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.

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.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Thematic Spaces & Semogenesis

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 407):
The speaker thus selects ‘thematic spaces’ as points of entry into larger regions of the ideational semantic network. From the listener’s point of view, these thematic spaces constitute indications of where to integrate the new information being presented in the text… . If we think of the listener’s processing of a text as being partly a matter of expanding his or her current semantic network with new information, the thematic spaces guide him/her to appropriate expansion points.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Thematic Spaces In An Ideational Semantic Network

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 407):
Thematic spaces in an ideational semantic network can be seen as a model of the systemic understanding of Theme and method of development articulated by Martin, where [Martin’s] “field” corresponds to what has been discussed here in terms of ideational semantic networks in the ideation base.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

How Information In The Text Base Can Be Modelled

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 406-7):
(i) The second-order character of textual information is captured by defining it in terms of the already existing semantic network in the ideation base (the first-order representation…). This is clearly only a first approximation… the textual metafunction may in fact motivate ideational metaphor as a means of ‘carrying’ textual organisation. 
(ii) Textual prominences constituting textual statuses can then be modelled as partitioned textual spaces of the semantic network. … This is also only a first approximation: textual prominence is a matter of degree and we need to think of a textual space not as a clearly bounded region but rather as a central region, the peak of prominence, from which one can move to more peripheral regions, the troughs of non-prominence. Such gradience is necessary not only to deal with degrees of thematicity and newsworthiness but also to handle identifiability by ‘bridging’…

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Text Base As Patterns Stated Over The Ideation Base

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 403):
The principle of the deployment of ideational metaphor by the textual component also applies to the bases of the semantic stratum.  The text base both sets up information states within figures (presents them as messages organised around quanta of information) and guides the movement from one figure to another. In the former capacity, the text base can be interpreted as patterns stated over the ideation base. That is, the representation of ideational meaning in the ideation base constitutes the first order of representation in terms of which second–order, textual meaning can be specified.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Typical Discourse Function Of Ideational Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 401):
These two clause systems, theme identification and theme predication, are components of the overall system of theme in English grammar. They produce structures in which identifying relational processes are used to reconstrue figures as equations (the two together are referred to as “thematic equatives” in Halliday 1985: 41-4). But ideational grammatical metaphors typically have a discourse function of this kind; they are as it were pressed into service by the textual metafunction, to provide alternative groupings of quanta of information.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Experiential Metaphor As A Second-Order Resource For Creating A ‘Carrier’ Of Textual Meanings

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 399-400):
What is significant here is that the textual organisation is realised by the second-order resource of grammatical metaphor. That is, the grammar is as it were turned back on itself: it reconstrues itself with a particular effect in the discourse. We can see, then, that experiential grammatical metaphor is a strategy for creating a ‘carrier’ of textual meanings.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Grammatical Metaphor As A Manifestation Of The Second–Order Nature Of The Textual Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 398-9):
One manifestation of the second–order nature of the textual metafunction that is important for our purposes is grammatical metaphor. Grammatical metaphor is a ‘second-order’ use of grammatical resources: one grammatical feature or set of features is used as a metaphor for another feature or set of features; and since features are realised by structures, one grammatical structure comes to stand for another.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Second–Order Nature Of The Textual Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 398): 
This second–order enabling nature of the textual metafunction is seen both at the level of context, where mode (the functions assigned to language in the situation) is second–order in relation to field and tenor (the ongoing social processes and interactant rôles), and the level of content — the semantics and the lexicogrammar, where the systems of theme and information, and the various types of cohesion, are second–order in relation to ideational and interpersonal systems of transitivity, mood, and the rest.

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Second–Order Nature Of The Textual Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 398): 
The textual metafunction second–order in the sense that it is concerned with semiotic reality: that is, reality in the form of meaning. This dimension of reality is itself constructed by [the] other two metafunctions: the ideational, which construes a natural reality, and the interpersonal, which enacts an intersubjective reality. … The function of the textual metafunction is thus an enabling one with respect to the rest; it takes over the semiotic resources brought into being by the other two metafunctions and as it were operationalises them …

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Textual Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 398): 
The textual metafunction differs from the ideational one in a number of fundamental respects — its mode of syntagmatic progression is wave–like, with periodic prominence; it is inherently dynamic in that it organises text as process; and it is a second–order mode of meaning.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Logogenesis: The Relation Of Instantiation To Stratification

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 385-6):
The strata are ordered in symbolic abstraction, but they are not ordered in instantiation time. The process of instantiation can shunt up and down the stratal hierarchy. However, the general tendency in instantiation is one of stratal descent. First systemic features are instantiated (selected) at the highest stratum and their associated realisation statements are also instantiated (executed). Then the instantial specifications at this stratum are realised at the stratum below. 
Within this overall stratal descent, there is interleaving: higher-stratal systems need not be fully instantiated until lower-stratal ones have been instantiated. This means that selections at higher strata can be made in the logogenetic environment of preceding selections at lower strata. This reflects the general theoretical principle that the relationship between two strata is a solidary one, with instantiation proceeding “dialogically”.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Instantial System & Register

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 385):
An instantial system may fall entirely within the registerial system it instantiates; in other words, the meanings created within it may all have been created before. However, it may also create new meanings — new to the speaker and/or listener. In either case, the instantial system is built up successively by the generation process; but as it is developed, it in turn becomes a resource for further instantiation.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Logogenesis: Instantiation & Instantial System

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 385):
Logogenesis — creation of meaning in instantiation, maintained as a changing instantial system.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Instantial System [Definition]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384): 
If we look at logogenesis from the point of view of the system (rather than from the point of view of each instance), we can see that logogenesis builds up a version of the system that is particular to the text being generated: the speaker/writer uses this changing system as a resource in creating the text; and the listener/reader has to reconstruct something like that system in the process of interpreting the text — with the changing system as a resource for the process of interpretation. We call this an instantial system.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Logogenesis And Instantiation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
A text is generated within the logogenetic time-frame. In fact, generation is a logogenetic process: it creates meaning in the course of instantiation as the text unfolds.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Lexicogrammar Instance: Text As Wording

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
lexicogrammatical selection expressions (features from passes through lexicogrammatical networks), and their manifestations as wordings; particular texts, spoken or written, with their organisation.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Lexicogrammar Subpotential: Register

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
networks of typological regions of lexicogrammatical space.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Lexicogrammar Potential: Lexicogrammatical System

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
networks of ideational, interpersonal and textual wordings; their construction as clauses, groups/phrases, words and morphemes.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Semantics Instance: Text As Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
semantic selection expressions (features from passes through the semantic networks), and their representations as meanings; particular texts with their organisation

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Semantics Subpotential: Register

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
networks of topological regions of semantic space.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Semantics Potential: Semantic System (Meaning Base)

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
networks of ideational, interpersonal and textual meanings; their construction as texts, subtexts, parasemes, sequences, figures & elements.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Context Instance: Situation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
instantial values of field, tenor & mode; particular social semiotic situation events, with their organisation.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Context Subpotential: “Subculture” / Situation Type

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
networks of regions of social-semiotic space

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Context Potential: Context Of Culture

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 384):
the culture as social-semiotic system: networks of social semiotic features constituting the systems–&–processes of the culture; defined as potential clusters of field, tenor and mode.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Cline Of Instantiation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 381):
… these [stratally organised and metafunctionally diversified] resources are extended along the cline of instantiation from potential (language in context of culture) via subpotentials (registers in situation types) to instances (texts in contexts of situation).

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Realisational Relationship Between Semantics And Lexicogrammar: Metafunctional Unification

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 381):
The grammar unifies the different metafunctional contributions; for example, a figure, a move and a message are unified in their realisation as a clause. It achieves this unification by realising combinations of ideational, interpersonal and textual features in the same wording. For example, the wording well unfortunately they must have missed the train is a realisational unification of a figure (of doing & happening), a move (of giving information, assessed as certain and undesirable) and a message.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Realisational Relationship Between Semantics And Lexicogrammar: Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 381):
… the ideation base is realised by ideational resources: sequences and figures are realised at clause rank by clause complexes and (simple) clauses respectively; and elements are realised at group/phrase rank. In a similar way, interpersonal meanings are realised by interpersonal features in the lexicogrammar, and textual meanings by textual ones.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Lexicogrammar: Syntax & Morphology

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 380n):
In systemic functional theory, lexis is thus interpreted as most delicate or specific grammar. Grammar comprises syntax and morphology; there is no stratal boundary between the two, but merely a move down the rank scale: “syntax” is simply the grammar of clauses and groups/phrases and morphology is the grammar of words and morphemes.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Lexicogrammatical System Networks: Metafunction, Rank & Delicacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 380):
The lexicogrammatical system networks are distributed by metafunction (ideational: experiential & logical — interpersonal — textual) and by rank (clause — group/phrase — word — morpheme) and extend in delicacy from grammar to lexis.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Lexicogrammar [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 380):
Lexicogrammar is the resource for construing meaning as wording. It is organised as a set of system networks representing options in wording. Systemic options may have realisation statements associated with them; these statements specify how the options are realised in wording (structure & grammatical/lexical items).

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Realisational Relationship Between Semantics And Lexicogrammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 378-9):
Semantic features are realised by lexicogrammatical ones; we have illustrated this relationship within the ideational metafunction at various points in our discussion (e.g. sequence realised by clause complex; figure of doing realised by material clause).  The realisational relationship between semantics and lexicogrammar is one of preselection: semantic features such as 'sequence', 'figure', and 'doing', are realised in lexicogrammar by means of prespecification of lexicogrammatical information, most centrally preselection of lexicogrammatical features.   
For instance, 'doing' is realised by the preselection of the clause feature 'material', which means that the clause that realises a figure of doing is constrained to be a material clause.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Text Base As Resource For Text Development & Interpretation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 378):
From the speaker’s point of view, the text base is a resource for developing a text, message by message, and for guiding the listener in his/her interpretation of the text; and from the listener’s point of view, it is a resource for constructing such an interpretation (for building up an instantial system …).

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Text Base: Messages

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 378): 
The text base is oriented towards the ideation base and the interaction base. It provides the resources for constructing meanings from these two bases as information of a kind that can be shared as text. An ideational figure and an interpersonal move are constructed as information in the form of a message. Such a message is related to the preceding discourse and differentiates informational statuses in terms of thematicity and newsworthiness.