Tuesday, 26 March 2019

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Dissociation Of Head And Thing

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 392):
But there is a further resource in the nominal group that combines these two potentialities, whereby Head and Thing are both present but are dissociated one from the other, not conflated. What happens here is that one of the pre-modifying functions is taken on by something that is itself a nominal group, in such a way that the Thing gets embedded in a prepositional phrase with of, which then functions as post-Head Qualifier, as in a cup of tea (see Figure 6-11). Of course, the two dimensions of structure are both present throughout; what we are showing here is the way the total meaning is construed by mapping the headhood of cup onto the thinghood of tea.
Where the Head is dissociated from the Thing in this way, it can be conflated with any of the premodifying functions. 

Monday, 25 March 2019

Premodifier: Word Complexes Vs Word Rank Embeddings

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 392):
The Premodifier may accommodate both hypotactic word complexes like a very much better argument, and word rank embeddings like a four-post bed, a left-handed batsman; including compressed phrases and clauses like your in-flight magazine, a never-to-be-forgotten experience. The word complexes derive from the potential for logical expansion built into the noun as Head; the embeddings from the functional scope of the experiential configuration into which the noun enters as Thing.
* In the first two editions of IFG, the Postmodifier also was brought into the scope of the logical representation. But this appears to complicate the description without adding further to its explanatory power.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Head/Thing As Fulcrum

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 392):
The complex functional entity formed by the conflation of Head and Thing acts as the fulcrum of the nominal group: before it, as Premodifier, a sequence of words having distinct experiential functions; after it, as Postmodifier, one or more embedded items which may be prepositional phrase or non-finite or finite clause.The Premodifier can then be interpreted in logical terms as a hypotactic word complex.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Substitute As Head/Thing

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 391):
With other Epithets, and with Classifiers, if the Thing is not made explicit it is realised as a substitute one/ones; for example, (he wants) a small one/a wooden one. The substitute is then both Head and Thing, as in Figure 6-10:

Friday, 22 March 2019

Epithet As Head

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 391):
There is one functional environment in which we regularly find Epithet as Head, namely when the nominal group occurs as Attribute, typically in an attributive relational clause. … This type of nominal group (sometimes referred to distinctively as ‘adjectival group’) is unique in that it is normally unable to function as Subject in the clause. … Other than this type, Epithets and Classifiers do not normally function as Head. The exception is the superlative, which in other ways also (for example, place in sequence) resembles a Numerative of the ordering kind rather than an Epithet …

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Numerative or Deictic as Head Of Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 390-1):
We have assumed so far that the Head of the univariate structure is also always the Thing, in the multivariate structure. But this is not so. There is always a Head in the nominal group (unless it is ‘branched’, like one brown in one blue eye and one brown [Ø]); but there may be no Thing. It is quite normal to have Numerative or Deictic as Head, as in Figure 6-9:

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Multivariate Structure [Definition]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 390):
By contrast, the type of structure exemplified by Deictic + Numerative + Epithet + Classifier + Thing we call a multivariate structure: a configuration of elements each having a distinct function with respect to the whole.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Univariate Structure [Definition]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 390):
What the logical analysis does is to bring out the hypotactic basis of premodification in the nominal group, which then also explains its penchant for generating long strings of nouns … .  We refer to this kind of structure as a univariate structure, one which is generated as an iteration of the same functional relationship: a is modified by b, which is modified by c, which is … .

Monday, 18 March 2019

Premodifier & Postmodifier

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 390):
The element following the Head is also a modifying element; we can distinguish the two positions by using the terms Premodifier and Postmodifier. The distinction is not a functional one, but depends on the rank of the modifying term; compare a weatherboard shack by the roadside with a roadside shack made out of weather board. These two are not synonymous, but the difference lies in the information structure: the item located at Postmodifier has the greater potential as news. But the Postmodifier does not itself enter into the logical structure, because it is not construed as a word complex.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Sub-Modification (Internal Bracketing): Possible Effects

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 389):
Within this logical structure there may be ‘sub-modification’: that is, internal bracketing … . Sub-modification may have the effect of disturbing the natural order of elements in the group; this accounts for additional items occurring before the Deictic, as in almost the last buttercup (rather than the almost last buttercup), such a bright moon (rather than a such bright moon), and also for displaced elements, as in not so very difficult a task (instead of a not so very difficult task).

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Logical Subcategorisation In The Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 389):
The basis of the subcategorisation, of course, shifts as we move to the left: ‘what type of ...?’, ‘what quality of ...?’, ‘how many ...?’ and so on – this is the principle underlying the experiential structure. Here, however, we are not concerned with the differences but with the similarities: with the general relationship that runs throughout the pre-Head modification of the nominal group, whatever the experiential function of the individual elements.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Nominal Group As A Logical Structure: Modification (Subcategorisation)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 388-9):
… seeing [the nominal group] as a logical structure … means seeing how it represents the generalised logical-semantic relations that are encoded in natural language. … for the purposes of the nominal group we need to take account of just one such relationship, that of subcategorisation: ‘a is subset of x’. This has usually been referred to in the grammar of the nominal group as modification

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Textual Metafunction & Nominal Group Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387-8):
Textual meaning is embodied throughout the entire structure, since it determines the order in which the elements are arranged, as well as patterns of information structure just as in the clause (note for example that the unmarked focus of information in a nominal group is on the word that comes last, not the word that functions as Thing). 
This means that there is a certain potential for assigning experientially similar meanings different textual statuses within the structure of the nominal group. In particular, they may be presented either as Classifier or as Qualifier (e.g. wooden table ~ table of wood) and as either Deictic or as Qualifier (e.g. my brother’s house ~ house of my brother)*, with the Qualifier having the greater potential as news.
* And there are further possibilities; for example, Keats wrote A thing of beauty is a joy for ever with of beauty as Qualifier rather than A beautiful thing is a joy for ever with beautiful as Epithet.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Interpersonal Metafunction & Nominal Group Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387):
Interpersonal meanings are embodied (a) in the person system, both as pronouns (person as Thing) and possessive determiners (person as Deictic); (b) in the attitudinal type of Epithet; (c) in connotative meanings of lexical items functioning in the group, and (d) in prosodic features such as swear-words and voice quality.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Experiential Metafunction & Clause Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387):
To complete the triad, first proposed by Pike (1959), of ‘language as particle, wave and field’, the kind of meaning that is expressed in a particle-like manner is the experiential; it is this that gives us our sense of the building blocks of language.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Interpersonal Metafunction & Clause Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387):
The interpersonal meanings are expressed by the intonation contour; by the ‘Mood’ block, which may be repeated as a tag at the end; and by expressions of modality which may recur throughout the clause. The pattern here is prosodic, ‘field’-like rather than wave-like.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Textual Metafunction & Clause Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387):
The textual meaning of the clause is expressed by what is put first (the Theme); by what is phonologically prominent (and tends to be put last — the New, signalled by information focus); and by conjunctions and relatives which if present must occur in initial position. Thus it forms a wave-like pattern of periodicity that is set up by peaks of prominence and boundary markers.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Metafunction & Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387):
… it is a general principle of linguistic structure that it is the experiential meaning that most clearly defines constituents. Interpersonal meanings tend to be scattered prosodically throughout the unit; while textual meanings tend to be realised by the order in which things occur, and especially by placing of boundaries. These are very general tendencies, worked out differently in every language but probably discernible in all.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Locating 'Thing' In Lexicogrammatical Space

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 386):
We can use these scales – countability, animacy, generality – as a way of locating the thing in lexicogrammatical space. A fourth factor, that of the metaphoric propensity of nouns (their potential for construing qualities and processes as things). Certain special classes of noun can be identified by reference to the grammar of process types: for example, nouns construing different types of projection. But a more detailed categorisation of things, in terms of their association with roles in the various process types, should emerge after more systematic investigation of the large-scale corpus data that are now available.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Cline Of Generality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 386):
On this scale, the most general type of noun is in fact a pronoun, which is the limiting case of anaphoric generalisation … There is no clear grammaticalising towards the ‘particular’ end of the cline, though it is perhaps worth remarking that the function of Classifier in the nominal group provides the resource for expanding any class of thing into more particular subclasses.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Cline Of Animacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 385):
Here again the grammar makes a categorical distinction: (a) conscious things, which are those referred to as he/she, (b) non-conscious things, those referred to as it. … while there is a clear foundation in the world of experience, with people at one end and inanimate or abstract objects at the other, many things (like non-human animals) lie in between; and, as always, the grammar is free to construe the world as it pleases. 
The conscious/non-conscious distinction can also therefore be looked at as a cline; and it is one that has received a lot of attention in typological linguistics, under the name of animacy. This, as already remarked, refers to the likelihood of any thing to occur as Actor in a transitive material process, the ‘most animate’ in this sense being, obviously, post-infancy humans.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Cline Of Countability

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 326):
Mass nouns representing abstract things, and also things which are concrete but general, often move into the count category: experiences, researches, informations, fruits, furnitures are all relatively recent plural forms. We could think in terms of a cline of countability, ranging from those nouns (and pronouns) which construe things as fully itemised, at one end, to those which treat them as totally unbounded at the other.  Typically, living beings and concrete objects are itemised, abstract entities (and nominalised processes and qualities) are unbounded, with institutions and collectives falling in between.  But the distinction is made in the grammar, so the same entity may be construed in more than one way; e.g. hat(s) ~ headgear, fish(es) ~ fish, novel(s) ~ fiction.

Monday, 4 March 2019


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 385):
Things are represented in English as either (a) discrete, and therefore countable, or (b) continuous, and therefore uncountable; the grammar thus makes a categorical distinction into count nouns and mass nouns, such that count nouns select for NUMBER: singular/plural, while mass nouns do not. As pointed out above, mass nouns are treated as singular where the deixis is specific, e.g. do you like this poetry/this poem?, and as plural where the deixis is non-specific, e.g. I’ve written some poetry/some poems
The distinction is not quite as clear-cut as this suggests. Mass nouns are often itemised, and hence also pluralised; the meaning is either ‘a kind of’, as in I’ve found a new polish, or ‘an amount of’, as in three coffees please. There will then be an agnate expression having a measure/type word as Head: a new type of polish, three cups of coffee.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Functional Potential Of Nouns & Pronouns

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 385):
… we can identify a small number of vectors along which words capable of functioning as Thing are ordered in terms of the grammar, so that the functional potential of any one noun or pronoun will be suggested by its location on each of these vectors. These are:
  1. countability: count/mass
  2. animacy: conscious/non-conscious
  3. generality: general/particular … 
We can use these scales — countability, animacy, generality — as a way of locating things in lexicogrammatical space.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Common Nouns: The Grammatical Relevance Of Traditional Categories

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 384):
There is a long tradition of characterising such phenomena, in grammar books, as a list of very general categories, for example ‘persons, other living beings, objects (concrete or abstract), collectives, institutions’. These are relevant grammatically because they relate to a cline of potential agency — that is, the likelihood of functioning as Actor/Agent in the clause; the most likely being persons (human nouns), and the least likely being concrete objects.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Common Nouns: Names For Classes Of Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 384):
Common nouns … are nouns that are common (ie generalised) to a class of referents. These name all the classes of phenomena that the language admits as things, and hence as participants in processes of any kind.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Personal Pronoun And Proper Noun

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 384):
Personal pronouns and proper names are alike in that, for both, the reference is typically unique. With pronouns, the referent is defined interpersonally, by the speech situation. With proper names it is defined experientially: there exists only one, at least in the relevant body of experience. In both cases, this means that typically there is no further specification; pronouns and proper names usually occur without any other elements of the nominal group. Sometimes they need further defining, like you in the back row, Henry the Eighth (this was how surnames started, as Qualifiers of personal names); and they may carry attitudinal Epithets, like poor Tom – cf. pretty little Polly Perkins of Paddington Green, which has both.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Personal Pronoun As Thing

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 383):
The personal pronoun represents the world according to the speaker, in the context of a speech exchange. The basic distinction is into speech rôles (I, you) and other rôles (he, she, it, they); there is also the generalised pronoun (one).

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Thing: Realisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 383):
The element we are calling Thing is the semantic core of the nominal group. It may be common noun, proper noun or (personal) pronoun.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Qualifier In Incongruent Nominal Groups

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 383):
In an incongruent nominal group corresponding to a congruent clause, Qualifiers correspond to participants or circumstances in the transitivity structure of the clause; or when the Head/Thing of the nominal group is a nominalisation of a verb of sensing or saying, they may correspond to projected clauses in a clause nexus.
Carnation has been available in the UK since 1946, but the main marketing effort dates only from 1954 with the removal [of restrictions [on sales] ].
THE decision [by the Arbitration Commission] [[ to award the 2.3 percent pay increase]] is unfortunate, but it was to be expected.
This is the real meaning of the US Senate’s decision [last week] [[ to override any possibility of a presidential veto for real, hard-hitting sanctions against the separate, increasingly desperate tribes [[ that make up the political entity of South Africa]] ]] .
As the examples illustrate, participants reconstrued as Qualifiers are realised by prepositional phrases with either of or by; circumstances are realised in the same way that they would be realised in clauses, by either prepositional phrases or adverbial groups.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Defining Vs Non-Defining Relative Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 383):
A clause functioning as Qualifier in the nominal group is referred to as a relative clause; more specifically, as a defining relative clause (in contrast to a non-defining relative clause, which is not embedded but hypotactically dependent).