Sunday, 26 October 2014

Doing & Being As Complementary Perspectives

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 132): 
Figures of doing and being can be interpreted as complementary perspectives on a ‘quantum of change’. Construed as doing, a change appears as a change in the thusness of a participant. Construed as being, the change appears as an achieved or attainable result.  Consider a causal consequence such as [doing:] ‘he washed it’ —<so>—> [being:] ‘it was clean’. This quantum of change may be construed as two figures, as it is here (He washed it, so it was clean.).   Alternatively, it may be construed as one figure, in which case it may adopt either point of view.   If construed as doing, he washed it clean, the figure is elaborated with a result.   If construed as being, he made it (be) clean, the figure is enhanced with an agentive Attributor.  The wording he cleaned it embodies both perspectives in a single process.