Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Quality Does Not Construe A Separate Class Of Thing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 207-8):
The Attribute is not a prototypical participant. We have already noted that as it stands it cannot function interpersonally as Subject. On the other hand, it can easily be instated as a participant by adding the noun or the noun substitute one(s) to the nominal group which realises it: this is a dry plate, this is a dry one. The fact that the thing can be instated as the Head of the nominal group serving as Attribute illustrates the point already made: the quality does not construe a separate class of thing, it presumes this class from the environment. Thus this is heavy means that it is heavy relatively to whatever class of thing it has been assigned to …

Monday, 30 March 2015

The Rôles Served By Qualities Within The Structure Of A Participant

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 207):
Typically, a quality combines with a thing to make up a participant in a figure: a dry plate, where the quality ‘dry’ is Epithet in the nominal group. The only context in which a quality serves on its own in a participant rôle is as Attribute; here it stands in intensive relation to a participant, either (i) in a figure of being, where the participant is Medium/Carrier (i.e. its sole function is to have the quality ascribed to it) or (ii) in a figure of doing, where the participant is Medium/Actor or Medium/Goal and the quality results from the doing; for example:
being: The plate’s dry — I’ve made the plate dry
doing: I’ve wiped the plate dry
Note that, in the doing figure, where I is Actor, the Attribute could be omitted: I’ve wiped the plate; in the being figure it cannot, since the process itself is one of ascription and the other participant, if present, is merely the ascriber.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The View Of Adjectives As “Stative Predicates”

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 207):
More recently, it has often been asserted that adjectives are really stative verbs, or “stative predicates”. This is the position of predicate logic, where both qualities and processes are simply predicates — but so also are things. It complicates the description of English grammar, but it is a reminder of the intermediate status of qualities as elements of figures.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Qualities: Element Topology

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 206):
As a category, qualities lie somewhere along a cline between things and processes, and their status varies considerably among different languages.  In English, qualities belong more closely with things, since they contribute primarily to the construction of participants: grammatically, English favours construing a quality as Epithet in a nominal group, and the class of adjective is clearly related to that of noun. (By contrast, in Chinese, where qualities are typically construed clausally, as Attribute, rather than nominally, as Epithet, the adjective is clearly related to the verb.)

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Quality Characterises A Thing Relative To Other Things In The Same Class

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 206):
Since qualities are assigned to things, they are construed with things as their frame of reference: in the first instance, a quality characterises a thing relative to other things in the same (primary) class. Thus a thick book is not ‘a thick thing’; rather it is a ‘thick book’ as opposed to a ‘slim book’: the scale of ‘thick’ to ‘slim’ is relative to book and a thick book would be much thicker than a thick envelope. This characteristic is particularly noticeable with scalar qualities, which have received particular attention in semantic studies; but it is also, in principle, a feature of taxonomic adjectives — even those construing complex classes. For example, the criteria for assigning ‘wooden’ to a ‘spoon’, a ‘house’ and a ‘carriage’ are fairly different in terms of the actual make-up of these things.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Three Types Of Values Construed By Qualities

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 206):
These values may be of three kinds, according to the type of constrast they set up: (i) binary, e.g. (‘dead’/’alive’); (ii) scalar, e.g. (‘happy’/’sad’); (iii) taxonomic, e.g. ‘wooden’/’plastic’/’stone’ … . Of the three, the most complex, experientially, are the taxonomic qualities; for example, the taxonomy of materials (whether a folk taxonomy or one that is more scientifically informed) is based on a variety of different features, such as (in a folk taxonomy) its appearance, its texture, its range of functions, its relative value in different contexts, and the like. Taxonomic qualities are thus the closest to things; they are often realised as denominal adjectives, or even as nouns, and they tend to function as Classifier rather than Epithet (i.e. they sort things into classes rather than describing them).

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Qualities Vs Things: Temporal Stability And Experiential Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 205-6):
… qualities and things differ in two related respects, temporal stability and experiential complexity: things tend to persist through time and to represent intersections of many different dimensions, whereas qualities tend to be less stable through time and tend to represent values on single dimensions. Qualities thus construe values on dimensions such as size, weight, and shape.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Names Of Expansions: Cohesion In Discourse

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 205):
As with names of projections, names of expansions often serve a rôle in creating cohesion in discourse: e.g Instances such as these … , Another way of approaching the situation … , That aspect hadn’t occurred to me. Such expressions construe preceding figures and sequences as participants in their turn, and so enable the speaker or writer to make explicit the organisation of the discourse itself.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Enhancements As Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 204-5):
Things of the enhancing type […] construe one or other of the general logical semantic relations of cause, manner, time and place. As Facet, they specify some circumstance of an element functioning as Thing: the cause/result/purpose of the breakdown, the time/occasion of the breakdown, the place/location of the breakdown; cf. also the circumstances of the breakdown. As Thing, they give the logico-semantic relation itself the status of participant; here the usual words are reason, way, time, place, and the phenomenon becomes a figure realised by a qualifying clause: the reason/way/time/place we broke down. These are closest to the borderline with projections: we may have either expansion the reason for which we broke down, or projection (the reason) why we broke down. Those with ‘reason’ and ‘way’ often enter into an identifying relation with some other figure; for example, the reason we broke down was that/because the engine overheated.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Extensions As Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 204):
Similarly, those of the extending type may also function in either of these two grammatical rôles [as Thing or as Facet]. As Facet, they specify some quantity (either by container, e.g. a jar of jam, or by division, e.g. a piece of cake), some aggregate (e.g. a crowd of onlookers), some aspect or component (e.g. the other side of the argument, the top of the mountain, the trunk of the tree), or something added or substituted (e.g. an extension of your ideas, the latest addition to your family, an alternative to this proposal). As Thing, again, they are participants, typically concrete objects (e.g. a glass jar, the top [=lid] of the canister, build an extension on the property).

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Elaborations As Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 204):
Those of the elaborating type may function in the nominal group either as Thing or as Facet. As Facet (always constructed with of), they serve to construe the element functioning as Thing in some particular guise or perspective; for example, picture in this will give you a general picture of the situation, kind in a jet cat is a kind of passenger vessel, example in there were no examples of successful integration. As Thing, they are participants in their own right, either ‘objects’ (e.g. is that picture for sale) or ‘abstractions’ (e.g. Darwin showed how species first evolved).

Friday, 20 March 2015

Expansions As Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 204):
Certain categories of thing denote an element which is an expansion of something else, either elaborating it (‘kind of’, ‘instance of’, or ‘symbol of’), extending it (‘part of’, ‘amount of’, ‘collection of’, or ‘extension of’), or enhancing it (‘time of’, ‘place of’, cause of’, ‘manner of’).

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Projections As Things: Subcategorised By Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 203):
Things of this type fall into four subcategories, defined by their interaction with modality: cases, chances, proofs and needs. Cases represent simple facts; chances represent facts to which some degree of modalisation is attached; proofs are demonstrations of facts [caused modalisation]. The fourth category, that of needs, are facts accompanied by modulation, that is, where the projection is that of a proposal rather than a proposition.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Projections As Things: Realisational Potential

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 203):
Things of this category are the names of types of projection; in the taxonomy of things, they are semiotic abstractions, some discrete and some non-discrete, and as a grammatical class they are referred to under the heading of fact nouns. They are grammatically distinct because they can function as Thing in a nominal group with a fact clause as Qualifier … Things of this type have an important rôle in discourse, because they function anaphorically to refer to (and at the same time classify) previous sections of text interpreted as projection.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Taxonomies Of Things: Limiting Cases

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 202):
The sort of strict taxonomy that is typically associated with related series of nominal groups is often a feature of special registers of the language […]. The limiting cases of such taxonomies are those found in the specialised technical registers of science and technology; these include some which are partially or even wholly designed in a conscious exploitation of the grammatical resources involved. The “things” that are construed in this way include the more abstract concepts of a scientific theory, the virtual objects that are postulated to explain the more arcane phenomena that impinge on human experience.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Lexis As Most Delicate Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 198-9): 
… we can differentiate both processes and participants into finer and finer subcategories, until we reach a degree of differentiation that is associated with the choice of words (lexical items). Note that it is not (usually) the lexical items themselves that figure as terms of the systems in the network. Rather, the systems are systems of features, and the lexical items come in as the synthetic realisation of particular feature combinations. Thus lexis (vocabulary) is part of a unified lexicogrammar; there is no need to postulate a separate “lexicon” as a pre-existing entity on which the grammar is made to operate.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Feature Networks Vs Strict Taxonomies

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 198):
The paradigmatic strategy [of taxonomising], that of inventing new names, typically construes sets of things which are systemically related but not in a relationship of a strict taxonomy. This resource is typically associated with feature networks: that is, networks made up of systems of features, such that each lexical item (as the name of a thing) realises a certain combination of these features selected from different systems within the network — a particular clustering of systemic variables. … This resource, the construal of systematically related lexico-semantic sets, illustrates well the principle of “lexis as most delicate grammar”.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Principle Behind The Ordering Of Qualities In Nominal Group Expansion

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 197):
The expansion [of the nominal group] proceeds by adding qualities … typically ordered in English from right to left according to the degree of systemicity, with the most systemic (most permanent, least particularised) at the right, the most instantial (least permanent, most particularised) at the left.  Broadly speaking these are distributed by the grammar into distinct functions as Classifier, Epithet, Numerative, and Deictic.
[Note permanence and particularisation as factors in the cline from systemic to instantial.]

Friday, 13 March 2015

Elaboration Of Things Into Broad Categories

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 194):
By reference to the grammar of the clause on the one hand, and of the nominal group on the other, certain broad categories are set up such that some things will fall squarely into one category, while others will lie on the borderline, showing certain features of one category and certain features of another, or finding themselves equally at home in both.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Construing Participants: Scale Of Distance From The Human

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 194): 
… the grammar, in its rôle as a theory of human experience, categorises those phenomena that it construes as participants by locating them in a spectrum based on a scale of distance from the human — at one end humans themselves, and things most similar to (ie categorisable as) humans, at the other end things that are farthest away from being human: concrete substances in the material world and abstract “substances” in the semiotic world.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Nature Of Grammatical Categorisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 193-4):
The grammar imposes a categorisation that is compromising, fluid, indeterminate and constantly in process of change, along with changes in the human condition and in the interaction of humans with their environment. Yet it is also strong enough to bear and carry forward this wealth of often conflicting experience, and transmit it over and over again from one generation of human beings to the next.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Thing: The Most Complex Elemental Phenomenon Of Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 193): 
The general picture we are suggesting, then, is that it is the category of thing that the grammar captures to the greatest measure the complexity of the elemental phenomena of human experience. Put together with the different types of figure, which construe the complexity of goings-on upon the broad foundational categories of doing, sensing, saying and being, the different types of participant we have sketched in here foreground the dual nature of experience as both material and semiotic — a world that is constituted out of the interaction between entities and meanings. On each of these dimensions there is a progression from things that are most like to things that are least like ourselves.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Intermediate Between Between Semiotic Objects And (Non-Discrete) Semiotic Abstractions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 193):
Discrete semiotic abstractions: intermediate between semiotic objects and (non-discrete) semiotic abstractions. These include non-personalised ‘facts’ and ‘cases’, mental entities like ‘thoughts’ and ‘fears’, and speech functions ‘questions’ and ‘orders’; they are bounded and cannot function as Sayer but can accept a projection as Qualifier (e.g. the order to retreat, her anxiety that she may be disqualified).

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Intermediate Between Conscious Beings And Institutions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 193):
Human collectives: intermediate between conscious beings and institutions. These can function as Senser in sensing of all kinds, including those embodying desideration; but they accept either singular or plural pronouns, and if singular pronominalise with it (e.g. the family says it is united/the family say they are united).

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Intermediate Between Animals And Material Objects

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 193):
Natural forces (tides, hurricanes, etc); instruments (as extended body parts); powered artefacts (locomotives, industrial machines, etc): intermediate between animals and material objects. These are typically active (including effective action, moving other objects), but non-volitional; hence when the Actor is of this category, the process does not admit phases that construe intentionality …

Friday, 6 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Semiotic Abstraction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 192-3):
typifying rôle: scope-defining participant in figure of sensing or saying [Range in mental process, e.g. find out more information; in verbal process, e.g. tell the truth]; also participant in figures of being & having [e.g. possessed Attribute, have you any evidence
pronoun it; general noun: some attitudinally loaded ones such as nonsense [non-attitudinal ones for some, e.g. idea, fact; number category: mass. 
unbounded semiotic substance; may be qualified by projection [as Thing + Qualifier in nominal group, e.g. the knowledge that they had failed]; no material existence.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Semiotic Object

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 192):
typifying rôle: scope-defining participant in figure of saying [Range in verbal process, e.g. read the notice, tell me a story]; also active participant [Sayer, e.g. the book says, the regulations require …
pronoun it/them, they; general noun (none); number category: count (singular/plural). 
may also exist as a material object, e.g. book, clock; has the potential for being a symbol source [hence Sayer in projecting clause].

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Institution

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 192):
typifying rôles: acting participant in a figure of saying [Sayer, e.g. the ministry announced …], of doing [Actor, e.g. the school is closing down]; also of sensing [Senser, e.g. the class decided that…]. 
pronoun it/they; general noun people, place, set-up etc.; number category: count (singular). (Institutions of course do appear in the plural — although relatively infrequently: the plural pronoun they typically refers to a single institution.) 
has potential for voluntary action, typically semiotic with authority of a collective [verbal process of ordering, mental process of deciding or judging]; also material [material processes, middle and effective].

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Material Abstraction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 191-2):
typifying rôles: as Phenomenon in figure of sensing [e.g. estimate the depth], as participant in figure of being [Carrier in ascriptive figure, e.g. the colours were too bright; Value in identifying figure, e.g. the score was 2-1]. 
pronoun it; general noun none; number category: mass. 
has no extension in space and is unbounded; typically some parameter of a material quality or process.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Substance

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 191):
typifying rôles: thing as part of circumstance [Range in prepositional phrase, especially Location, e.g. on the ground], rather than having direct rôle as participant in figure. 
pronoun it; general noun stuff; number category: mass. 
has extension in space, but unbounded; can be manipulated and measured; if participant in figure, is typically being distributed [Goal, e.g. cut the string, keep rain out].

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Taxonomy Of (Simple) Things: Material Object

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 191):
typifying rôles: impacted participant in figure of of doing [Goal…] 
pronoun it/them; general noun thing; number category: count (singular/plural). 
has extension in space, bounded so participates in figures as unit whole; if acting, then in figure of happening [Actor in involuntary process…].