Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Status Of Relators In The Overall Ideation Base

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 267-8):
…the relators are the most unstable in terms of their susceptibility to metaphoric transformation. They are, as it were, the first to leave, and they travel farther than the rest. We can perhaps link this property of relators to their status in the overall ideation base. Relators construe the highly generalised logico-semantic relations of expansion that join figures into sequences: elaborating, extending, enhancing. […] these relationships of expansion pervade very many regions of the semantic system: they are manifested in the organisation of figures of being, in the types of circumstantial element that occur within a figure, in the taxonomy of ‘things’, and elsewhere, as well as of course in their ‘home’ region of the construal of sequences , as links between one figure and another. That led us to characterise the categories of expansion as “transphenomenal” and as “fractal”: transphenomenal in the sense that they re-appear across the spectrum of different types of phenomena construed by the ideational system; and fractal in the sense that they serve as general principles of the construal of experience, generating identical patterns of organisation of variable magnitude and in variable semantic environments.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Pressure Along The Metaphoric Scale

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 267):
But things are merely the end-point of the metaphoric scale… . Processes, though more constrained than things, still have more semantic potential than relators: they accommodate categories of time and phase, among others, and are construed in open lexical sets, whereas relators for closed systems. So there is pressure there too, to metaphorise conjunctions into verbs: then, so, because, before, therefore becoming follow, result, cause, anticipate, prove. (Circumstances are something of a special case because most of them already contain participants in minor, subsidiary processes — prepositional phrases in the grammar.) But it remains true that things are the most susceptible of being classified and organised into taxonomies; hence the primary motif of grammatical metaphor is that of construing a world in the form of things.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Metaphorical Drift Toward “Thinginess”

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 265, 267): 
… by construing any phenomenon of experience as a thing, we give it the maximum potential for semantic elaboration. … the more structure that is to be imposed on experience the more pressure there is to construe it in the form of things.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Relators

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 266-7):
Relators show the least organisation of any, since they are experienced indirectly in the form of logical relations between other configurations; they share some of the systematic features of minor processes, but other than that they display only the contrast between the two relative statuses they assign to these configurations, as being equal or unequal (paratactic / hypotactic in the grammar) — a then x / x after a // b so y / y because b &c. Thus a relator can be metaphorically reconstrued into any other category … whereas a process can be construed only as a participant (quality or thing), and a quality only as a thing.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Minor Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 266):
The minor processes that form circumstances (realised as prepositions in English) are even less taxonomisable; they are intermediate between processes and relators, and only the spatial ones (spatio-temporal) display any real paradigmatic organisation (to / from // towards / away from; inside / outside // into / out of; before / after // in front of / behind &c.).

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Processes Vs Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 266):
Processes thus have much less potential than participants for being characterised and taxonomised. For example, with a process like decide we can add a circumstance to it, saying he decided quickly or he decided on the spur of the moment; but if we want to identify the occasion as unique we have to say this decision, the previous decision, the only good decision he ever made. We can say his absurd decision but not he decided absurdly — at least not in the same sense, since absurdly could only characterise the figure (how he carried out the act of deciding), not the quality of the process of deciding as such.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Process Features

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 265-6):
Processes do resemble other processes, but they share different features with different others; no single line-up is dominant enough to form the basis for permanent hyponymy. For example, if we consider a small subset of the words expressing verbal processes offer, tell, promise, threaten, recommend, warn:
(1) offer, promise, threaten have the feature ‘offer’; tell, recommend, warn have the feature ‘command’ 
(2) offer, tell are neutral in orientation; promise, threaten, recommend, warn have the feature ‘oriented to addressee’ 
(3) within the addressee-oriented, promise, recommend have the feature ‘desirable’, threaten, warn have the feature ‘undesirable’. 
(4) offer, promise, recommend take direct participant (‘propose to give … to Receiver’; ‘propose that Receiver should obtain …’). 
(5) tell, warn take circumstance of Matter ‘about …’.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 265):
Processes are realised by verbal groups, where, typically, the only lexical material is the verb itself, functioning as Event (material action or event, conscious or verbal process, or relation). Apart from the adverbial complement of a phrasal verb, which may serve to construct a distinct lexical item e.g. make out (I can’t make out the difference), come to (she’ll come to in a minute), let on (don’t let on about this), &c., all contrasts made by the verbal group are grammatical ones — tense and other quasi-temporal systems, and modality. There is no lexical expansion classifying processes into taxonomies or assigning them sets of contrasting qualities.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Qualities

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 265):
Qualities are attached to things, and so contribute to this overall expansion [of participants]. They also have possibilities of expansion of their own, by submodification (at least for intensity, but sometimes along other lines as well: very long, dark blue, red hot).

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Potential Of Elements For Construing Experience: Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 265):
Participants are realised by nominal groups, which allow more or less indefinite expansion (through the univariate structure of modification). This expansion is the grammar’s way of constructing taxonomies of things: grouping them into classes, assigning properties to them, quantifying them and then uniquely identifying any individual thing, or any number, set or class of things in relation to the “here–&–now” of the speech event. the expansion involves open sets of things and qualities, realised by lexical items; but it can also capture a circumstance, realised by a prepositional phrase, or an entire figure, realised by a clause, and put it to use as a quality in describing or identifying such a thing or set of things, e.g. this unique 20-piece handpainted china dinner service with optional accessories never before offered for sale at such a bargain price.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Metaphorical Drift Toward “Thinginess”

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 264):
… the drift towards ‘thinginess’ is the culminating and most clearly articulated form of a shift which can be characterised in more general terms as a shift towards the experiential — towards that mode of construing experience that is most readily organised into paradigmatic sets and contrasts. Things are more easily taxonomised than qualities, qualities than processes, and processes more easily than circumstances or relations. Since the ‘noun-ness’ is being used to construe phenomena that start out as something else than a noun, metaphors will inevitably be abstract.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Two Predominant Motifs In Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 263-4):
It is possible to distinguish two predominant motifs in the phenomena characterised here: one major or primary and one minor or secondary one.
(i) The primary motif is clearly the drift towards ‘thing’.
(ii) The secondary motif is what appears as a tendency in the opposite direction: the move from ‘thing’ into what might be interpreted as a manifestation of ‘quality’ (qualifying, possessive or classifying expansions of the 'thing').

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Phylogenesis Of Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 263):
In the semantic construction of experience, ‘process’ and ‘participant’ emerge as prototypical categories […]. But as in any semiotic endeavour there are always some domains of uncertainty; are rain, wind, thunder processes or things? Are fear, worry, regret processes or qualities? Examples like these prevent the categories from being too reified and rigid, and provide a kind of gateway of analogy through which a phenomenon can drift or be propelled from one category to another.
In transcategorisation some other semantic feature triggers the propulsion; e.g. dark + make/become = darken, flake + like/composed of = flaky.  In metaphor, however, the phenomenon is reconstrued as another category; what is being exploited is the potential that arises — but only after the categories have first been construed as distinct; not otherwise — of treating every phenomenon in more ways than one. In this process the original interpretation is not supplanted; it is combined with the new one into a more complex whole.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Rank Shift, Class Shift & Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 259-60):
Rank shift is not inherently metaphorical. There is a parallel here between rank shift and class shift. In origin, both these could be described as metaphorical semogenic processes: a verb or adjective is metamorphosed into a noun (a shift of class, e.g. strong : strength, lose : loss), a clause is metamorphosed into a group (a shift of rank, e.g. they went bankrupt : their bankruptcy). But as a synchronic relation neither of these necessarily involves metaphor; there may be no systematic alternation such as there is between a metaphoric and a congruent form. We have already discussed non-metaphorical forms of class shift, under the heading of transcategorisation. […] Class shift becomes metaphorical when the “shifted” term creates a semantic junction with the original.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Effect Of Grammatical Metaphor On Semantic Relations

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 258):
The overall effect of the grammatical metaphor is that semantic relations between one element and another, and between one figure and another, become progressively less explicit as the degree of metaphoricity increases.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Syndromes Of Elemental Metaphors: Figure With Process => Figure With Process As Thing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 254-5):
Those illustrated here are variants of the figure => element syndrome, where only part of the figure is reconstrued as a participant…
(1) They surveyed the property => (They) did a survey of the property
(2) They started to survey the property => (They) started a survey of the property
(3) They discussed in the early afternoon => Their discussion took place (in the early afternoon)

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Syndromes Of Elemental Metaphors: Sequence => Figure

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 252-4):
Here the syndrome … occurs in a more general environment, that of construing a sequence on the model of a figure — grammatically, the sequence is construed not as a clause complex but as a clause.
they shredded the documents before they departed for the airport => they shredded the documents before their departure for the airport 
they shredded the documents before they departed for the airport => their shredding of the documents preceded their departure for the airport
These examples of a ‘sequence => figure’ metaphor both involve a sequence of the expansion type. However, this type of metaphoric shift also occurs with projection sequences; for example:
The colonel declared his innocence.
— where the congruent form would be a projection, either hypotactic or paratactic:
The colonel declared that he was innocent.
The colonel declared, “I am innocent”.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Syndromes Of Elemental Metaphors: Figure => Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 250-2):
Here a figure is being construed metaphorically on the model of a participant: grammatically, the figure is construed not as a clause but as a nominal group. There is a shift in rank from figure to element, and concomitantly a shift in status among the elements making up the construction.
he was arrested by the police => his arrest by the police 
(…) bond rapidly => rapid bonding occurs 
the group decided yesterday => yesterday’s decision by the group 
the accused appeared to be innocent => the apparent innocence of the accused 
he argues cogently => the cogency of his argument

Friday, 12 June 2015

Syndromes Of Elemental Metaphors: Types

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 250):
These syndromes of elemental metaphors fall into three general types, not very sharply distinct but worth using as a conceptual framework. The distinction relates to the rank where the metaphoric reconstrual takes place: (I) from figure to element, (II) from sequence to figure, (III) from figure with process to figure with process as thing.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Syntagmatic And Paradigmatic Aspects Of Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 249):
Syntagmatically, instances of grammatical metaphor typically occur not in isolation but in organic clusters or “syndromes”. Paradigmatically, there will typically be other wordings intermediate between an instance of grammatical metaphor and its “most congruent” agnate variant.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Verbal Group Complex And The Cline From Figure To Sequence

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 248):
Note that where the grammar has a simple verbal group, this construes a single ‘process’ element in the figure. Where the clause contains a verbal group complex, while this (congruently) still construes a single ‘process’ it is now somewhere along the cline towards a sequence of two figures. Thus: the government deregistered the union —> the government moved to deregister the union —> the government moved/acted (in order) to deregister the union.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Sequences: Taxis And Temporal & Causal Ordering

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 245):
A sequence is construed congruently by the grammar as a clause nexus joined by a conjunction. A nexus may be either paratactic or hypotactic. Where the sequence is construed paratactically, the preferred order is the iconic one; thus in the case of ‘time’ and ‘cause’, “precedent, then subsequent”, “cause, so effect”. The alternative causal sequence “effect, for cause” (as in I strove with none, for none was worth my strife) is rather infrequent; while the alternative temporal sequence apparently does not occur. 
(These relationships can of course be expressed cohesively — that is, without being construed as grammatical structures at all: I strove with none. The reason was that … .) 
Where the sequence is construed hypotactically, either order is possible: “after precedent, subsequent” / “subsequent, after precedent”; “because cause, effect” / “effect, because cause”. 
Note also “precedent, before subsequent” / “before subsequent, precedent”; “cause, so that effect” / “so that effect, cause” — where tying the relator to the ‘effect’ typically implies intentionality. … 
The reason for this disparity is that hypotaxis construes an order of its own — ordering in dependence; whereas in parataxis, the only ordering is that being imposed by the grammar on the experiential phenomena themselves.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Clusters Of Grammatical Metaphors: Syndromes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 244):
When we find grammatical metaphors in discourse, they nearly always cluster into what we are calling syndromes; these are typical clusterings of metaphorical effects among which there is some kind of interdependence (for example, in the government decided => the government’s decision, there is an obvious relationship between decide => decision, process as thing, and the government => the government’s, participant as possessor of the thing).

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Junctional Elements Vs Ordinary Elements

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 244):
Metaphoric elements […] are junctional in that they embody a junction of two semantic categories. In previous chapters, 3–5, we dealt just with elements that could be assigned to a single category: process, thing, quality &c. We shall refer to these as ‘ordinary’ elements, and contrast them with ‘junctional’ elements which are those that embody grammatical metaphor. Junctional elements will always have two categories in their description, e.g. ‘process thing’, ‘circumstantial quality’, ‘relator process’.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

How Did Junctional Elements Evolve?

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 243):
… it seems that meaning-making by transcategorising has evolved, through intermediate stages, into meaning-making by metaphorising; there is no sharp line between deriving a thing from a process, as ‘one who makes’, ‘that which is made’, and construing a process as a thing ‘making, creation’; with ‘action of making, act of making’ somewhere in between.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Grammatical Metaphor: Junctional Elements

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 243):
What is the status of such fictitious objects or pseudo-things? Unlike the other elements, which lose their original status in being transcategorised (for example shaker is no longer a process, even though it derives from shake), these elements do not: shakiness is still a quality, development is still a process — only they have been construed into things. They are thus a fusion, or ‘junction’, of two semantic elemental categories: shakiness is a ‘quality thing’, development is a ‘process thing’. All such junctional elements involve grammatical metaphor.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

From Transcategorising Lexemes To Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 243):
What for example would be the semantic interpretation of [the transcategorisations] shakiness, awakening, analysis, development?  Here we find ourselves using precisely the terms of our own metalanguage in the definition: ‘quality of being shaky’, ‘process of being awake, or causing to become awake’, ‘process of analysing, developing’. When this happens, it is a signal that a phenomenon of this other kind — quality or process — is being treated as if it was a thing. The grammar has constructed an imaginary or fictitious object, called shakiness, by transcategorising the quality shaky; similarly, by transcategorising the process develop it has created a pseudo-thing called development.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Transcategorisation: Shifting Lexemes From One Class To Another

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 242):
The phenomenon of transcategorising elements would seem to be a feature of the grammar of every language. This implies two things: (i) that each etymon belongs inherently to a major class; (ii) that at least some etymons can be transferred to another class — by some means, syntactic and/or morphological.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Interpersonal Significance Of Ideational Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 242):
But the interpersonal significance of grammatical metaphor is likely to be felt most clearly at the macroscopic level, in the overall pattern of interpersonal relationships, and the ideological orientation, that emerge over the course of a text.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Interpersonal Significance Of Ideational Metaphor: Negotiability

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 241-2):
In a similar way, phenomena in the ideation base also map onto constructs of interpersonal meaning. For example, a congruent figure maps onto a move in a dialogic exchange; it is enacted interpersonally as a proposition or a proposal. It follows that when phenomena are reconstrued metaphorically within the ideation base, there are also interpersonal consequences. For instance, the figure ‘atomic nucleus + absorb + energy’ can be enacted interpersonally as a proposition that is open to negotiation: The atomic nucleus absorbs energy — Does it? — Yes, it does — No, it can’t.   However, when this figure is reconstrued as the participant ‘absorption (+ of energy) (+ by atomic nucleus)’, it no longer has the potential for being enacted interpersonally as a proposition; rather, it would be taken for granted in discourse. You can’t argue with the absorption of energy by the nucleus since it is not enacted as an arguable proposition. Such interpersonal differences can have a powerful rhetorical effect in persuasive discourse. (There is an analogous effect with respect to proposals in regulatory discourse.)