Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Ideational Metaphor And The Reification Of Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 547):
But it [grammatical metaphor] shaped it [our humanist world] in a way which soon came to be felt as decidedly inhuman. Already at the end of the eighteenth century, within a hundred years of Newton's "Opticks", people were reacting against the rigidity of the world of physics; what they could not accept were the ideological constraints set up by scientific discourse, by a grammar which construed all experience in terms of things. In our own twentieth century the scientists themselves have become weary of it, finding that it prevents them from engaging with the indeterminacy and the flow that they now regard as fundamental — let alone with the concept of the universe as conscious and communicating, as something itself to be interpreted as a semiotic system–&–process. Once we conceive of reality in semiotic terms, it can no longer surprise us that language has the power to construe it, maintain it, and transform it into something else.