Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Existent & Existential-Material Topology

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 309):
The entity or event which is said to exist is labelled, simply, Existent.  In principle, there can ‘exist’ any kind of phenomenon that can be construed as a ‘thing’: person, object, institution, abstraction; 
but also any action or event, as in is there going to be a storm?, there was another robbery in the streetAnd here the ‘existential’ merges into the ‘material’ type of clause: there is little difference in meaning between ‘existential’ there was a robbery and ‘material: creative’ a robbery took place (note the present tense a robbery is taking place).

Monday, 30 July 2018

Existential Clause Complexes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 309):
Another common way of ‘locating’ the process in space–time is to follow it with a non-finite clause, e.g. there was an old woman tossed up in a basket, there’s someone waiting at the door, there’s a patient to see you; the two together form a clause complex.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Existential Clauses Without Subjects

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 309):
Frequently an ‘existential’ clause contains a distinct circumstantial element of time or place … If the circumstantial element is thematic, the Subject there may be omitted — but it will turn up if there is a tag: on the wall (there) was a Picasso painting, wasn’t there?

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Existential Clauses: Verbs

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 309, 310):
‘Existential’ clauses typically have the verb be; in this respect also they resemble ‘relational’ clauses. But the other verbs that commonly occur are mainly different from either the ‘attributive’ or the ‘identifying’: see Table 5-26. …

Friday, 27 July 2018

Existential 'There' vs Circumstantial 'There' [Diagnostic]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 309):
Phonologically there is non-salient, and the vowel is often reduced to schwa (hence identical with the); it is thus distinct from the Adjunct there which is a circumstantial element. Contrast (i) existential there’s your father on the line, with reduced there [ðə] as Subject, and response Oh, is there?, and (ii) circumstantial relational there’s your father, with salient there [ðɛə] as Adjunct, and response Oh, is he? In (ii), but not in (i), there’s is in contrast with here’s.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Existential ‘There’: Experiential & Interpersonal Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 308):
The word there in such clauses is neither a participant nor a circumstance — it has no representational function in the transitivity structure of the clause; but it serves to indicate the feature of existence, and it is needed interpersonally as a Subject. Unlike participants and circumstances this existential there cannot be queried, theme–predicated or theme–identified

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Existential ‘There’: Textual Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 308):
Textually the Theme is just the feature of existence (there), allowing the addressee to prepare for something that is about to be introduced; and this something is presented as New information.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Aspects Of Experience Of Speech Events Lexicalised In Verbs Of Saying

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 307):
As the different types [of verbal process] in Table 5-25 illustrate, different aspects of our experience of speech events may be lexicalized in verbs of saying, including the speech function (e.g. ask, urge), the turn (e.g. reply, add), the medium (e.g. write), manner (e.g. enthuse, gush, rave) and the channel (e.g. email, phone). As technology is opening up new channels, new verbs are added to the resources of the ‘verbal’ lexicogrammar and are pressed into reporting or quoting service, e.g.:
‘Ruiz’s passing at 70 represents a tremendous loss for contemporary filmmaking,’ blogs Dave Kehr. 
He texted me back that Somer didn’t come home from school.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Targeting Verbal Processes: The Realisation Of The Source Of The Praise Or Blame

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 307):
Targeted verbal clauses are closer to the Actor + Goal structure of a ‘material’ clause (cf. what he did to Krishan Kant was accuse him). The source of praise, blame, etc. is construed either as a circumstance or as an enhancing hypotactic clause (e.g. of conspiring with Bansi Lal ...; for showing it) — but not as a projection.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Targeting Verbal Processes And Projected Quotes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 307n):
When verbs that serve in targeted verbal clauses occur in verbal clauses together with quotations, the participant construed as being addressed by the Sayer functions as Receiver rather than as Target: ‘Those are fine letters,’ I praised her.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Targeting Verbal Processes And Projected Reports

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 307):
Verbs that accept a Target do not easily project reported speech; but some aspect of the Sayer’s words may be quoted in the representation of the Target, of a circumstance of Cause or Role, or of an enhancing clause of reason for the judgement:
In June, Gates praised ‘the unprecedented cooperation between the nations of the gulf.’ 
Charles C Jones’s 1883 The History of Georgia praised Zubly as ‘learned and eloquent, public spirited, and of marked ability’ and described his early career as ‘consistent and patriotic.’

Friday, 20 July 2018

Target: The Participant That Is Acted Upon Verbally

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 307):
The Target occurs only in a sub-type of ‘verbal’ clause; this function construes the entity that is targeted by the process of saying, which may be a person, an object or an
abstraction; e.g.
He also accused Krishan Kant of conspiring with Bansi Lal in destabilising the set-up in Haryana who, in turn, issued a press statement saying that Devi Lal was suffering from ‘hallucinations’. 
I think there are serious problems in her work traceable to the writer’s distance, or lack of it, from all this; but she is rightly praised at least for showing it. 
Rather than criticise my teaching ability, he actually praised it.
Here the Sayer is, as it were, acting verbally on another party, judging them positively or negatively (cf. Martin & White, 2005, on appraisal of the judgement type).

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Two Types Of Verbiage: Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
The two types of Verbiage are not sharply distinct; in between (a) tell me your experience and (b) tell me a story is something such as tell me the truth, where the truth could be interpreted either as (a) ‘the events as they happened’ or as (b) ‘a narrative that is factual’.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Verbiage As The Name Of The Saying

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
[Verbiage] may be the name of the saying; for example a question in let me ask you a question, another word in now don’t you say another word! This type also occurs with very general verbs like give and make (as in ‘material’ clauses with Process + Scope), e.g. give the order, make a statement. The name of the saying includes speech functional categories such as question, statement, order, command – often with collocational constraints in relation to the lexical verb in the Process (ask + question, make + statement, give + order, issue + command, tell + lie) and generic categories such as story, fable, joke, report, summary. The name of a language can be construed as Verbiage, e.g. they were speaking Arabic; alternatively, this is construed circumstantially as Manner, e.g. they were speaking a few words in Arabic.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Verbal Processes That Project Proposals: Beneficiary

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306n):
Order, promise and other such processes can be construed with a Beneficiary.  With promise this Beneficiary is the Receiver of a ‘verbal’ clause, but with order this Beneficiary is more like the Client of a ‘material’ clause denoting the creation of goods or the performance of a service; for example: You felt alright on Friday ’cause you ordered yourself a nice big pizza (cf. you ordered a nice big pizza for yourself). Here the ‘Receiver’ would be represented like a circumstance: you ordered yourself a nice big pizza from the waiter.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Verbiage As The Content Of What Is Said

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
It may be the content of what is said; e.g. your family in But when people describe your family, they don’t talk about your nephews and nieces; … The Verbiage may construe the topic of what is said, as with describe your family above; as the following clause illustrates, this type of Verbiage is close in meaning to a circumstance of Matter (talk about your nephews and nieces). If the verbal process is one that projects goods-&-services rather than information, like order or promise, the Verbiage refers to these: e.g. a steak in I ordered a steak, those earrings in those earrings were promised to another customer.

Sunday, 15 July 2018


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
The Verbiage is the function that corresponds to what is said, representing it as a class of thing rather than a report or quote; e.g. what in What did you say?

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Receiver: Realisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
The Receiver is the one to whom the saying is directed … The Receiver may be Subject in a clause that is ‘receptive’ … The Receiver is realised by a nominal group typically denoting a conscious being (a potential speaker), a collective or an institution; the nominal group either occurs on its own or is marked by a preposition — almost always to but sometimes of.  The range of realisational possibilities depends on the lexical verb of the verbal group realising the Process …

Friday, 13 July 2018

Verbal Clauses: Distinctive Patterns

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
[Unlike ‘behavioural’ process clauses] ‘verbal’ process clauses do display distinctive patterns of their own. Besides being able to project … they accommodate three further participant functions in addition to the Sayer: (1) Receiver, (2) Verbiage, (3) Target. The first two of these are ‘oblique’ participants.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Behavioural Clauses: Not So Much A Distinct Process Type

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
… ‘behavioural’ process clauses are not so much a distinct type of process, but rather a cluster of small subtypes blending the material and the mental into a continuum …

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Verbal Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 306):
In certain respects, ‘verbal’ clauses are thus like ‘behavioural’ ones, exhibiting certain characteristics of other process types — tense like ‘material’ or ‘relational’, ability to project like ‘mental’.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

For Non-Conscious Sayers: Tense Like Relational Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 305):
However, the simple present also occurs in a more ‘relational’ sense of ‘expresses the opinion that’, as in She says she prefers cigarettes to fish.  And when the Sayer is realised by a nominal group denoting a symbol source other than a human speaker, the tense selection is more likely to be more like that of a ‘relational’ clause, as in the study says that such a diversified village structure produces a dualistic pattern of migration. Here the ‘present in’ is unlikely: the study is saying that ... would not occur.* While such clauses are still clearly ‘verbal’, they are closer to ‘relational’ clauses than are ‘verbal’ ones with a human speaker as Subject.

Blogger Comments:

* This is overstating the case, since the study is saying that ... could easily occur, especially in a spoken exchange where there is disagreement about what the study is saying.

Monday, 9 July 2018

For Conscious Sayers: Tense Like Material Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 305, 305n):
The verb may be unaccented as in a ‘relational’ clause or accented as in a ‘material’ one. The tense is also in a sense intermediate between that of ‘material’ clauses and that of ‘relational’ ones. When the Sayer is realised by a nominal group denoting a conscious speaker, the tense selection may be like that of a ‘material’ clause, with the simple present indicating habit or generalisation (i.e. an extended ‘now’) and the present in present indicating the narrower period of time; and the present in past often indicates simultaneity, just as it does with ‘material’ clauses. … The present can alternate with the past in conversational narratives just as it can with ‘material’ clauses …

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Verbs Of Saying

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 305):
The Process of a ‘verbal’ clause is realised by a verbal group where the lexical verb is one of saying: see Table 5-25.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Reported Locutions: Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 304):
The projected clause may be either (a) a proposition, realised by a finite clause, as in Mr Deshmukh said that some dissidents had met him and asked him whether they should vote according to their conscience or discretion; or (b) a proposal, realised by a perfective non-finite clause, as in Bush urges China to release crew; … The proposal may be expressed alternatively by a modulated finite clause: Yet somebody told me that I mustn’t repudiate my non-fiction …

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Phylogenesis Of Reported Locutions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 304):
In Old English, the structure was he said/thought that: he was not hungry, with that as a demonstrative in the ‘verbal’ or ‘mental’ clause ‘pointing’ to the clause representing the reported content of saying or sensing (see e.g. Hopper & Traugott, 1993). This demonstrative came to be reanalysed as a structural conjunction introducing the reported clause; but the reported clause itself remained outside the structure of the reporting clause – it has not been incorporated through downranking (in contrast with ‘fact’ clauses). Thus we would not expect to find such reported clauses serving as the Subject of a ‘receptive’ ‘verbal’ or ‘mental’ clause; for example, that he was not hungry was said/thought by him is highly unlikely.*

Blogger Comment:

* But note instances like It was said that Feynman played the bongos, where the projected clause looks like the embedded postposed Subject of was said.  Note also agnate instances like Feynman was said to have played the bongos.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Projected Clauses Vs Facts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 303-4):
The status of the reported and quoted clause is analogous to that of an ‘idea’ clause introduced by a ‘mental’ clause: it is … not rankshifted, and in this respect such clauses differ from rankshifted ‘fact’ clauses serving as the Phenomenon of a ‘mental’ clause.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Functional Status Of Quoted And Reported Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 303):
What about the function of  to keep quiet, it’s half past ten? In formal grammar what is said is treated as a ‘noun clause object of the verb say’, meaning a clause that is rankshifted by nominalisation. But functionally this clause is not rankshifted; it functions as the secondary clause in a ‘clause complex’, being either (a) directly quoted, as in (he said) ‘I’m hungry’, or (b) indirectly reported, as in (he said) he was hungry. This means that such sequences consist of two clauses. (Only the primary clause is a ‘verbal’ one, of course; the other may be a process type of any kind.)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Verbal Processes = Symbolic Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 303, 304):
‘Saying’ has to be interpreted in a rather broad sense; it covers any kind of symbolic exchange of meaning, like the notice tells you to keep quiet, or my watch says it’s half past ten. The grammatical function of … the notice, my watch is that of Sayer. 
… unlike ‘mental’ clauses, ‘verbal’ ones do not require a conscious participant. The Sayer can be anything that puts out a signal … In view of the nature of the ‘Sayer’, verbal processes might more appropriately be called ‘symbolic’ processes …

Monday, 2 July 2018

Behavioural Verbs Serving As Verbal Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 302):
… while ‘behavioural’ clauses do not ‘project’ indirect speech or thought, they often appear in fictional narrative introducing direct speech, as a means of attaching a behavioural feature to the verbal process of ‘saying’.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Behavioural Processes: The Anomalous Verb ‘Watch’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 302):
The verb watch is anomalous: in I’m watching you, the tense suggests a behavioural process but the you appears as a participant, like the Phenomenon of a ‘mental’ clause.  Since this is restricted to watch, we can label this participant as Phenomenon, indicating the ‘mental’ analogue.