residue) and ‘MOOD’ as the name of the primary interpersonal system of the clause — the grammaticalisation of the semantic system of SPEECH FUNCTION. This follows the general convention whereby names of structural functions are spelt with an initial capital and names of systems with all small caps or upper case.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Mood Element Realises The Selection Of Clause Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142):
Subject and Finite are closely linked together, and combine to form one constituent which we call the Mood.  The Mood is the element that realises the selection of mood in the clause; and it is also the domain of agreement between Subject and Finite.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Subjects Not Traditionally Regarded As Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142):
Note that [this way of identifying Subject] does bring in certain things that are not traditionally regarded as Subject: not only it in it’s raining but also there in there’s trouble in the shed, both of which function as Subject in Modern English.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How To Identify The Subject Of A Declarative Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 141):
The Subject, in a declarative clause, is that element which is picked up by the pronoun in the tag. So in order to locate the Subject, add a tag (if one is not already present) and see which element is taken up. … This is not the functional definition of the Subject; it is the way to identify it.

Blogger Comment:

e.g.
Blessed are the meek, aren't they?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Mistaken Notion Of Subject As “Purely Syntactic”

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 141):
… the term ‘Subject’ as we are using it corresponds to the ‘grammatical Subject’ of earlier terminology; but it is being reinterpreted here in functional terms.  The Subject is not a purely formal category; like other grammatical functions it is semantic in origin.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 149-50):
The notion of the Subject as a ‘purely syntactic’ element arose because it proved difficult to understand Subject + Predicate in an account of the grammar that recognised only the ideational kind of meaning; once we open up the other metafunctional spaces, just as Theme comes powerfully into the picture, so Subject becomes (equally powerful but) less mysterious.


Blogger Comment:

The notion of Subject as a syntactic category is maintained in the Cardiff Grammar.  See here for some of Fawcett's misunderstandings of Systemic Functional Theory in the Cardiff Grammar.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Finite In 'Fused' Tense Forms

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
These ‘fused’ tense forms are in fact the two most common forms of the English verb. When one of these occurs, the Finite did, do(es) will then make its appearance in the subsequent tags and responses, e.g. He gave it away, didn’t he? Yes, he did. But it is already lurking in the verb as a systemic feature ‘past’ or ‘present’, and is explicit in the negative and contrastive forms (e.g. He didn’t give it away; He did give it away).

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Finite Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
The Finite element is one of a small number of verbal operators expressing tense (e.g. is, has) or modality (e.g. can, must)… . Note, however, that in some instances the Finite element and the lexical verb are ‘fused’ into a single word, e.g. loves. This happens when the verb is in simple past or simple present (tense), active (voice), positive (polarity) and neutral (contrast): we say gave, not did give; give(s) not do(es) give.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Realisation Of Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
The Subject, when it first appears, may be any nominal group. If it is a personal pronoun, like he, it is simply repeated each time. If it is anything else, like the duke, then after the first occurrence it is replaced by the personal pronoun corresponding to it. … Nominal groups functioning as Subject include embedded, down-ranked clauses serving as Head… . In ‘circumstantial’ relational clauses, the Subject may be a prepositional phrase or an adverbial group.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Why The Mood Element Is Distinguished From The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139-40):
When we come to look closely at statements and questions, and at the various responses to which these naturally give rise, we find that in English they are typically expressed by means of a particular kind of grammatical variation: variation which extends over just one part of the clause, leaving the remainder unaffected. … one particular component of the clause is being, as it were, tossed back and forth in a series of rhetorical exchanges; this component carries the argument forward. Meanwhile the remainder … [can be] simply left out, being taken for granted as long as the discourse continues to require it. … 
What is the component that is being bandied about in this way? It is called the Mood element, and it consists of two parts: (1) the Subject, which is a nominal group, and (2) the Finite operator, which is part of a verbal group.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Semantic Functions Of A Clause As Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139):
The semantic function of a clause in the exchange of information is a proposition; the semantic function of a clause in the exchange of goods–&–services is a proposal.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Grammatical Resources For Speech Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139):
As a general rule languages do not develop special resources for offers and commands, because in these contexts language is functioning simply as a means towards achieving what are essentially non-linguistic ends. But they do develop grammatical resources for statements and questions, which not only constitute ends in themselves but also serve as a point of entry to a great variety of different rhetorical functions.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Proposals: Offers & Commands

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138-9):
Unlike statements and questions, these are not propositions; they cannot be affirmed or denied.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Propositions: Statements & Questions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
When language is used to exchange information, the clause takes on the form of a proposition. It becomes something that can be argued about – something that can be affirmed or denied, and also doubted, contradicted, insisted on, accepted with reservation, qualified, tempered, regretted, and so on.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Ontogenesis Of Exchanging Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
What is more significant, however, is that the whole concept of exchanging information is difficult for a young child to grasp. Goods–&–services are obvious enough: I want you to take what I am holding out, or to go on carrying me, or to pick up what I have just dropped; and although I may use language as a means of getting what I want, the requirement itself is not a linguistic commodity — it is something that arises independently of language.  Information, on the other hand, does not; it has no existence except in the form of language.  In statements and questions, language itself is the commodity that is being exchanged; and it is by no means simple for a child to internalise the principle that language is used for the purpose of exchanging language. He has no experience of ‘information’ except its manifestation in words.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Why Proposals Ontogenetically Precede Propositions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
It is not difficult to see why offering and requesting precede telling and asking when a child is first learning how to mean. Exchanging information is more complicated than exchanging goods–&–services, because in the former the listener is being asked not merely to listen and do something but also to act out a verbal role — to affirm or deny, or to supply a missing piece of information…

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Ontogenesis (& Phylogenesis) Of Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
Now, in the life history of an individual child, the exchange of goods–&–services, with language as the means, comes much earlier than the exchange of information: infants typically begin to use linguistic symbols to make commands and offers at about the age of nine months, whereas it may be as much as nine months to a year after that before they really learn to make statements and questions, going through various intermediate steps along the way.  It is quite likely that the same sequence of developments took place in the early evolution of language in the human race, although that is something we can never know for certain.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Function Of The Mood Tag

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 137-8):
In moving into the role of speaker, the listener has considerable discretion. Not only can he give any one of a wide range of different responses to a question, or carry out a command in different ways; he may refuse to answer the question altogether, or to provide the goods–&–services demanded. The speaker on his part has a way of forestalling this: he can add a (mood) tag, which is a reminder of what is expected, e.g. will you?, isn’t he?… 
This is the function of the tag at the end of the clause. It serves to signal explicitly that a response is required, and what sort of response it is expected to be.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Interpersonal Semantic System Of Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
These two variables [speech rôle and commodity], when taken together, define the four primary speech functions of offer, command, statement and question. These, in turn, are matched by a set of desired responses: accepting an offer, carrying out a command, acknowledging a statement and answering a question.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

An Exchange Of Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
But if you say something to me with the aim of getting me to tell you something, as in ‘is it Tuesday?’ or ‘when did you last see your father?’, what is being demanded is information: language is the end as well as the means, and the only answer expected is a verbal one. This is an exchange of information.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

An Exchange Of Goods–&–Services

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
If you say something to me with the aim of getting me to do something for you, such as ‘kiss me!’ or ‘get out of my daylight!’, or to give you some object, as in ‘pass the salt!’, the exchange commodity is strictly nonverbal: what is being demanded is an object or an action, and language is brought in to help the process along. This is an exchange of goods–&–services.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Commodity Of Exchange: Goods–&–Services Or Information


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
Cutting across this basic distinction between giving and demanding is another distinction, equally fundamental, that relates to the nature of the commodity being exchanged. This may be either (a) goods–&–services or (b) information.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

What Giving And Demanding Mean

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
Even these elementary categories already involve complex notions: giving means ‘inviting to receive’, and demanding means ‘inviting to give’. The speaker is not only doing something himself; he is also requiring something of the listener. … giving implies receiving and demanding implies giving in response.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Most Fundamental Types Of Speech Rôle: Giving And Demanding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
The most fundamental types of speech role, which lie behind all the more specific types that we may eventually be able to recognise, are just two: (i) giving, and (ii) demanding. Either the speaker is giving something to the listener (a piece of information, for example, as in Boof keeps scaring me) or he is demanding something from him (as in just push him off; when [has Boof bit you]?).

Friday, 26 May 2017

Clause As Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 134):
… the clause is also organised as an interactive event involving speaker, or writer, and audience. … In the act of speaking, the speaker adopts for himself a particular speech rôle, and in so doing assigns to the listener a complementary rôle which he wishes him to adopt in his turn. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Theme In Elliptical Clauses: Exophoric Ellipsis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 128):
In this type of ellipsis the clause is not presupposing anything from what has gone before, but simply taking advantage of the rhetorical structure of the situation, specifically the roles of speaker and listener. Hence the Subject, and often also the finite verb, is ‘understood’ from the context; e.g. Thirsty? (‘are you thirsty?’), No idea. (‘I’ve no idea’), A song! (‘let’s have a song!’), Feeling better? (‘are you feeling better?’).  Such clauses have, in fact, a thematic structure, but it consists of Rheme only. The Theme is (part of) what is omitted in the ellipsis.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Theme In Elliptical Clauses: Anaphoric Ellipsis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 127-8):
Here some part of the clause is presupposed from what has gone before — for example, in response to a question. The resulting forms are very varied. Some are indistinguishable from minor clauses, e.g. Yes. No. All right. Of course.; these have no thematic structure, because they presuppose the whole of the preceding clause. Others, which presuppose only part of the preceding clause, have their own thematic structure; the details will depend on which part is presupposed.