Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Sequences: Taxis And Temporal & Causal Ordering

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 245):
A sequence is construed congruently by the grammar as a clause nexus joined by a conjunction. A nexus may be either paratactic or hypotactic. Where the sequence is construed paratactically, the preferred order is the iconic one; thus in the case of ‘time’ and ‘cause’, “precedent, then subsequent”, “cause, so effect”. The alternative causal sequence “effect, for cause” (as in I strove with none, for none was worth my strife) is rather infrequent; while the alternative temporal sequence apparently does not occur. 
(These relationships can of course be expressed cohesively — that is, without being construed as grammatical structures at all: I strove with none. The reason was that … .) 
Where the sequence is construed hypotactically, either order is possible: “after precedent, subsequent” / “subsequent, after precedent”; “because cause, effect” / “effect, because cause”. 
Note also “precedent, before subsequent” / “before subsequent, precedent”; “cause, so that effect” / “so that effect, cause” — where tying the relator to the ‘effect’ typically implies intentionality. … 
The reason for this disparity is that hypotaxis construes an order of its own — ordering in dependence; whereas in parataxis, the only ordering is that being imposed by the grammar on the experiential phenomena themselves.