Saturday, 28 February 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Animal

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 191):
typifying rôles: active participant in figure of of doing [Actor…] 
pronoun it/they; general noun creature; number category: count (singular/plural). 
has potential for self-initiated action and movement [processes in which animal occurs as Actor are (unconscious but) voluntary; and may also be effective …]; also for perception [Senser in process of seeing and hearing].

Friday, 27 February 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Conscious

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 190-1):
typifying rôles: active participant in figure of sensing [Senser…], of sayng [Sayer…] and of doing [Actor…] 
pronoun he/she/they (also I/you); general noun person etc.; number category: count (singular/plural).

has potential for voluntary action [material: doing, including doing to another participant; verbal (semiotic): saying] and conscious processing of all kinds [mental: sensing, including feeling, thinking, intending as well as perceiving].

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Primary Categories Of Things: Material Vs Semiotic

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 190):
One way of exploring [the primary categories of things] is by noting which participant rôles each category of participant is typically associated with. The critical rôles, in this respect, are those of Senser, Sayer and Actor, operating respectively in figures of sensing, saying and doing-&-happening. When we investigate these, however, we find that the overall categorisation of phenomena that is revealed in this way displays a further dimension of complexity: at the highest level, all phenomena are distributed into two broad experiential realms, the material and the semiotic.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Primary Categories Of Things: Potential For Bringing About Change

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 190):
These primary categories of things represent an ordering of the phenomena of experience. This ordering has to do with their inherent potential for bringing about change: that is, their ability to initiate processes and to affect other participants.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Conscious/Non-Conscious Categorisation Of Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 189):
The boundary between conscious and non-conscious, of course, is fluid and negotiable: different systems and different speakers (or the same speaker on different occasions), may draw it in different places. But the guiding principle is that ‘conscious’ means prototypically adult human and may be extended outwards (a) to babies, (b) to pets, and (c) to higher animals — as well as by rhetorical strategies of various kinds.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Primary Categorisation Of Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 189):
… the primary distinction within figures is that between conscious processing and other forms of experience: the key participant in a conscious process, the Senser, is restricted to things that are construed as being endowed with consciousness, so we take conscious/non-conscious as the primary distinction. It is also helpful, in the case of English, to make an initial distinction between objects, which are treated as bounded, and substances, which are not. This gives us an initial categorisation in the form ‘conscious / non-conscious: animals / institutions / objects / substances / abstractions’.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Configurational Rôles Of Things Vs Other Elements

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 188):
There is thus a marked contrast between things and all other elements. A quality enters into a figure only as an Attribute; a process only as a Process; and a circumstance only in some particular circumstantial rôle. Other than this, the only functional environment for qualities, processes and circumstances is that where they form parts of things — that is, grammatically, where they enter into the structure of the nominal group. The fact that these other elements can themselves enter into the specification of a thing is another indication of the relative complexity of things.

Saturday, 21 February 2015


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 187):
By comparison with other elements, things tend to stand out
(i) by their varied rôles as elements in figures,
(ii) by the overall weight and discursive force of their primary categorisation of experience,
(iii) by their tendency to be elaborated into numerous micro-categories,
(iv) by their complex internal organisation, and
(v) by their highly systematic relationship one with another.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Things Vs Qualities: Experiential Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 186):
Qualities tend be experientially simple, specifying values along a single dimension or scale such as size, weight, loudness, colour, according to either scalar or binary distinctions (e.g. scalar: ‘large’ — ‘small’, ‘tall’ — ‘short’; binary: ‘male’ — ‘female’, ‘dead’ — ‘alive’). Things, on the other hand, tend be experientially more complex than qualities. They are often definable in terms of an elaborate taxonomy where several dimensions (parameters) are needed to distinguish them.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Things Vs Qualities

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 185):
This distribution of qualities and things across the nominal group indicates two related points:
(i) things are more time-stable than qualities; and
(ii) things are more experientially complex than qualities.

    Wednesday, 18 February 2015

    Things & Qualities: Classifiers

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 184):
    Grammatically speaking, (simple) participants are realised by nominal groups, which are made up of both things and qualities. In terms of the structure of the nominal group, the cut-off point between things and qualities is between the Classifier and the Thing. Semantically, Classifiers are qualities of the ‘class’ type: they are like things and may be derived from things, but unlike things they do not have independent existence — they cannot be established in referential space and re-identified in running discourse. So for example although a ‘passenger’ is undoubtably a thing, in a passenger train, where passenger functions as Classifier, it is being construed as a quality; hence it cannot be picked up by anaphoric reference […] Grammatically, Classifiers are realised by ‘substantives’ or by ‘adjectives’, and this indeterminacy in grammatical class is symbolic of their status as qualities which are like things.

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015

    A Participant Is A Thing That Can Carry Attributes

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 183):
    Experientially, [in a nominal group] there is a ‘carrier’ — the Thing — and there are ‘attributes’ — Epithets and other modifiers. However, participants are construed not only experientially but also logically, which means that the Thing (typically) serves as a Head that can be modified by successive attributes and that this modifying relation is inherently ascriptive. There is thus no equivalent, in the nominal group, of the Process in an ascriptive figure; this is construed instead as the logical relation of modification, indefinitely repeatable. […] That is, participants are construed as things that can accrue attributes.

    Monday, 16 February 2015

    Participant [Definition]

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 182):
    We have already set up the general theory of participants, defining them in relation to ascriptive processes of being, being at, and having, in a process-participant configuration.  There are three elements in such a configuration: the Process, intensive, possessive or circumstantial; the Attribute, which is being ascribed by one or other of these processes; and the Carrier.  It is the rôle of Carrier which defines the concept of a participant. A participant, according to this theory, is that which may have assigned to it, in the discourse, properties [intensive/elaborating], parts [possessive/extending] or circumstantial features [enhancing].

    Sunday, 15 February 2015

    Participants & Processes: Temporal Permanence & Experiential Complexity

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 181):
    Both the difference in temporal permanence and the difference in experiential complexity are reflected logogenetically. Participants tend to persist in the unfolding of a text; and since they do, they can accrue various qualities. In contrast, processes cannot persist in text: unlike the deictic system of the nominal group, the deictic system of the verbal group, the tense system, is not a system for tracking textual instances of processes as a text unfolds. To achieve persistence in a text, processes have to be construed metaphorically as participants. When processes are construed as if they were participants, they can be established and maintained as referents in a text; hence under these conditions they also can accrue various qualities.

    Saturday, 14 February 2015

    The Elaborative Potential Of Participants: Qualities

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 180-1):
    Nominal groups have, in fact, far greater potential than verbal groups for creating experientially complex categories; and this reflects a fundamental difference between participants and processes. The nominal group has the potential for intersecting any number of qualities in the representation of a participant; and this makes it possible for the taxonomic ordering of participants to be considerably more elaborated than that of processes.

    Friday, 13 February 2015

    Nominal Group Structure: From Transitory To Permanence

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 180):
    In the nominal group, on the other hand, the path from Deictic to Thing is not a chain in time — alt[h]ough it does reflect time in another way. The path goes through qualities of various kinds, beginning with qualities that are textual and transitory (unstable in time) and moving towards increasing permanence (time-stability) and experiential complexity.

    Thursday, 12 February 2015

    Verbal Group Structure: Path Of Temporal Relations

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 180):
    But in the case of the verbal group, the path is made up of one or more temporal relations: past/present/future in relation to a moment in some dimension of time construed between ‘now’ and the time of the occurrence of the event.

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015

    Nominal & Verbal Group Structure: Path From Interpersonal To Experiential

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 180):
    … the structures of both types of group constitute a kind of path between the interpersonal reference point, reflected in the Deictic or Finite, and the experiential one, reflected in the Thing or Event.

    Tuesday, 10 February 2015

    Process & Participant: Relative Lexicalisation

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 180):
    … both types of group include a specification of a primary experiential category — Thing in the nominal group and Event in the verbal group. But in the simple verbal group, this is the only semantic category that is lexicalised — other categories are represented grammatically by auxiliaries; whereas in the nominal group, there is a large amount of other lexical material.

    Monday, 9 February 2015

    Processes & Participants: Mode Of Existence

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 179):
    … since processes occur in time — their mode of existence is temporalthat is how they are tied to the speech situation; whereas participants exist in some kind of referential space, which may be grounded concretely in the speech interaction (this = ‘near me’; that = ‘away from me’) but may also be a more abstract discoursal space. The latter is the space where we ‘record’ discourse referents as we work our way through a text (this = ‘about to be mentioned (by me); that = ‘mentioned earlier’).

    Sunday, 8 February 2015

    Process & Participant: Two Kinds Of Deixis

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 179):
    Both types of element begin with a location in the ‘here & now’: they construct a path from the spatio-temporal moment defined instantially by the interaction base — the ‘here & now’ of the act of speaking — to a primary category of ideational phenomena. In other words, both types of group include deixis. But the deixis is of two different kinds: nominal deixis (such as near/remote) and verbal deixis (such as past/present/future), structurally realised as Deictic and Finite respectively.

    Saturday, 7 February 2015

    Participants & Processes: Temporal Complementarity

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 178-9):
    In our discussion of figures, we pointed out that participants form a temporal complementarity: participants persist, whereas processes unfold, through time. This complementarity is reflected both in the similarities and differences between the two.

    Friday, 6 February 2015

    Participants & Processes: Experiential Complexity

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 178):
    Being elements, participants and processes occupy rôles in figures; but whereas processes only serve in the the single rôle of Process, participants range over a much wider experiential spectrum — the direct participant rôles of Actor, Goal, Senser, Phenomenon, and so on, and also the indirect participant rôles within circumstances such as Location and Cause. Thus, seen from the point of view of figures, participants are construed as being experientially more complex, in the sense that they can take a variety of configurational rôles.

    Thursday, 5 February 2015

    The Internal Organisation Of Elements: Relators

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 178):
    Relators are typically realised by conjunctions, like and, so, if, that, because, however; these can form groups, such as as if, and yet, but conjunctions are more often expanded by adverbs (just because, even if). In addition, there are numerous other types of relator: prepositional phrases (in addition, in the event (that), for fear that), nominal groups remaining from earlier prepositional phrases ([at] the moment (that), [on] the day (that)), and various expressions involving non-finite verbs (supposing (that), provided (that)). The relator construes a logico-semantic relation between the clauses in a clause nexus (realising a sequence), but it is itself an element in the structure of one or other of the two clauses concerned;

    Wednesday, 4 February 2015

    The Internal Organisation Of Elements: Circumstances

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 178):
    Circumstances of the “macro” type are realised by prepositional phrases, which as we have seen are like miniaturised clauses; their components are thus of different types — a (minor) process plus a participant. Circumstances of the simple type, on the other hand, are realised by adverbial groups; these are groups of adverbs, like more soundly, not so very fast, with the single adverb again as the limiting case.

    Tuesday, 3 February 2015

    The Internal Organisation Of Elements: Participants & Processes

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 178):
    … there is a significant difference between element and figures in the nature of their internal organisation. While figures consist of phenomena that are ontologically of different types — participants, processes and circumstances, the components of an element belong in principle to the same type. That is, the components of the participant are themselves potential participants, and the components of a process are themselves potential processes. Grammatically speaking, participants are realised by nominal groups, which are groups of nouns; and processes are realised by verbal groups, which are groups of verbs. The limiting case of a group is a single word. The situation with circumstances and relators is a little more complicated.

    Monday, 2 February 2015

    Elements: Primary Types & Grammatical Realisations

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 177):
    Elements serve as component parts of figures. Three primary types of element may be differentiated according to the generalised categories of configurational rôles: process, participant, and circumstance. In addition to these three, we need to recognise a fourth category of element, the relator; this is the element which forms figures into sequences. The congruent (prototypical) grammatical realisations of these types of element in English are as follows:
    process î verbal group
    participant î nominal group
    circumstance î adverbial group; prepositional phrase
    relator î conjunction group

    Sunday, 1 February 2015

    Degree Of Involvement As Domains Within A Semantic Space

    Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 175):
    What this brings out is that there are a small number of very general domains within this overall semantic space, which may be construed in different ways according to the status they are assigned within the figure. For example, there is one area that is concerned with the spatial orientation of the process. Construed as an outer circumstance, this appears as the position within which the process unfolds; construed as an inner circumstance, it means the direction towards which the process is oriented; construed as a participant, it shows up as the receiver or recipient of the process. Thus this general motif is manifested in a form which corresponds to its ecological niche at that location.