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.