Saturday, 25 February 2012

Existential ‘There’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119n):
… this there is a pronoun. The proportionality is:
the : that : it :: a(n) : one : there

Commonality Of Theme, Subject & Medium: Anchor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119-20):
The guiding axiom is the metafunctional one: just as the Theme is best understood by starting from the concept of the clause as message, so the Subject is best understood by starting from the concept of the clause as exchange, a move in dialogic interaction. Each of the two can be thought of as an anchor; … the Medium plays an analogous rôle in the clause as representation.

Validity & Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119):
The notion of validity relates to the arguing of the case, if it is a proposition, or to the putting into effect, if it is a proposal. The Subject is that element in which the particular kind of validity (according to the mood) is being invested.

Predication & Truth Value

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119):
The problem only arises when predication is interpreted in terms of truth value, since proposals — commands and offers — have no truth value. This mistake arose because predication was assumed to be an experiential relation; but it is not — it is an interpersonal relation, enacting the form of exchange between speaker and listener.

Identity Of ‘Subject’ Established From A Trinocular Perspective

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119): 
(i) From below, it is that nominal element (nominal group or nominalised phrase or clause) that is picked up by the pronoun in the mood tag.
(ii) From round about, it is that which combines with the Finite (operator) to form the Mood element in the clause; it is also that which constitutes the unmarked Theme if the mood is declarative, and which switches place with the Finite if the mood is yes/no interrogative.
(iii) From above, it is that which carries the modal responsibility; that is, responsibility for the validity of what is being predicated (stated, questioned, commanded or offered) in the clause.


Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 117):
Semantics has nothing to do with truth; it is concerned with consensus about validity, and consensus is negotiated in dialogue.