Monday, 30 June 2014

Circumstances: Circumstantial Relations & Experiential Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 63):
We can recognise two simultaneous distinctions. One concerns the type of circumstantial relation construed; the primary contrast is between circumstances of projection and circumstances of expansion and within the latter we distinguish those of elaboration, extension and enhancement. The other concerns the experiential complexity of the circumstance; circumstances are either ‘simple’ or ‘macro’, the former being truly elemental while the latter are more like figures. … Among simple circumstances, the most usual are those of time, place, manner-quality and intensity, all of which are circumstances of enhancement. … Macro circumstances are those which are made up of a special type of figure having another participant inside it …

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Simple Participants: Things & Qualities

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 60, 62):
Some ‘simple things’ are metaphorical; the remainder are referred to as ‘ordinary’, and these are either conscious or non-conscious (this is the distinction that is actually made in the semantic system, not animate/inanimate or human/non-human). … Again, a number of simple qualities are metaphorical; of the remainder, the ‘ordinary’ qualities, one subtype is qualities of projection and the other is qualities of expansion.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Elements: Grammatical Realisations

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 59):
processes are realised by verbal groups, participants by nominal groups, and circumstances by adverbial groups or prepositional phrases. In addition to the three types of element that serve in figures, there is one further type of element — the relator. Relators serve to construe logico-semantic relations of expansion between figures in a sequence; they are realised by conjunction groups.

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Rôle Restrictions For Sensing, Saying And Doing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 58):
These rôle restrictions represent a kind of metaphysics of English transitivity. For example, according to English, ideas and locutions cannot act on things, but there is no general restriction on what kinds of things may act on other things. Not only persons, but also inanimate things and abstractions may kill people (a figure of doing): the rifleman/the rock/his stupidity killed cousin Henry.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 54):
Circumstances are typically less closely associated with the process and are usually not inherent in it. They specify the spatial or temporal location of the process, its extent in space or time (distance or duration), its cause, the manner of its occurrence, and so on.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Participants Vs Circumstances

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 54):
The distinction between participants and circumstances is a cline rather than a sharp division, but it is semantically quite significant.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 54):
Participants are inherent in the process; they bring about its occurrence or mediate it. There are a number of specific ways in which a participant may take part in a process, it may sense it, it may receive it, it may be affected by it, it may say it, and so on. The different configurations of participants are the bases for a typology of process types.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Figures: Principle Of Organisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 53-4):
… a figure is constructed as an organic configuration of parts. Each part stands in a specific relation to the figure as a whole. The parts of a given configuration are (i) a nuclear process, (ii) one to three participants of different kinds taking part in the process, and (iii) up to around seven circumstances of different kinds associated with it.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Figure [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 52):
A figure is a representation of experience in the form of a configuration, consisting of a process, participants taking part in this process and associated circumstances. There are, of course, indefinitely many kinds of process in the non-semiotic world; but these are construed semiotically, according to the way in which they configure participants, into a small number of process types — being, doing, sensing, and saying. The first three of these have clearly defined subcategories. Then, each figure may be either projected (by another figure, or in some other way) or else not; and if projected, it may be an idea or locution or something else [which embodies grammatical metaphor] …

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Sequence [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 50-1):
A sequence is a series of related figures. Consequently, sequences are differentiated according to the kinds of relations figures can enter into — temporal (x happened, then y happened, etc.), causal (x happened, so y happened, etc.), and so on … . In any pair of figures related in a sequence, one figure may (i) expand the other, by reiterating it, adding to it or qualifying it; or (ii) project (report, quote) the other by saying it or thinking it. In either case, the two may be either equal or unequal in status, or semantic weight. … Sequences are organised by interdependency relations and they are indefinitely expandable.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Relations Between The Three Orders Of Phenomena

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 48):
While figures are said to consist of elements and sequences are said to consist of figures, the ‘consist of’ relation is not the same: elements are constituent parts of figures, functioning in different rôles; but figures form sequences through interdependency relations.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Phenomena Of Experience: Three Orders Of Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 48):
A phenomenon is the most general experiential category — anything that can be construed as part of human experience. The phenomena of experience are of three orders of complexity: elementary (a single element), configurational (configuration of elements, i.e. a figure) and complex (a complex of figures, i.e. a sequence).

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Semantic Features

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 46):
The semantic types represented by the features of systems in the system network do not constitute discrete Aristotelian categories; they are values on semantic clinescore regions to use the metaphor of semantic space.  We can bring this out by adopting a topological view on meaning; we can also explore the possibility of interpreting features as names of fuzzy sets.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Cline Of Instantiation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 45):
However, instantiation also defines a scale between the potential and the instance, with intermediate patterns of instantiation.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Instance [Definition]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 45) 
The instance is thus a set of features selected, with associated realisational specifications — an instantial pattern over the potential.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

How To Represent Instantiation As A Process

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 45):
As a process, instantiation can be represented as involving traversal of the system network and activation of realisation statements.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Realisation Statement [Definition]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 43): 
A realisation statement is a minimal specification of a piece of structure or configuration of rôles presented in a paradigmatic context; it is always associated with a particular systemic feature. … The general form of a realisation statement is ‘realisation operator + one or more realisation operands’ … The operators … are insert, conflate and preselect.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Non-Logical System Vs Logical Recursive System

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 42n):
Non-logical systems are purely declarative — terms such as “choice” and “entry condition” do not imply a procedural interpretation; they merely indicate that the system network can be traversed.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

System Network [Definition]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 41-2):
A system network is an acyclic directed graph, consisting of systems partially ordered in delicacy. Each system constitutes a choice (alternation, opposition) between two or more terms. These terms are represented by features, and a system as a whole is a Boolean combination of features:
  1. It has an entry condition, the condition under which the systemic choice is available. The entry condition may be a single feature or a complex of features, conjunct and/or disjunct. These features must serve as terms in other systems [except in the case of a logical recursive system].
  2. It has a set of terms, the options that are available given the entry condition. The terms are represented by features, which are related by exclusive disjunction.
Collectively, a set of related systems for a system network (since features in the entry conditions to systems must be terms in other systems).

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

What Jakobson Did To Trubetzkoy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 39, 40):
The problem of multi-dimensional organisation in phonological systems was solved by the introduction of oppositions that can intersect (such as front/back, open/closed, and rounded/unrounded for vowels); in Trubetzkoy’s (1939) theory, the oppositions were treated as classificatory dimensions and the values as ‘sound properties’. In the late 1940s, however, Roman Jakobson (1949) reinterpreted these properties as components or distinctive features of the phoneme; this was in effect a reification of the earlier sound properties. Phonemes were said to consist of components (just as longer phonological sequences consisted of phonemes) instead of being said to realise terms in phonological systemic oppositions. In other words, a paradigmatic abstraction (sound property in an opposition) was given a syntagmatic status (component of a phoneme). Jakobson’s notion of component or distinctive feature was then taken over into generative phonology. … 
Many of the problems with componential analysis arise from misinterpreting the 'components' as if they were constituents of some structure, rather than being paradigms of abstract features; …

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Representing The Model Of Ideational Semantics Diagrammatically

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 34):
… the representational semiotic may also be a diagrammatic one — e.g. network graphs, tree diagrams, our circle diagrams. […] diagrams will only serve us as ‘visualisations’ as long as they construe a metaphor of abstract space at the theoretical stratum.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Representing The Model Of Ideational Semantics Through Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 34):
As we have already noted, the representational semiotic may be language itself — the theory may be represented discursively in the register(s) of linguistics. In this case, the relationship between theory and language is […] a relationship where theory might be construed as a connotative semiotic (in Hjelmslev’s, 1943, conception: a semiotic system whose expression plane is a semiotic system) …

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Model Of Ideational Semantics: Expansion Through Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 33):
At the same time, this overall ideation base can be expanded by various semogenic strategies, among which we are foregrounding that of grammatical metaphor.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Model Of Ideational Semantics: Cline Of Instantiation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 33):
The meaning potential itself is one pole on the dimension of instantiation: it is instantiated in the unfolding of text, with patterns of typical instantiation (specific domains of meaning) lying somewhere in between the potential and the instance.

Friday, 6 June 2014

The Model Of Ideational Semantics: System And Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 32-3):
From a systemic-functional point of view, this means that the ideation base is construed as a multidimensional, elastic semantic space. This space is organised as a meaning potential, with an extensive system of semantic alternatives; these alternatives are ordered in delicacy. Each set of alternatives is a cline of semantic space rather than a set of discrete categories, and any alternative may be constituted structurally as a configuration of semantic rôles. The meaning potential is thus differentiated axially into (i) systems of options in meaning and (ii) structural configurations of rôles by which these options are constituted.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Stratification Of Metalanguage

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 30):
Metalanguage has the same basic properties as any semiotic system. This means that it is stratified. It construes language in abstract theoretical terms; but this construal is in turn realised as some form of representation — either language itself, in discursive constructions of theory, or some form of designed semiotic (system networks, constituency rules, conceptual networks, logical formulæ, and so on).

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Metalanguage: Language Turned Back On Itself

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 30):
We have noted above that the semantics/lexicogrammar of natural language is itself a ‘realisation’ (an abstract construction) of daily experience. Likewise, the system we use to explore the semantics/lexicogrammar — our theory of semantics and our grammatics — is a ‘realisation’ of that part of daily experience that is constituted by semantics and lexicogrammar; that is, it is an abstract construction of language. This system is itself a semiotic one — a metalanguage; in Firth’s more everyday terms, it is language turned back on itself.  So whereas a language is (from an ideational point of view) a resource for construing our experience of the world, a metalanguage is a resource for construing our experience of language.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Abstractness Of Phonology

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 30):
The phonological representations are still abstract; they have to be manifested in bodily movements — in the ongoing movement of the parameters of the articulatory system. The sound system thus categorises bodily processes; and in this respect, it is similar to the semantic system: both are ways of construing human experience. Meaning is thus represented by modes of organisation that are similar to its own.

Monday, 2 June 2014

The Relationship Between Grammar And Phonology: Ideational Domain

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 29-30):
In the ideational domains, the representation is usually conventional; but even here there is a relationship of analogy, where we find in the sounding, modes of organisation similar to those of wording (and therefore of meaning). Systemically, we find that the system construes a phonetic space — notably the vowel space; and that this provides a model for semantic space. Structurally, we find that sound is structured both as [logical] chains of segments (e.g. rhythmic units interpreted as syllable complexes) and as [experiential] configurations of segmental constituents (e.g. syllables interpreted as configurations of phonemes).

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Relationship Between Grammar And Phonology: Interpersonal & Textual Domains

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 29):
In the interpersonal and textual domains of content, it is often natural; thus interpersonal content tends to be represented prosodically by movements or variant levels in pitch, and textual content tends to be represented by prominence achieved phonologically (e.g. by the major pitch movement in an intonation contour) or sequentially (e.g. by using distance from initial position in the clause as a scale of prominence).