Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Relational Clauses: Class–Membership And Identity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 214):
The configuration of Process + ‘Be-er1’ + ‘Be-er2’ opens up the potential for construing the abstract relationships of class–membership and identity in all domains of experience. Class–membership is construed by attributive clauses and identity by identifying ones. These two ‘relational’ clause types cut across the inner and outer experience of ‘mental’ and ‘material’ clauses

Relational Clauses & Nominal Groups

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 214n):
There is, however, a deeper sense in which ‘relational’ clauses are ‘nominal’: they construe the same range of relations as those of modification within the nominal group …

Relational Clauses: No Structurally Present Process

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 214n):
Such clauses have often been called ‘nominal clauses’, in contrast to ‘verbal clauses’, where there is a Process present in the structure of the clause. But this reflects only the view ‘from below’ and hides the fact that in languages such as Arabic ‘relational’ clauses that are marked for aspect and/or polarity typically have a structurally present Process.

Relational Clauses: Prototypical Configuration

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 213-4):
the experiential ‘weight’ is construed in the two participants, and the process is merely a highly generalised link between these two participants … Thus the verbs that occur most frequently as the Process of a ‘relational’ clause are be and have; and they are typically both unaccented and phonologically reduced … This weak phonological presence of the Process represents iconically its highly generalised grammatical nature. The limiting case of weak presence is absence; and the Process is in fact structurally absent in certain ‘non-finite’ ‘relational’ clauses in English … and in many languages there is no structurally present Process in the ‘unmarked’ type of ‘relational’ clause … Here the ‘relational’ clause is simply a configuration of ‘Be-er1’ + ‘Be-er2’.

Relational Clauses: Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 210):
‘Relational’ clauses serve to characterise and identify.