Thursday, 31 December 2015

Transitivity Profile & Temporal Profile

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 468-9):
The two perspectives are not unrelated of course. As we shall see the specification of an element of transitivity structure may determine the temporal profile: the created Goal that constitutes the completion of the performance of the process (as in Mr. Blandings built a house), a Range that constitutes its finite scope (They sang two Hungarian folk songs), a destination that gives its spatio-temporal endpoint (He walked to the store), a resultative Attribute that constitutes the (qualitative) endstate (He was shot dead), and so on. But the mere presence of such an element is not sufficient to determine the temporal profile; it is also influenced by the ‘boundedness’ of the elements: are they in infinite supply or not — a definite number of units, or an indefinite number?  In general, then, the temporal profile is determined by other factors such as the presence, and the boundedness in quantity, of participants and circumstances.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Two Perspectives On A Process: Transitivity Profile Vs Temporal Profile

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 468):
… the two perspectives represent two different kinds of profile. One is the configuration of process, participants and circumstances — the transitivity profile; the other is the occurrence or unfolding of an event through time — the temporal profile.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

‘Temporal Instantiation’ Perspective On Processes: States vs Non-States

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 468):
The distinction most commonly drawn here is based on change. Is there change over time or not; i.e. is there a change in the course of the occurrence of the process? The most common dichotymy is state vs non-state (with terminological oppositions such as stative/dynamic)… . States and non-states have different temporal profiles. States are homogeneous; any time we check a process whose occurrence is a state, it will be the same. Non-states, or changes, are not homogeneous; during the course of the occurrence of a process something will have changed, for example the spatial location of a participant (as with processes of movement) or parts of a participant, or some other attribute of a participant (e.g. possession or location in a ‘quality space’ such as colour or temperature).

Monday, 28 December 2015

‘Temporal Instantiation’ Perspective On Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 468): 
In the temporal instantiation perspective, the issue is the occurrence of the process as an event located in time: how does it unfold through time, and what is its temporal profile? Here the relevant variables are such as the following:
1. Is the process homogeneous during its occurrence or does it decompose into a sequence of distinct phases (stages); is it a mini-tableau or a mini-drama?
2. Is the period of occurrence a relatively short interval, or is it an extended interval?
3. Is the whole period of occurrence in view or only a phase of it (e.g. beginning or end)?
4. Does the process tend to occur once or repeatedly? 
These questions lead to typologies that include terms like stative, dynamic, perfective, imperfective, punctiliar, iterative, and so on.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

‘Participant Organising’ Perspective On Processes: General Typological Considerations

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 467-8):
In the typology presented here as part of the ideation base, there are two very general considerations: 
1. process type: what kind of reality does the figure or process configuration pertain to (the material world, the world of consciousness, the world of symbolisation, the world of abstract relations)? 
2. agency: is the occurrence of the process (in conjunction with the medium) caused by an entity that is external to it (an agent)?

Saturday, 26 December 2015

‘Participant Organising’ Perspective On Processes: Nature Of The Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 467):
In the participant-organising perspective, it is the nature of the participants involved in the process that determines the different process types. Relevant variables include the following:
1. Is some participant created, brought into existence, by the process?
2. Is some participant restricted to conscious being?
3. Can some participant be a metathing as well as a thing?
4. Is the process directed towards some participant?
5. Does the process benefit some participant?
6. Does the process occur spontaneously or does it need an input of energy?
7. Does the process affect some participant materially or does it impinge on its consciousness?
8. Is the process symmetric?
9. Is the process reflexive?

Friday, 25 December 2015

Two Perspectives On A Process

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 466): 
… a process is both an organiser of participants and an event that is instantiable in time. These two perspectives lead to different criteria for establishing process typologies. … The two perspectives are associated with different grammatical units, the clause (for the participant organising perspective) and the verbal group (for the temporal instantiation).

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Syndromes Of Features

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 466):
… we have to keep in mind that we are dealing with a semantic system and not with a collection of unrelated items. … For example, if we recognise figures of saying … this goes together with certain other features: with the distinction between phenomena and metaphenomena, and between ideas and sayings, with the organisation of projections as sequences rather than figures, with the identification of symbol sources as a kind of participant, and with the recognition of circumstances of matter. In other words, we have to consider syndromes of features that occupy a region of semantic space.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Method Of Traditional Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 466):
A characteristic of work on grammatical semantics, where this has been based on linguistics or on natural language philosophy, is to move in at the lower ranks of the grammar rather than the higher ones, and to start with classes rather than with functions. This is a continuation of the method of traditional grammar, which (because it originated with the study of observable features of language) was word-oriented and leant heavily on word classes in its descriptive statements. We find this tendency in discussions of word classes and their semantic values — the issue of the proper interpretation of adjectives, the exploration of various verb types, and so on.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Two Versions Of The Intensive Relation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 461):
ascriptive intensive relations … represent a relation of inclusion … Identity and inclusion are two versions of the intensive relation: identity is the limiting case of inclusion and inclusion is partial identity.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Non-Ranged Ascriptive Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 460):
… although ascriptive relational processes are typically ranged, with the quality ascribed to the Carrier as the Attribute/Range, we find ascriptive non-ranged processes as well. For example … The problem matters … In a sense, the Attribute is incorporated into the Process ‘matter’ in the same way as the Means is incorporated into a verb such as hammer. This class of ascriptive processes includes matter, countsuffice and figure, and also an evaluative set, such as stink, suck, drip, reek. … these processes are clearly not material, as is shown by the unmarked tense selection …

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Two Transforming Transitivity Interpretations

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 455):
Both transforming interpretations can be seen as attempts to find a canonical logical form, either Subject – Copula – Predicate or Subject – Predicate, rather than have to operate with different forms. These two logical structurings correspond to relational and material models respectively:




Saturday, 19 December 2015

Three Different Transitivity Interpretations: Consequences For Word Class Assignments

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 453-4):
According to the first approach, verbs are really adjectives (their true shape is revealed in the adjectival participle), while the second approach assumes that adjectives are really verbs; they just happen to be superficially defective (in English) in that they cannot be inflected. The third approach aligns adjectives with ‘substantives’, but it still allows for two possibilities. They can be either treated as independent classes or they can be grouped together as nouns.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Three Different Transitivity Interpretations: iii. Material And Relational

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 453):
The third position accepts both the material process model and the relational process model without trying to interpret one in terms of the other. According to this model, Socrates is white is not primarily like Socrates ran but is more directly related to Socrates was a philosopher and, by an additional step, to Socrates was the teacher of Plato. In this model, nuclear processes are verbs and participants are nominals (substantival or adjectival).

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Three Different Transitivity Interpretations: ii. Relational As Material

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 453):
The second position is the reverse of the first in terms of the distribution of the nuclear process and participants. A relational process is interpreted on the model of a material one; the attribute (participant) is interpreted as if it was a nuclear process. Thus, to continue with the same artificial examples, Socrates is white is analysed as ‘Socrates whited’. The copula is not interpreted as representing a process but is thought to be only a “bearer” of tense, person and number.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Three Different Transitivity Interpretations: i. Material As Relational

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 452-3):
According to the first position, a material nuclear process is interpreted as if it was a participant in a relational process. This gives a logical analysis of the form “Subject ‘be’ Predicate”: Socrates ran is analysed as “Subject: ‘Socrates’ ‘be’ Predicate: ‘running’”. In terms of grammatical classes, a verb is a copula plus an adjective.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Attributive Relation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 450):

More generally, the Medium is related as a member of a set, which is defined either by a quality or by a class.  The relation is a composite of the participants (the Carrier and the Attribute) and the nuclear relation.  The nuclear relation is not necessarily a state; it can be either a being or a becoming, both of which are located in time, as are processes in general.  But its participants are static things; the Carrier is an individual or class, and the Attribute is a lasting quality or a wider class.  The Attribute of the relation of becoming applies to the Carrier in the final state of the becoming: it is a resultative Attribute.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Process Type & Temporal Sequence

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 450):
Material processes lend themselves naturally to sequential ordering in time; this is much less a feature of other process types.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Traditional vs Functional Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 448):
The problem of classifying qualities is often approached grammatically as a question of word classification: are adjectives funny verbs, funny nouns, or a completely distinct word class? All three questions have been asked, and all three answered in the affirmative. The questions themselves reflect one of the biases of traditional grammar: it is based on words. Our approach is a functional one, which does not start with word classes taken out of context; … Semantically, the relevant question is how a figure is organised in English. This allows us to look at qualities ‘from above’, keeping their semantic environment in view.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Evolving Registers

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 448):
… new registers were always evolving, some of them as part of the ongoing reconstruction of experience in the form of systematic knowledge and experimental science.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Reasons For Rejecting The Belief Of Language As Distortion

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 447):
In rejecting both these views of language as distortion, we are not propounding an alternative version according to which language is a perfect match. What is wrong with all such conceptions is that they misconstrue the nature of a semiotic system — the fundamental relation of realisation to which we are always having to return. A semiotic system is not some kind of outer garment which may either reveal or conceal what is beneath. Rather, it is a transformation of experience into meanings, and each stratum within the system is construed by, and construes, all the rest. A “language”, in this sense, may be artificially constructed or engineered, like a scientific theory or a logic; but all such semiotics are ultimately related to natural language, and natural language is still an accomplice in their overall construction of reality.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 465):
… if you treat language as distortion, you end up distorting language.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Stratal Slippage

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 447n):
In terms of our model of a stratified metalanguage, we can see that taking the categories of predicate logic (or any other logical systems) to be linguistic ones constitutes a stratal slippage: categories from the level of representation in the metalanguage are imported into the theoretical account of the object language.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Outcome Of The Belief That Lexicogrammar (Syntax) Distorts Semantics

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 446):
Such analyses were often supported by universalist arguments such as “negation is a verb in certain languages, so it is reasonable to claim that it really is a verb in all”. … they tend to make deep structure, the ‘real’ structure, look like predicate logic. Surface structure came out looking like a (transformationally) twisted version of logical structures. But predicate logic had been derived from one particular area of the grammar, a simplified version of the experiential aspect of the clause; it could be used as an idealised model of certain types of figure, for the purpose of explicit rule-based reasoning, but it was not intended to be a tool for analysing the entire semantic structure of a natural language. This view has largely been abandoned and the notion of a semantically irresponsible surface structure is no longer generally held.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Belief That Lexicogrammar (Syntax) Distorts Semantics

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 446):
The view that syntax distorts semantics implies that the relation of grammar to meaning is indirect and arbitrary. This view became tenable in modern linguistics, where meaning was either excluded from its scope altogether, as among structural linguists in the U.S., or, with Chomsky, kept at a distance by the metaphor of deep and surface structure in the syntax, only the former being semantically responsible. This paved the way for a number of analyses on the model of ‘surface x is really deep y’.  We find suggestions such as the following: adjectives are really verbs (e.g. Chafe, 1970), nouns are really verbs (cf. bach 1968), pronouns are really articles (Postal, 1966), negation is really a [higher] verb, tense is really a [higher] verb (cf. Huddleston, 1969), auxiliaries are really full verbs, verbal group complexes are really reductions of embedded clauses, moods are really separate clauses of saying, and so on.

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Belief That Language Distorts (Thinking About) Reality

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 446):
The same view of language as distortion is frequently to be met with when language is contained within a model of communication, where a common motif is that language is a vehicle for lying, or at least for concealing the truth. One might surmise that, if language is defined in communicational terms, as a means of transmitting information — especially if this is combined with a semantics based on considerations of truth — then this is how it is likely to appear.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Belief That Language Is A “Clothing” For “Naked Ideas"

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 445-6):
The same attitude continues to prevail in ways people talk about language in our own time. It dominated much of the early work on machine translation in the 1950s and 1960s; the task of the analysis was seen to be that of stripping the underlying ideas of their linguistic disguise (Firth, 1956, referred scathingly to current formulations according to which language was a “clothing” for “naked ideas”). When the “interlingua” model was proposed, many of those working in the field regarded it not as a construction of meaning that would be a compromise among different linguistic systems but as a language-free representation of concepts and conceptual structures (cf. Schank’s conceptual dependency), very much in the 17th century tradition.

Blogger Comment:

It was Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) who said:
Language is the dress of thought, 
though he also said:
Words are but the signs of ideas.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Belief That Language Distorts (Thinking About) Reality

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 445):
This belief in the distorting effect of language was propounded by the early European humanists, who held that mediæval scholars had focussed too strongly on language, whereas the real task of the scientist was to see through the verbal disguise and penetrate the reality underneath (for example, Francis Bacon’s well-known warnings against the seductive power of natural language). Natural languages were considered to be inadequate vehicles for the new scientific knowledge; hence it was necessary to construct artificial languages to record, transmit and extend it. These artificial languages would, it was thought, be more in harmony with the objective world of experience.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Belief That There Is A Mismatch Between Language And Thought

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 444):
The view that language distorts the picture of reality, and that there is a mismatch between language and thought, is reflected [in] the opposition of “deep” and “surface” as these figured in a prominent approach to text generation. In this model, “deep generation” is concerned with thinking what to say (the thoughts “behind” the words) and “surface generation” with how to say it.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Belief That Language Deceives: Extra-Linguistic Vs Intra-Linguistic

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 444):
There are two somewhat distinct versions of this belief. The first is the notion that language distorts reality — or, as a variant of this, that language distorts our thinking (which includes our thinking about reality). This is extra-linguistic deception: language is deceiving us by the way it represents something else. The second is the notion that syntax distorts semantics. This is intra-linguistic deception: language is deceiving us by the way one part of it represents another part.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Belief That Language Distorts Our Awareness Of Reality

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 444):
Attempts to create an ontology without reference to language in general, or without reference to lexicogrammar in particular, seem to derive from the belief, familiar in the history of Western thinking, that language comes between us and a ‘real’ or scientific understanding of the world, that it somehow distorts our awareness of reality.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Scientific And Metaphysical Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 444):
It might be objected that this view leaves no room for scientific or metaphysical models — for example, that we do not allow for the possibility that science has advanced our understanding of the world.  This objection would be misplaced: such models are construed in the ideation base as domain models within the overall meaning potential.