Monday, 30 November 2015

The Central Integrative Rôle Of Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 444):
Here let us just reiterate our view that all of our experience is construed as meaning. Language is the primary semiotic system for transforming experience into meaning; and it is the only semiotic system whose meaning base can serve to transform meanings construed in other systems (including perceptual ones) and thus integrate our experience from all its various sources.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Frame Of Reference For Participant & Circumstance Rôles

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 443):
Our own approach is also language–based: participant rôles and circumstance rôles in the figures are based on intra-semantic considerations (e.g. the transphenomenal types of projection and expansion) and on inter-stratal considerations from below, from lexicogrammar.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Contextual Considerations In Modelling Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 442):
Although it has not been part of the central argument about particular distinctions in the meaning base, we have also referred to the relationship between semantics and context. Just as the meaning base has to be accountable lexicogrammatically, it also has to be accountable contextually. In our discussion, we emphasised register or functional variation as one of the keys to the relationship between semantics and context.

Blogger Note:

Don't repeat the sloppy mistake that incautious readers have made.  This does not equate context with register.  Registers are the varieties of linguistic content (semantics and lexicogrammar) that realise varieties of context (situation types).

Friday, 27 November 2015

Lexicogrammatical Considerations In Modelling Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 441-2):
Throughout our discussion of the organisation of the meaning base, we have made reference both to intra-stratal considerations (such as patterns of agnation and the transphenomenal types that emerged in the course of our exploration) and to inter-stratal considerations. With respect to the latter, we have foregrounded considerations ‘from below’, from the stratum of lexicogrammar. There were two main reasons for this: on the one hand, the meaning base has to be realised in worded texts and the statements of realisation will be simpler if the resources of wording are part of the picture from the start; on the other hand, the relationship between meaning and wording, between the system of semantics and that of lexicogrammar, is a natural one: they are both strata of the content.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Modelling The Relation Of Semiotic To Material Systems

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 439):
…this does not mean that, from our standpoint, it does not make sense to model the steps that relate semiotic systems to material ones.  It does; but the relationship has to be modelled in such a way that we can show how people as biological organisms and socio-semiotic persons interact with their material environment.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Different Approaches To Meaning As Complementary Perspectives

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 439):
Looked at from the standpoint of a stratal interpretation of language, these different approaches are not so much mutually exclusive alternatives — as they have often been thought to be — as complementary perspectives on meaning: they focus on different aspects of the stratum of semantics — its internal organisation or its interfaces to other systems, linguistic, conceptual or physical.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Stratal Perspectives On Meaning: Extra-Stratal (Relation Between Language And Non-Semiotic Systems)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 438-9):
a theory may focus on how language in general and semantics in particular relate to systems of other kinds, i.e. to non-semiotic systems. We have already discussed the way in which this focus has been built into transcendent approaches to meaning, where meaning is ‘exported’ into the realms of the material world or the mind.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Stratal Perspectives On Meaning: Inter-Stratal: Downwards (Semantics In Relation To Lexicogrammar)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 437-8): 

the interface between semantics and lexicogrammar is internal to language and has received far more attention in studies of meaning from all standpoints than has the interface between semantics and context.  In the logical-philosophical approach, within generative linguistics, interpretive semantics has focussed on the question of how semantic representations can be derived from below, from syntactic ones; and an important aspect of the debate in the late 60s and early 70s was precisely concerned with the directionality of interstratal mappings and the nature of the interstratal boundary One key question that emerged, particularly in the 1970s and early 1980s, was whether syntax is autonomous or not.  In the standard Chomskyan theory it was; but this was rejected by Montague and those who were influenced by his idea of building syntactic and semantic specifications “in tandem” (as in the successive developments of GPSG and HPSG).  Within the rhetorical-ethnographic approach, we have taken the position that not only is lexicogrammar not autonomous, but it is natural in relation to semantics: our approach to the ideation base rests on this theoretical assumption.  This is what explains the further possibility of grammatical metaphor, opened up at the interface between semantics and lexicogrammar.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Stratal Perspectives On Meaning: Inter-Stratal: Upwards (Semantics In Relation To Context)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 437):
the question of how meaning relates upwards to context is foregrounded in rhetorical-ethnographic approaches rather than in logical-philosophical ones. We discussed the contextual perspective on meaning… focussing on the relation between differences in contextual settings of field, tenor and mode, and on registerial variation in meaning.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Stratal Perspectives On Meaning: Inter-Stratal

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 437):
a theory may focus on the stratal interfaces of the semantic stratum — how meaning relates upwards to context (according to our approach) and how it relates downwards to lexicogrammar.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Stratal Perspectives On Meaning: Intra-Stratal (Internal Organisation Of Semantics)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 437):
a theory of meaning may focus on the organisation of meaning itself using some framework for describing sense relations — e.g. the paradigmatic organisation of the meaning potential as in our present work; the dimensions of semantic agnation, as in (classical) componential analysis; the syntagmatic decomposition of senses as in Katz & Fodor’s theory, in interpretive semantics and in generative semantics.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Theoretical Advantage Of Modelling Knowledge As Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 429):
… for us [Fawcett's extralinguistic] “knowledge of the universe” is construed as meaning rather than as knowledge. This meaning is in the first instance created in language; but we have noted that meaning is created in other semiotic systems as well, both other social-semiotic systems and other semiotic systems such as perception. Our account gives language more of a central integrative rôle in the overall system. It is the one semiotic system which is able to construe meanings from semiotic systems in general.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

How Fawcett’s Derived Model Differs From Halliday’s Original Model: Extralinguistic Knowledge

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 429):
In Fawcett's model, the semantics is separate from the "knowledge of the universe", with the latter as a "component" outside the linguistic system including "long term memory" and "short term sort of knowledge".

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Theoretical Advantage Of Two System–Structure Cycles

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 429):
… grammatical metaphor is a central reason in our account for treating axis and stratification as independent dimensions, so that we have both semantic systems and structures and lexicogrammatical systems and structures. Since we [unlike Fawcett] allow for a stratification of content systems into semantics and lexicogrammar, we are in a stronger position to construe knowledge in terms of meaning. That is, the semantics can become more powerful and extensive if the lexicogrammar includes systems.

Monday, 16 November 2015

How Fawcett’s Derived Model Differs From Halliday’s Original Model: System–Structure Cycles

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 429):
In Fawcett’s model, there is only one system–structure cycle within the content plane: systems are interpreted as the semantics, linked through a “realisational component” to [content] form, which includes items and syntax, the latter being modelled structurally but not systemically; […] in our model there are two system-structure cycles, one in the semantics and one in the lexicogrammar. Terms in semantic systems are realised in semantic structures; and semantic systems and structures are in turn realised in lexicogrammatical ones.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Lakoff Compared To SFL

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 428):
… while our view that the ideational semantic system construes human experience is similar to what Lakoff calls the position of “experientialist cognition” (the position he has himself espoused, in contrast to what he calls “objectivist cognition”), it differs in that for us construing experience is an intersubjective process. It is both semiotic (the construction of meaning) and social (as in Peter Berger’s “social construction of reality”). It is the intersection of these two perspectives that characterises the social semiotic we are attempting to present in this book.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Jackendoff Compared To SFL

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 428):
Jackendoff views information about the projected world in conceptual terms; hence reality construction is seen as a process taking place within the consciousness of the individual. Our own view, that the projected world is a semantic construction, foregrounds the interpersonal perspective: meaning is construed in collaboration. Meanings are exchanged; and the “projected world” is constantly calibrated against the interpersonal negotiation of meaning. … The semantic system (as part of the linguistic system) is shared; it is part of our social being.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Reality Interpretation Is A Semiotic Process

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 423-4):
We also [like Jackendoff and Lakoff] have emphasised that reality is not something that is given to us; we have to construct an interpretation of it — or, as we prefer to put it, we have to construe our experienceInterpretation is a semiotic process, and our interpretation takes into account not only the concrete natural world but also the socio-cultural realm that is brought into existence as a semiotic construct

Thursday, 12 November 2015

‘Model Theoretic’ Semantics

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 421):
This approach to meaning is objectivist: (extensional) meanings are phenomena existing in the world. There are no meaners construing meanings, and there is no perceptual system mediating between semiotic expressions and their extensions.  Truth is a matter of correspondence, not (as in everyday discourse) a question of consensus among people.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Semantic Organisation In The Logico–Philosophical Tradition

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 417-8):
In the logico-philosophical orientation, scholars have focussed on syntagmatic organisation: they have been concerned with semantic structure — including principles relating to structure such as those of compositionality and semantic decomposition.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Metafunctional Scope Of The Logico–Philosophical Tradition

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 417):
In the logico-philosophical orientation, meaning is closely associated with representation, reference, denotation, extension or ‘aboutness’, so the metafunctional scope is restricted to the ideational metafunction: semantics means ideational semantics. … If interpersonal and textual meanings are dealt with by logico-philosophical accounts (they are often outside their scope), they are handled under the heading of pragmatics rather than the heading of semantics. For example, speech act theory was developed as a logico-philosophical interpretation of speech function (or rather its ideational construal) and has come to be included in pragmatics.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Basic Unit Of Meaning In Western Traditions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 417):
In the logico-philosophical orientation, the basic unit tends to be determined “from below”, from grammar: since sentences are seen as propositions, the basic unit of semantics is the proposition (as in propositional calculus). In contrast, in the rhetorical-ethnographic orientation, the basic unit tends to be determined “from above”, from context: since language is seen as functioning in context, the basic unit of semantic[s] is the text (see Halliday & Hasan 1976; Halliday 1978). So in the logico-philosophical orientation, semantics means in the first instance propositional semantics, whereas in the other orientation it means text or discourse semantics.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The 'Meaning As Transcendent' Tradition: World-Oriented Vs Mind-Oriented Views

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 416-7): 
The modern split within the "transcendent" view is between what Barwise (1988:23) calls the world-oriented tradition and the mind-oriented tradition, which he interprets as public vs. private accounts of meaning… .  The world-oriented tradition [e.g. formal semantics] interprets meaning by reference to (models of) the world; for example, the meaning of a proper noun would be an individual in the world… . The mind-oriented tradition [e.g. cognitive semantics] interprets meaning by reference to the mind; typically semantics is interpreted as that part of the cognitive system that can be “verbalised”.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Meaning Seen As Transcendent

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 416):
Many traditional notions of meaning are of the [‘transcendent’] kind — meaning as reference, meaning as idea or concept, meaning as image. These notions have in common that they are ‘external’ conceptions of meaning; instead of accounting for meaning in terms of a stratum within language, they interpret it in terms of some system outside language, either the ‘real’ world or another semiotic system such as that of imagery.

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Location Of Meaning In Western Traditions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 416):
… the [two Western] orientations [towards meaning] differ with respect to where they locate meaning in relation to the stratal interpretation of language:
(i) intra-stratal: meaning is seen as immanent — something that is constructed in, and so is part of, language itself. The immanent interpretation of meaning is characteristic of the rhetorical–ethnographic orientation, including our approach. 
(ii) extra-stratal: meaning is seen as transcendent — something that lies outside the limits of language.  The transcendent interpretation of meaning is characteristic of the logico–philosophical orientation.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Orientations Towards Meaning In Western Traditions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 416):
We can identify two main traditions in Western thinking about meaning (see Halliday 1977): 
(i) one oriented towards logic and philosophy, with language seen as a system of rules;
(ii) one oriented towards rhetoric and ethnography, with language seen as resource.
… Our own work here falls mainly within the second tradition — but we have taken account of the first tradition, and the general intellectual environment in which versions of our meaning base are being used also derives primarily from the first tradition. Indeed the two traditions can in many respects be seen as complementary, as contributing different aspects to the overall picture. Our own foundation, however, is functional.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Evolved Vs Designed Semiotic Systems

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 413):
We have already seen that the textual metafunction is a powerful part of the explanation of ideational metaphor: ideational meaning is reconstrued in such a way that it suits textual organisation when meanings are being distributed in text. This is an area where the evolved system of English and designed systems such as logics differ sharply: the latter are not designed to construe textual differences and instead place a high value on canonical forms.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Ideation Base & Text Base

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 412-3):
It is clear, then, that the ideation base supports the text base: textual information can be stated as patterns over the [ideation] base — partitions, and moves between partitions. At the same time, it is also very clear that the way the ideation base is organised — the various configurations that have evolved — must have been shaped by textual pressure. So, for instance, given that a relationship could be construed either as ‘that boy’s hair is green’ or ‘that boy has green hair’, the preference in English for the construal where the whole is Carrier and the part is Attribute can be understood in textual terms: it means that the whole can serve as Theme.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Transitions Between Textual States: Method Of Development

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 410):
Bateman & Matthiessen (1993) suggest that Rhetorical Structure Theory can be used to model transitions from one textual state to another. These rhetorical transitions constitute the method of development of a text (see Fries, 1981, 1995 for the relationship between Theme and method of development).

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Modelling The Guided Transitions Between Different Textual States: Stacks

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 409):
As a discourse develops, focus spaces are stacked one on top of another so that the most recent is always on top of the stack. The stack itself can thus be used [as] a record of progression through discourse time. Now the stack is always manipulated from the top: if a new focus space is to be added to the stack, it is pushed onto the top of the stack; and if an old one is to be removed, it is popped off the top of the stack.