Friday, 30 June 2017

Mood Element: Verbal And Nominal Components

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 145):
Finiteness combines the specification of polarity with the specification of either temporal or modal reference to the speech event. It constitutes the verbal component in the Mood. But there has to be also a nominal component; and this is the function of the Subject.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

'Not' — Finite Or Residue?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 145):
Note that some of the negative forms, such as mayn’t, are rather infrequent; if they occur in a negative clause, the negative is usually separated (may not, used not to). In such cases, the not can be analysed as part of the Residue; but it is important to note that this is an oversimplification — sometimes it belongs functionally with the Finite, for example
you may not leave before the end (‘are not allowed to’): not is part of Finite 
you may not stay right to the end (‘are allowed not to’): not is part of Residue

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Polarity [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
Finiteness is thus expressed by means of a verbal operator that is either temporal or modal. But there is one further feature that is an essential concomitant of finiteness, and that is polarity. This is the choice between positive and negative.  In order for something to be arguable, it has to be specified for polarity: either ‘is’ or ‘isn’t’ (proposition), either ‘do!’ or ‘don’t!’ (proposal).  Thus the Finite element, as well as expressing primary tense or modality, also realises either positive or negative polarity. Each of the operators appears in both positive and negative form: did/didn’t, can/can’t, and so on.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Commonality Of Primary Tense & Modality: Interpersonal Deixis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
What these have in common is interpersonal deixis: that is, they locate the exchange within the semantic space that is opened up between speaker and listener. With primary tense, the dimension is that of time: primary tense construes time interpersonally, as defined by what is ‘present’ to you and me at the time of saying. With modality the dimension is that of assessment: modality construes a region of uncertainty where I can express, or ask you to express, an assessment of the validity of what is being said.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Modality [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
Modality means likely or unlikely (if a proposition), desirable or undesirable (if a proposal).  A proposition or proposal may become arguable through being assessed in terms of the degree of probability or obligation that is associated with it.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Primary Tense [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
Primary tense means past, present or future at the moment of speaking; it is time relative to ‘now’. A proposition may become arguable through being located in time by reference to the speech event. (There is no primary tense in proposals; cross the road! doesn’t embody a choice of past, present or future relative to the now of speaking.)

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Function Of The Finite Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
The Finite element, as its name implies, has the function of making the proposition finite. That is to say, it circumscribes it; it brings the proposition down to earth, so that it is something that can be argued about. A good way to make something arguable is to give it a point of reference in the here and now; and this is what the Finite does. It relates the proposition to its context in the speech event
This can be done in one of two ways. One is by reference to the time of speaking; the other is by reference to the judgement of the speaker. An example of the first is was in an old man was crossing the road; of the second, can’t in it can’t be true. In grammatical terms, the first is primary tense, the second is modality.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Structural Realisations Of Indicative Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
(1) The presence of the Mood element, consisting of Subject plus Finite, realises the feature ‘indicative’.
 (2) Within the indicative, what is significant is the order of Subject and Finite:
(a) the order Subject before Finite realises ‘declarative’;
(b) the order Finite before Subject realises ‘yes/no interrogative’;
(c) in a ‘WH- interrogative’ the order is:
(i) Subject before Finite if the WH- element is the Subject;
(ii) Finite before Subject otherwise.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The General Principle Behind The Expression Of Clause Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
The general principle behind the expression of MOOD in the clause is as follows. The grammatical category that is characteristically used to exchange information is the indicative; within the category of indicative, the characteristic expression of a statement is the declarative, that of a question is the interrogative; and within the category of interrogative, there is a further distinction between yes-no interrogative, for polar questions, and WH- interrogative, for content questions.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Subjunctive Mode

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
Note that the system of MOOD is a system of the clause, not of the verbal group or of the verb. Many languages also have an interpersonal system of the verb(al group) that has been referred to as ‘mood’: it involves interpersonal contrasts such as indicative/subjunctive, indicative/subjunctive/optative. To distinguish these verbal contrasts from the clausal system of MOOD, we can refer to them as contrasts in mode. The subjunctive mode tends to be restricted to the environment of bound clauses — in particular, reported clauses and conditional clauses having the sense of irrealis. In Modern English, the subjunctive mode of the verb is marginal, although there is some dialectal variation.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Interpersonal Elements In Neither Mood Nor Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
The combination of Mood plus Residue embody the proposition or proposal of the clause (with the Mood element as the key to the distinction between the two); but, as we shall see below, there are certain interpersonal elements of the clause that do not belong to either the Mood element or the Residue: the Vocative, and comment and conjunctive Adjuncts. These relate to, but are not part of the proposition/proposal enacted by the clause.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Why The Residue Is Not Labelled 'Proposition'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
The remainder of the clause we shall call the Residue. It has sometimes been labelled ‘Proposition’, but this term is also not very appropriate; partly because, as has been mentioned, the concept of proposition applies only to the exchange of information, not to the exchange of goods-&-services, and partly because, even in the exchange of information, if anything it is the Mood element that embodies the proposition rather than the remainder of the clause.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mood Element vs MOOD System

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142n):
Note the distinction in capitalisation between ‘Mood’ as the name of an element of the interpersonal structure of the clause (Mood + Residue) and ‘MOOD’ as the name of the primary interpersonal system of the clause — the grammaticalisation of the semantic system of SPEECH FUNCTION. This follows the general convention whereby names of structural functions are spelt with an initial capital and names of systems with all small caps or upper case.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Mood Element Realises The Selection Of Clause Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142):
Subject and Finite are closely linked together, and combine to form one constituent which we call the Mood.  The Mood is the element that realises the selection of mood in the clause; and it is also the domain of agreement between Subject and Finite.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Subjects Not Traditionally Regarded As Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142):
Note that [this way of identifying Subject] does bring in certain things that are not traditionally regarded as Subject: not only it in it’s raining but also there in there’s trouble in the shed, both of which function as Subject in Modern English.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How To Identify The Subject Of A Declarative Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 141):
The Subject, in a declarative clause, is that element which is picked up by the pronoun in the tag. So in order to locate the Subject, add a tag (if one is not already present) and see which element is taken up. … This is not the functional definition of the Subject; it is the way to identify it.

Blogger Comment:

Blessed are the meek, aren't they?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Mistaken Notion Of Subject As “Purely Syntactic”

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 141):
… the term ‘Subject’ as we are using it corresponds to the ‘grammatical Subject’ of earlier terminology; but it is being reinterpreted here in functional terms.  The Subject is not a purely formal category; like other grammatical functions it is semantic in origin.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 149-50):
The notion of the Subject as a ‘purely syntactic’ element arose because it proved difficult to understand Subject + Predicate in an account of the grammar that recognised only the ideational kind of meaning; once we open up the other metafunctional spaces, just as Theme comes powerfully into the picture, so Subject becomes (equally powerful but) less mysterious.

Blogger Comment:

The notion of Subject as a syntactic category is maintained in the Cardiff Grammar.  See here for some of Fawcett's misunderstandings of Systemic Functional Theory in the Cardiff Grammar.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Finite In 'Fused' Tense Forms

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
These ‘fused’ tense forms are in fact the two most common forms of the English verb. When one of these occurs, the Finite did, do(es) will then make its appearance in the subsequent tags and responses, e.g. He gave it away, didn’t he? Yes, he did. But it is already lurking in the verb as a systemic feature ‘past’ or ‘present’, and is explicit in the negative and contrastive forms (e.g. He didn’t give it away; He did give it away).

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Finite Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
The Finite element is one of a small number of verbal operators expressing tense (e.g. is, has) or modality (e.g. can, must)… . Note, however, that in some instances the Finite element and the lexical verb are ‘fused’ into a single word, e.g. loves. This happens when the verb is in simple past or simple present (tense), active (voice), positive (polarity) and neutral (contrast): we say gave, not did give; give(s) not do(es) give.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Realisation Of Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
The Subject, when it first appears, may be any nominal group. If it is a personal pronoun, like he, it is simply repeated each time. If it is anything else, like the duke, then after the first occurrence it is replaced by the personal pronoun corresponding to it. … Nominal groups functioning as Subject include embedded, down-ranked clauses serving as Head… . In ‘circumstantial’ relational clauses, the Subject may be a prepositional phrase or an adverbial group.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Why The Mood Element Is Distinguished From The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139-40):
When we come to look closely at statements and questions, and at the various responses to which these naturally give rise, we find that in English they are typically expressed by means of a particular kind of grammatical variation: variation which extends over just one part of the clause, leaving the remainder unaffected. … one particular component of the clause is being, as it were, tossed back and forth in a series of rhetorical exchanges; this component carries the argument forward. Meanwhile the remainder … [can be] simply left out, being taken for granted as long as the discourse continues to require it. … 
What is the component that is being bandied about in this way? It is called the Mood element, and it consists of two parts: (1) the Subject, which is a nominal group, and (2) the Finite operator, which is part of a verbal group.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Semantic Functions Of A Clause As Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139):
The semantic function of a clause in the exchange of information is a proposition; the semantic function of a clause in the exchange of goods–&–services is a proposal.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Grammatical Resources For Speech Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139):
As a general rule languages do not develop special resources for offers and commands, because in these contexts language is functioning simply as a means towards achieving what are essentially non-linguistic ends. But they do develop grammatical resources for statements and questions, which not only constitute ends in themselves but also serve as a point of entry to a great variety of different rhetorical functions.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Proposals: Offers & Commands

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138-9):
Unlike statements and questions, these are not propositions; they cannot be affirmed or denied.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Propositions: Statements & Questions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
When language is used to exchange information, the clause takes on the form of a proposition. It becomes something that can be argued about – something that can be affirmed or denied, and also doubted, contradicted, insisted on, accepted with reservation, qualified, tempered, regretted, and so on.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Ontogenesis Of Exchanging Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
What is more significant, however, is that the whole concept of exchanging information is difficult for a young child to grasp. Goods–&–services are obvious enough: I want you to take what I am holding out, or to go on carrying me, or to pick up what I have just dropped; and although I may use language as a means of getting what I want, the requirement itself is not a linguistic commodity — it is something that arises independently of language.  Information, on the other hand, does not; it has no existence except in the form of language.  In statements and questions, language itself is the commodity that is being exchanged; and it is by no means simple for a child to internalise the principle that language is used for the purpose of exchanging language. He has no experience of ‘information’ except its manifestation in words.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Why Proposals Ontogenetically Precede Propositions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
It is not difficult to see why offering and requesting precede telling and asking when a child is first learning how to mean. Exchanging information is more complicated than exchanging goods–&–services, because in the former the listener is being asked not merely to listen and do something but also to act out a verbal role — to affirm or deny, or to supply a missing piece of information…

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Ontogenesis (& Phylogenesis) Of Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
Now, in the life history of an individual child, the exchange of goods–&–services, with language as the means, comes much earlier than the exchange of information: infants typically begin to use linguistic symbols to make commands and offers at about the age of nine months, whereas it may be as much as nine months to a year after that before they really learn to make statements and questions, going through various intermediate steps along the way.  It is quite likely that the same sequence of developments took place in the early evolution of language in the human race, although that is something we can never know for certain.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Function Of The Mood Tag

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 137-8):
In moving into the role of speaker, the listener has considerable discretion. Not only can he give any one of a wide range of different responses to a question, or carry out a command in different ways; he may refuse to answer the question altogether, or to provide the goods–&–services demanded. The speaker on his part has a way of forestalling this: he can add a (mood) tag, which is a reminder of what is expected, e.g. will you?, isn’t he?… 
This is the function of the tag at the end of the clause. It serves to signal explicitly that a response is required, and what sort of response it is expected to be.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Interpersonal Semantic System Of Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
These two variables [speech rôle and commodity], when taken together, define the four primary speech functions of offer, command, statement and question. These, in turn, are matched by a set of desired responses: accepting an offer, carrying out a command, acknowledging a statement and answering a question.