Saturday, 31 May 2014

Using Modes of Grammatical Representation To Learn About Modes Of Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 29):
We can learn about the different modes of meaning — logical, experiential, interpersonal, and textual — by exploring their different modes of representation in the grammar — chaining, constituency, prosody, and wave. Grammar is thus a hybrid system for representing meaning in the sense of embodying different modes of representation; but it is this that allows it to maintain a natural relationship with respect to semantics, with each mode of representation realising a different mode of meaning.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Using Grammatical Realisations To Learn About Semantics

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 29):
Meaning is realised in two cycles. We have noted that the first cycle, the realisation in lexicogrammar, is natural, in the sense of being non-arbitrary: for example, the grammatical constituency structure of a clause provides a natural representation of the semantic configuration of a process, participants and circumstances. By attending to grammatical realisations, we can thus learn a good deal about the more abstract organisation of meaning at the higher stratum of semantics.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Paradigmatic Orientation Of Systemic Functional Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 28):
For instance, while more formally oriented accounts may approach transitivity patterns essentially in terms of sequences of grammatical classes such as ‘nominal group + verb (+ nominal group’ and speak of classes of verb followed by one nominal group (‘monotransitive’) or two nominal groups (‘ditransitive’), a systemic grammar interprets such sequences in terms of systems of distinct and contrasting process types.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

System Approached ‘From Above’: Tense

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 28):
tense — group: traditionally a mixture, because the model was taken over from Latin with richer word-rank realisations than English, but more recently in this [20th] century often a word category, past/non-past; reinterpreted (relative to this) as (i) past/present/future and (ii) recursive, with secondary tense.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

System Approached ‘From Above’: Transitivity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 28):
transitivity — clause: traditionally a word category, transitive = verb taking object / intransitive = verb not taking object; reinterpreted as (i) process types (material/mental/verbal/relational) and (ii) an ergative system (middle/effective) in the clause.

Monday, 26 May 2014

System Approached ‘From Above’: Projection

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 28):
projection — clause complex: traditionally a form of ‘subordination’ within clause; reinterpreted as distinction between hypotaxis in clause complex vs. rankshift in clause, laying the foundation for a semantic distinction between reports and facts.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Gateway To Semantics

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 28):
[Our move into semantics from grammar also differs from the traditional in that] The gateway to semantics is the clause rather than the word. Consequently, grammatical categories will typically be interpreted ‘from above’, with their context in the clause or the group, rather than ‘from below’ within their context in the word. This has rather far-reaching consequences for the understanding of the semantic systems realised by the grammar.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Reactance Example: Interpersonal Criterion For Ideational Distinction Between Participants & Circumstances

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 27):
The concept of reactance is particularly significant for our purposes where it involves a relationship between an ideational category and features of other metafunctions, interpersonal or textual. For instance, the interpersonal grammar provides for participants, within the ideational dimension of the clause, to function as Subjects; but this potential is not in general open to circumstances, and this is a principal reason for distinguishing these two classes within the ideational metafunction.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Examples Of Cryptotypes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 27):
There are many examples of cryptotypes in this sense, both as classes and as systems (i.e. cryptoclasses and cryptosystems), in our ideational semantics. For example:
  • proces types: doing & happening / sensing / saying / being & having
  • transitivity model: ergative / transitive
  • projections: locutions / ideas
  • expansions: elaboration / extension / enhancement
  • number: plural / non-plural; singular / non-singular

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Covert Categories: Cryptotypes

Whorf (1956: 88ff) apud Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 27):
A covert category may also be termed a cryptotype, a name which calls attention to the rather hidden, cryptic nature of such word-groups, especially when they are not strongly contrasted in idea, nor marked by frequently occurring reactances such as pronouns. They easily escape notice and may be hard to define, and yet may have profound influence on linguistic behaviour.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Distinctive Treatment Of Covert Categories: Reactances

Whorf (1956: 88ff) apud Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 27):
A covert category is marked, whether morphemically or by sentence pattern, only in certain types of sentence and not in every sentence in which a word or element belonging to the category occurs. The class membership of the word is not apparent until there is a question of using it or referring to it in one of these special types of sentence, and then we find that this word belongs to a class requiring some sort of distinctive treatment, which may even be the negative treatment of excluding that type of sentence. This distinctive treatment we may call the reactance of the category.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Overt Categories

Whorf (1956: 88ff) apud Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 26-7):
An overt category is a category having a formal mark which is present (with only infrequent exceptions) in every sentence containing a member [instance] of the category. The mark need not be part of the same word to which the category may be said to be attached in a paradigmatic sense; i.e. it need not be a suffix, prefix, vowel change, or other ‘inflection’, but may be a detached word or a certain patterning of the whole sentence …

Monday, 19 May 2014

Cryptotypes Vs Phenotypes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 26):
We consider not only overt categories but also covert ones. The understanding of covert categories in the grammar is due to Whorf (1956: 88ff), who made the distinction between overt categories or phenotypes and covert categories or cryptotypes

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Traditional Grammar Vs (Systemic) Functional Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 26):
In traditional grammar, only certain grammatical categories were taken into consideration; these categories were (i) overt and (ii) word-based. In particular, inflectional categories of the word such as tense, case and number were described and then interpreted semantically. In a functional grammar, while such categories are not ignored, they tend to play a less significant rôle, appearing at the end point of realisational chains. For instance, it is not possible to base a functional interpretation of number in English simply on the presence or absence of ‘plural’ as a nominal suffix (as in grammar+s); the category of number is more complex, involving two complementary systems. Similarly, the general properties of of the construal of time in the English tense system are not revealed by only looking at the overt suffixial past tense marker (as in laugh+ed); again the scope of the semantics of tense in English is far greater than this overt word category would suggest.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Grammatical Metaphor: Reconstruing Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 26):
… what makes such a theory (i.e. an ideation base as the construal of experience) possible is that it is a stratal construction that can be deconstructed, every such occasion being a gateway to the creation of further meanings which reconstrue in new and divergent ways. Thus a sequence is not ‘the same thing as’ a clause complex; if it was, language would not be a dynamic open system of the kind that it is.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Lexicogrammar And Semantics Originate As One

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 26): 
Thus when we move from the lexicogrammar into the semantics, as we are doing here, we are not simply relabelling everything in a new terminological guise. We shall stress the fundamental relationship between (say) clause complex in the grammar and sequence in the semantics, precisely because the two originate as one: a theory of the logical relationships between processes.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Scientific Theories

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 25):
Every scientific theory is itself a stratal-semiotic system, in which the relation among the different levels of abstraction is one of realisation. … since all such theories are modelled on natural language in the first place; and … the semantics of natural language is itself a theory of daily experience.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Realisation: The Semiotic Analogue Of Physical Cause-&-Effect

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 25):
There is a sense in which realisation is the analogue, in semiotic systems, of cause-&-effect in physical systems; but it is a relationship among levels of meaning and not among sequences of events.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

No Causal Relation Between Strata

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 25):
In any stratal system (i.e. any system where there are two strata such that one is the realisation of the other) there is no temporal or causal ordering between the strata. … the relationship is an intensive one, not a causal circumstantial one.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Logogenesis: Codifying Vs Recycling

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 24):
The production of discourse by an individual speaker or writer can be seen as a dialectic between these two semiotic activities: between (i) recycling elements, figures and sequences that that individual has used many times before, and so for him or her are already fully codified, and (ii) constructing new ones that are being codified for the first time (and some of which may remain codified for future use — especially with a child who is learning the system).

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Semogenesis: Codifying

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 24):
In general, the process of creating meaning involves constructing some kind of lexicogrammatical generalisation — some form of wording that is in some respect unique. It is not possible to quantify the degree to which any semantic feature or domain has been codified at any one moment of semohistory; but meanings that are more highly codified are those that have been to a greater extent condensed and/or compacted, where ‘compacting’ is generalising on the syntagmatic axis (e.g. animal that has four legs > quadruped), while ‘condensing’ is generalising on the paradigmatic axis (forming into a system at some point along the scale of delicacy). The [phylogenetic] evolution of language (i.e. of specific languages in their various registers), the [ontogenetic] learning of language by children, and the [logogenetic] production of language in the form of discourse constitute the historical contexts in which meanings are continuously being created along these lines.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Semantics In Relation To Grammar (Meaning In Relation To Wording)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 20):
Our [content plane] “sign” is not the Saussurean sign: we are not talking about the relationship between a word and its phonological representation (between content and expression, in Hjelmslev’s terms). The relationship is within the content plane, between a meaning and a wording — the non-arbitrary relationship between the system of semantics and the system of lexicogrammar.

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Three Semohistories Related

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 18):

semogenic processes:

‘provides environment for’     ð
(evolution of the system
in the species)
(development of the system
in the individual)
(instantiation of the system
in the text)
ï     ‘provides material for’

As the [leftward] pointing arrow suggests, the individual’s (transfinite) meaning potential is constructed out of (finite) instances of text; the (transfinite) meaning potential of the species is constructed out of (finite) instances of individual ‘meaners’.  Following the [rightward] arrow, the system of the language (the meaning potential of the species) provides the environment in which the individual’s meaning emerges; the meaning potential of the individual provides the environment within which the meaning of the text emerges.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Logogenetic Time Frame Of Semogenesis

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 18):
Thirdly, there is the unfolding of the act of meaning itself: the instantial construction of meaning in the form of a text. This is a stochastic process in which the potential for creating meaning is continually modified in the light of what has gone before; certain options are restricted or disfavoured, while others are emprobabled or opened up. We refer to this as the logogenetic time frame, using logo(s) in its original sense of ‘discourse’.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Ontogenetic Time Frame Of Semogenesis

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 17):
Secondly, there is the development of the individual speaker (speaking subject). A speaker’s history may — like that of the biological individual — recapitulate some of the evolutionary progression along epigenetic lines. But the individual experience is one of growth, not evolution, and follows the typical cycle of growth, maturation and decay. This is the ontogenetic time frame.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Phylogenetic Time Frame Of Semogenesis

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 17):
First, there is the evolution of human language (and of particular languages as manifestations of this). Known histories represent a small fraction of the total time scale of this evolution, perhaps 0.1%; they become relevant only where particular aspects of this evolutionary change have taken place very recently, e.g. the evolution of scientific discourse. This is the phylogenetic time frame.

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Ideational Grammar Construes Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 17):
The view we are adopting is a constructivist one, familiar from European linguistics in the work of Hjelmslev and Firth.  According to this view, it is the grammar itself that construes experience, that constructs for us our world of events and objects.  As Hjelmslev (1943) said, reality is unknowable; the only things that are known are our construals of it — that is, meanings.  Meanings do not ‘exist’ before the wordings that realise them.  They are formed out of the impact between our consciousness and its environment.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Distinguishing Delicacy From Instantiation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 15): 
Note that it is important to keep delicacy and instantiation distinct. … The difference is essentially that between being a type of x (delicacy) and being a token of x (instantiation). Both may be construed by intensive ascription

Saturday, 3 May 2014

The Cline Of Instantiation (Semantic Stratum)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 14):
Instantiation refers to the move from the semantic potential within the general system to instances of this potential within a particular text. Intermediate between these two on the instantiation cline are patterns of instantiation that recur in particular situation typessemantic domains located within the overall meaning potential as situated variants of it.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Paradigmatic Ordering: Delicacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 14):
… the paradigmatic network is ordered in delicacy (subsumption, classification, specialisation), from the least delicate (most general) to the most delicate (most specific types).

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Realisation Statements

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 14):
… syntagmatic specifications occur in paradigmatic environments, as realisations of paradigmatic types.