Saturday, 31 December 2016

Mixed Channels And The Blurring Of Sharing Vs Exploring

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 42):
Technological advances have continued to enhance the potential of both phonic and graphic channels, and to enable mixed channels (cf. Halliday, 2008: 140–141). Importantly, mobile and web-based technologies (for hardware and software) have changed the possibilities of ‘sharing’ in rather dramatic ways, with a whole host of new options like e-mail messages, text messages, blogs, tweets and other formats associated with social media, as investigated and discussed by Macnamara (2010). As a result, the distinction between the private sphere of ‘sharing’ values and opinions and the ‘public’ sphere of exploring them has become blurred.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Mode: Channel

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 42):
Channel determines the ‘bandwidth’ of the flow of meanings in a situation. For most of human history, the channel was only phonic, but typically with visual contact (thus also allowing for accompanying gestures, facial expressions and other forms of visual ‘paralanguage’); but with the gradual emergence of writing, initially in certain city-based civilisations around five thousand years ago, graphic channels were added, and archival uses of language became possible.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Orientation Of Text Towards Both Field And Tenor: 'Enabling' Situations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 42):
The goals of ‘enabling’ situations can also be said to relate to both field and tenor, but in a different way. They concern the addressee’s activities in some field, but tenor comes into the picture as well because these activities are ‘modulated’: the addressee is either capacitated to undertake them (instruction) or required to do so (regulation). In terms of their organisation, instructional texts tend to be more field-like, being organised as the sequence of steps that make up a procedure. In contrast, regulatory texts have a less clearly field-based organisation; and like ‘promoting’ texts, they may include motivations – although typically threats of forms of punishment rather than the irresistible features of a product or service!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Orientation Of Text Towards Both Field And Tenor: 'Recreating' Situations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 41-2):
Orientation towards both field and tenor means that the goals of the situation, or intended outcomes, are concerned with field and/or tenor. Thus the goals of ‘recreating’ situations may be concerned with the construal of some imaginary world, ranging from a slight variant of our own world to a world of pure fantasy; but the goals may at the same time involve moral principles embodied in tenor. In this way, utopias and dystopias are concerned with both field and tenor. The orientation towards both field and tenor is reflected in the structure of traditional folk tales or nursery tales: field is reflected in the sequence of events (initiating, sequent and final), and tenor is reflected in evaluations, which may be strung out prosodically through the narrative and/or encapsulated in a separate ‘moral’ at the end of the tale (cf. Hasan, 1984).

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Orientation Of Text To Tenor vs Field In Relation To Internal vs External Conjunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 41):
The orientation towards tenor is thus likely to be reflected in the semantic organisation of texts operating in ‘recommending’ and ‘exploring’ contexts in the use of fairly global internal relations – called internal conjunctive relations (see Halliday & Hasan, 1976; Martin, 1992) or internal rhetorical relations (see Mann & Matthiessen, 1991). 
Both evidence and motivation can be interpreted as internal versions of cause
  • evidence: ‘I claim/you should believe that ... because ... ’; 
  • motivation: ‘I want you/you are obliged to ... because ...’. 
In general, orientation towards tenor is characteristic of ‘sharing’, ‘recommending’ and ‘exploring’ contexts, and also in principle of ‘enabling’ contexts of the ‘regulatory’ subtype (but see immediately below). In contrast, texts operating in contexts with an orientation towards field are much less likely to involve internal relations; instead, they are organised both globally and locally in terms of external relations.

Blogger Comment:

Note that this new addition to IFG by Halliday's reviser, Matthiessen, fails to alert the reader to the fact that Martin (1992) misunderstands the distinction between internal and external conjunctive relations.  See, for example:

Monday, 26 December 2016

Orientation Of Text Towards Tenor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 41):
Orientation towards tenor means that the goals of the situation, or intended outcomes, are concerned with tenor, more specifically with the relationship between speaker and addressee – with maintaining or changing this relationship, as when speakers try to bring their addressees closer to their own positions.  When texts operate in such situations, they tend to be organised in terms of tenor, with a central proposition or proposal supported by text segments that provide evidence for the proposition, increasing the likelihood that the addressee will agree, or motivation for the proposal, increasing the likelihood that the addressee will comply (if the proposal is some form of command) or accept (if the proposal is some form of offer).

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Orientation Of Text Towards Field

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 41):
Orientation towards field means that the goals of the situation, or intended outcomes, are concerned with field, more specifically with the development of field, as in an ‘expounding’ context where the speaker’s goal might be to construe a taxonomy for the addressee, a classification of some classes of phenomena. When texts operate in such situations, they tend to be organised in terms of field — in terms of the structure of the field, as when a text is organised according to the classes of a taxonomy. Orientation towards field is characteristic of ‘expounding’, ‘reporting’ and ‘doing’ contexts, and also in principle of ‘enabling’ contexts of the ‘instructing’ subtype.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Relating Mode To Orientations Of Language To Field And Tenor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 38):
However, we can relate these particular categories [of rhetorical mode] to the orientation of the text (i) towards the field of the situation, (ii) towards the tenor or (iii) towards some mixture of both.

Blogger Comment:

Note that this new addition to IFG by Halliday's reviser, Matthiessen, misrepresents the stratificational relation between context and language.

The relation between an instance of language (text) and an instance of context (situation) is realisation, which is a subtype (symbolic identity) of an intensive identifying (Token-Value) relation. 

an instance of language
the field, tenor and mode of its situation
Process: intensive

'Orientation', on the other hand, means the alignment or positioning of something relative to other specified positions.  An alignment relation between a Token and a Value is circumstantial (spatio-temporal), not intensive.

an instance of language
the field and tenor of its situation
Process: circumstantial: spatio-temporal

Consequently, the spatio-temporal relation of 'orientation' — like other circumstantial relations, such as cause — is inconsistent with the theoretical meaning of stratification.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Rhetorical Mode

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 38):
Rhetorical mode encompasses a number of rhetorical categories concerned with the contribution of the text to the situation it operates in: informative, didactic, persuasive, exhortatory, pragmatic, and so on.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Taxonomising Text According To Field

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 35-6):
In principle, such a taxonomy would be based on all three contextual variables – on field, tenor and mode. However, here we will present a contextual taxonomy of text that is based on field in the first instance, more specifically on the variable of socio-semiotic activity (see Matthiessen, 2006c; Matthiessen, Teruya & Lam, 2010; Teruya, 2007). … So let’s consider the nature of the socio-semiotic activity that constitutes a situation. In a sense, the activity that constitutes a situation is either one of behaviour or one of meaning; this is the traditional distinction between action and reflection. So we will make a basic distinction between activities of ‘doing’ and of ‘meaning’, and then further distinctions within ‘meaning’:
‘doing’: the situation is constituted in some form of social behaviour, involving one or more persons. Language or other semiotic systems such as gesture, gaze and facial expression may be engaged to facilitate the performance of the activity, as when language is used to coordinate a team
‘meaning’: the situation is constituted in some process of meaning. There are seven primary types:
expounding’: expounding knowledge about the world – about general classes of phenomena, categorising them or explaining them 
reporting’: reporting particular phenomena, chronicling the flow of events, surveying places or inventorying entities 
recreating’: recreating any aspect of prototypically human life imaginatively by dramatising or narrating events 
sharing’: sharing personal experiences and values, prototypically in private 
enabling’: enabling some course of activity, either enabling the activity by instructing people in how to undertake it or regulating the activity by controlling people’s actions 
recommending’: recommending some course of activity, either for the sake of the speaker through promotion of some commodity or for the sake of addressee through advice 
exploring’: exploring societal values and positions, prototypically in the public arena.

Blogger Comment:

Note that this new addition to IFG by Halliday's reviser, Matthiessen, blurs the distinction between field ('what's going' and 'what it's about') and symbolic mode ('the rôle of language').

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Field, Tenor And Mode: Taxonomising Situations And The Texts That Realise Them

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 35):
Field, tenor and mode variables are the basis for any attempt to develop a taxonomy of situations. At the same time, since text is language functioning in context, the field, tenor and mode variables are also the basis of any attempt to develop a taxonomy of texts operating in situations. It is certainly true that in developing a taxonomy of texts, we can adopt – we need to adopt – a trinocular perspective, matching up contextual, semantic and lexicogrammatical considerations to support the taxonomy. However, to be meaningful, a taxonomy of texts must be grounded in contextual considerations. If the taxonomy is ‘on the right track’, semantic and lexicogrammatical considerations will align themselves with the contextual ones.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Context And Lexicogrammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 35):
Still, while field, tenor and mode resonate with semantic systems in the first instance, they do penetrate into lexicogrammar: field values put ideational wordings at risk, tenor values put interpersonal wordings at risk, and mode values put textual wordings at risk. … Indeed, the tenor variables of power and contact may be grammaticalised as part of the core interpersonal system of mood in a language, as in Japanese and Korean.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Correlating Tenor With Speech Function And Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 34):
Thus combinations of tenor values relating to (a) status and (b) contact correlate with different semantic strategies open to speakers for demanding goods-&-services of their listeners – for commanding their listeners. If (a) the status is unequal, with the speaker being subordinate to the listener and (b) the contact is minimal, the speaker’s semantic options are very limited: it is very hard to command a stranger who is of superior status to do something; but there will be certain semantic strategies. Lexicogrammatically, these strategies will be far removed from the congruent realisation of a command, a clause of the imperative mood – perhaps something like I wonder if you would be so kind as to ... and they will be ‘dispersed’ in the grammar of mood, involving not only ‘imperative’ clauses but also ‘declarative’ and ‘interrogative’ ones and in fact not only clauses but also combinations of clauses; but semantically, they are still within range of options associated with commands. … Tenor is, as it were, refracted through semantics so that the lexicogrammatical resonances with tenor values are more indirect than the semantic ones.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Correlating Context With Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 34):
The ideational, interpersonal and textual meanings at risk can be stated in terms of systems at the semantic stratum in the first instance. However, since semantics stands in a natural relation to lexicogrammar, the two being the content plane systems of language, meanings at risk can also be stated, by another stratal step, in terms of systems at the lexicogrammatical stratum as wordings at risk. For example, when we consider the correlations between tenor values and terms in interpersonal systems, we should really focus on interpersonal semantic systems such as SPEECH FUNCTION in the first instance rather than on lexicogrammatical ones such as MOOD.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Relation Between Context And Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014; 34):
Field, tenor and mode are thus sets of related variables, with ranges of contrasting values. Together they define a multi-dimensional semiotic space – the environment of meanings in which language, other semiotic systems and social systems operate. The combinations of field, tenor and mode values determine different uses of language — the different meanings that are at risk in a given type of situation. There are systematic correspondences between the contextual values and the meanings that are at risk in the contexts defined by these values. As Halliday (1978) suggested, field values resonate with ideational meanings, tenor values resonate with interpersonal meanings, and mode values resonate with textual meanings (see also Halliday & Hasan, 1985: 26).* In other words, the correspondences between context and language are based on the functional organisation of both orders of meaning.
* We use the term ‘resonate with’ because the relationship is not a one-way causal relationship, but rather a two-way realisational relationship (cf. Jay Lemke’s, 1984, notion of metaredundancy, discussed in Halliday, 1992). Contextual values influence linguistic choices but are also influenced by them.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Note that this is the culture as meaning— as a semiotic system — not language as meaning (i.e. semantics).  Confusion in this regard led to Martin's (1992) misconstrual of diatypic varieties of language (register, genre) as context, and subsequently, to the inability of his students to tell the difference.

[2] Note the contradiction inherent in Halliday's reviser, Matthiessen, claiming, on the one hand, that the relation between context and language is not causal, and on the other hand, that context 'determines' uses of language and that contextual values and linguistic choices 'influence' each other; 'influence' means to have an effect upon, and an 'effect' is the consequence of a cause.  As the expression 'two-way realisational relation' suggests, context and language are construed together, since they are in a relation of identity at two levels of symbolic abstraction.  As Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 354) say:
we may model the relationship in one direction or the other, but text and context are construed together.
Causation can be more coherently associated with the process of instantiation, since the selection of features, and the activation of their realisation statements, can influence the selection of others, given the probabilistic nature of the system.

[3] The masturbatory metaphor 'meanings at risk' appears to have been introduced into SFL by Martin (1992: 464, 476, 477, 486-7, 489, 502, 508, 528, 531, 536, 538), drawn from a notion in Barthes (1977: 102):
However minimal its importance, a sequence, since it is made up of a small number of nuclei (that is to say, in fact of 'dispatchers'), always involves moments of risk and it is this that justifies analysing it. It might seem futile to constitute into a sequence the logical succession of trifling acts which go to make up the offer of a cigarette (offering, accepting, smoking, lighting), but precisely at every one of these points, an alternative — and hence a freedom of meaning — is possible. … A sequence is thus, one can say, a threatened logical unit, this being its justification a minimo.
In terms of SFL theory, Barthes simply means that the speaker is always free to instantiate a different option during logogenesis. The "risk" is to the feature and it is the "risk" of not being selected(!).

Friday, 16 December 2016

Field, Tenor And Mode

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 33-4):
Thus any situation type can be characterised in terms of field, tenor and mode: 
field – what’s going on in the situation: 
(i) the nature of the social and semiotic activity; and 
(ii) the domain of experience this activity relates to (the ‘subject matter’ or ‘topic’) 
tenor – who is taking part in the situation: 
(i) the rôles played by those taking part in the socio-semiotic activity – 
(1) institutional rôles,
(2) status rôles (power, either equal or unequal),
(3) contact rôles (familiarity, ranging from strangers to intimates) and
(4) sociometric rôles (affect, either neutral or charged, positively or negatively); and
(ii) the values that the interactants imbue the domain with (either neutral or loaded, positively or negatively) 
mode – what role is being played by language and other semiotic systems in the situation: 
(i) the division of labour between semiotic activities and social ones (ranging from semiotic activities as constitutive of the situation to semiotic activities as facilitating); 
(ii) the division of labour between linguistic activities and other semiotic activities; 
(iii) rhetorical mode: the orientation of the text towards field (e.g. informative, didactic, explanatory, explicatory) or tenor (e.g. persuasive, exhortatory, hortatory, polemic); 
(iv) turn: dialogic or monologic; 
(v) medium: written or spoken; 
(vi) channel: phonic or graphic.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Context Of Culture: The Overall Contextual Potential Of A Community

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 32-3):
…context extends along the cline of instantiation from the overall contextual potential of a community to the contextual instances involving particular people interacting and exchanging meanings on particular occasions.  The contextual potential of a community is its culture – what we call the context of culture, following Malinowski. The context of culture is what the members of a community can mean in cultural terms; that is, we interpret culture as a system of higher-level meanings (see Halliday, 1978) – as an environment of meanings in which various semiotic systems operate, including language, paralanguage (gesture, facial expression, voice quality, timbre, tempo, and other systems of meaning accompanying language and expressed through the human body; cf. Thibault, 2004) and other human systems of meaning such as dance, drawing, painting and architecture…

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Context: Instantiation & Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 32):
Like language, context is extended along the cline of instantiation from instance to potential; and like language, it is functionally diversified.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The Conceptualisation Of Context In SFL

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 32):
As we have noted above, language operates in context. In terms of linguistic theory, we recognise this important principle by developing an ‘ecological’ theory of language – one in which language is always theorised, described and analysed within an environment of meanings; a given language is thus interpreted by reference to its semiotic habitat. This way of approaching language was given a considerable theoretical and empirical boost by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski in the 1920s and 1930s, based initially on his extensive fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands in the 1910s; and his insights were taken up and developed within linguistic theory by J.R. Firth, and then built into a general theory of language in context by systemic functional linguists (e.g. Halliday, McIntosh & Strevens, 1964; Halliday, 1978, 1992a; Halliday & Hasan, 1985; Ghadessy, 1999; Butt & Wegener, 2007). This is the conceptualisation of context that we use here.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Global And Local Semiotic Dimensions Of Language In Context

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 31-2):
We have now introduced the major semiotic dimensions that define the ‘architecture’ of language in context. Some of these dimensions enable us to locate lexicogrammar in relation to the other sub-systems that make up the total system of language; these are known as global dimensions because they determine the overall organisation of language in context: the hierarchy of stratification, the cline of instantiation, and the spectrum of metafunctions. The other dimensions [axis, rank, delicacy] enable us to characterise the internal organisation of lexicogrammar and also of the other sub-systems of language, and of context; these are known as local dimensions because they operate locally within linguistic sub-systems.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Functionality Is Intrinsic To Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 31):
Why this rather unwieldy term ‘metafunction?’ We could have called them simply ‘functions’; however, there is a long tradition of talking about the functions of language in contexts where ‘function’ simply means purpose or way of using language, and has no significance for the analysis of language itself. But the systemic analysis shows that functionality is intrinsic to language: that is to say, the entire architecture of language is arranged along functional lines. Language is as it is because of the functions in which it has evolved in the human species. The term ‘metafunction’ was adopted to suggest that function was an integral component within the overall theory.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Textual Metafunction: Enabling Discourse

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 30-1):
But the grammar also shows up a third component, another mode of meaning that relates to the construction of text. In a sense this can be regarded as an enabling or facilitating function, since both the others — construing experience and enacting interpersonal relations — depend on being able to build up sequences of discourse, organising the discursive flow, and creating cohesion and continuity as it moves along. This, too, appears as a clearly delineated motif within the grammar. We call it the textual metafunction.

Friday, 9 December 2016

The Ideational And Interpersonal Modes Of Meaning

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 30):
This distinction between two modes of meaning is not just made from outside; when the grammar is represented systemically, it shows up as two distinct networks of systems. What it signifies is that
  • (1) every message is both about something and addressing someone, and 
  • (2) these two motifs can be freely combined — by and large, they do not constrain each other.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Interpersonal Metafunction: Enacting Personal & Social Relationships

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 30):
At the same time, whenever we use language there is always something else going on. While construing, language is always also enacting: enacting our personal and social relationships with the other people around us. The clause of the grammar is not only a figure, representing some process — some doing or happening, saying or sensing, being or having — together with its various participants and circumstances; it is also a proposition, or a proposal, whereby we inform or question, give an order or make an offer, and express our appraisal of and attitude towards whoever we are addressing and what we are talking about.  This kind of meaning is more active: if the ideational function of the grammar is ‘language as reflection’, this is ‘language as action’. We call it the interpersonal metafunction, to suggest that it is both interactive and personal.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Ideational Metafunction: Language As A Theory Of Human Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 30):
In other words, language provides a theory of human experience, and certain of the resources of the lexicogrammar of every language are dedicated to that function. We call it the ideational metafunction, and distinguish it into two components, the experiential and the logical.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ideational Metafunction: Construing Experience As Meaning

 Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 30):
It is clear that language does — as we put it — construe human experience. It names things, thus construing them into categories; and then, typically, goes further and construes the categories into taxonomies, often using more names for doing so. … and the fact that these differ from one language to another is a reminder that the categories are in fact construed in language … . More powerfully still, these elements are configured into complex grammatical patterns like marched out of the house; the figures can be built up into sequences related by time, cause and the like – there is no facet of human experience that cannot be transformed into meaning.

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Ideational And Interpersonal Metafunctions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 30):
… what are the basic functions of language, in relation to our ecological and social environment?  We suggested two: making sense of our experience, and acting out our social relationships.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Cline Of Instantiation As A Cline Of Theoretical Perspectives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 29-30):
As grammarians we have to be able to shift our perspective, observing now from the system standpoint and now from that of the text; and we have to be aware at which point we are standing at any time. … Writing a description of a grammar entails constant shunting between the perspective of the system and the perspective of the instance.

Blogger Comment:

Note that speaking doesn't involve shunting up and down the cline of instantiation. Martin's notion of "distantiation" or "de-instantiaton" arises from this misunderstanding.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Material Setting Vs Semiotic Context

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 29):
If we now come back to the question of stratification, we can perhaps see more clearly what it means to say that the semantic stratum is language interfacing with the nonlinguistic (prototypically material) world. Most texts in adult life do not relate directly to the objects and events in their environment. … Interfacing with the eco-social environment is a property of language as system; it is also, crucially, a feature of those instances through which small children come to master the system; but it is not something that is re-enacted in every text. Experience is remembered, imagined, abstracted, metaphorised and mythologised — the text has the power to create its own environment; but it has this power because of the way the system has evolved, by making meaning out of the environment as it was given.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Use Of The Term 'Register' In Systemic Functional Linguistics

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 29n):
Here the term ‘register’ thus refers to a functional variety of language (see e.g. Halliday, 1978; Hasan, 1973; Matthiessen, 1993b; Ghadessy, 1993; Lukin et al., 2008). It has also been used in a related, but different way, to refer to the contextual values associated with such a functional variety (see Martin, 1992, and other contributions to the ‘genre model’ within systemic functional linguistics; cf. Matthiessen, 1993b).

Blogger Comment:

Here Halliday's reviser, Matthiessen, fails to warn the reader that:

A. Martin's use of 'register' is:
  1. inconsistent with the notion of register,
  2. inconsistent with the notion of context, and
  3. inconsistent with Systemic Functional Linguistic theory;
Evidence here.

B.  Martin's use of 'genre' is:
  1. inconsistent with the notion of genre,
  2. inconsistent with the notion of context,
  3. inconsistent with Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, and
  4. not equivalent to Martin's use of 'register'.
Evidence here.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Looking ‘Down’ The Cline Of Instantiation: Registers

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 29):
Looked at from the system pole of the cline of instantiation, they [text types] can be interpreted as registers. A register is a functional variety of language — the patterns of instantiation of the overall system associated with a given type of context (a situation type).  These patterns of instantiation show up quantitatively as adjustments in the systemic probabilities of language; a register can be represented as a particular setting of systemic probabilities.