Sunday, 31 December 2017

Material Clauses: Recipient & Client

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 237):
The two functions of Recipient and Client resemble one another in that both construe a benefactive rôle; they represent a participant that is benefiting from the performance of the process. The Recipient is the one that goods are given to; the Client is one that services are done for. Either may appear with or without a preposition, depending on its position in the clause … the preposition is to with Recipient, for with Client.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Material Clauses: Scope, Recipient, Client & Attribute

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 236):
Of these four participant roles, Scope is the most general across different types of ‘material’ clause … but they are all more restricted than Actor and Goal.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Material Clauses: Inherent Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 236): 
The Actor is an inherent participant in both intransitive and transitive material clauses; the Goal is inherent only in transitive clauses. In addition to these two roles, there are a number of other participant roles that may be involved in the process of a ‘material’ clause; these are: Scope, Recipient, Client and (more marginally) Attribute.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Transformative Material Clauses: Outcomes As Expansion Types

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 232-3):
The outcome of the transformation is an (1) elaboration, (2) extension or (3) enhancement of the Actor (‘intransitive’) or Goal (‘transitive’) …

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Systemic Valeur Of The Feature 'Transformative'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 232):
The ‘transformative’ type of ‘material’ clause covers a much wider range than the ‘creative’ type. As always, it is difficult to find an appropriate term for the grammatical category. We have to understand it in the context of the relevant systemic contrast. Thus ‘transformative’ means that the Actor (‘intransitive’) or Goal (‘transitive’) exists prior to the onset of the unfolding of the process, and is changed in some way or other through the unfolding of the process.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

How To Tell Transformatives From Creatives [Diagnostic]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 232):
Neither happen to or do to/with can be used [as probes] with creative clauses …

Monday, 25 December 2017

Intransitive Transformative Material Clauses: Probing Actor (Medium)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 232):
The Actor of an ‘intransitive’ ‘transformative’ clause can be probed by happen to

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Transitive Transformative Material Clauses: Probing Goal (Medium)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 232):
The Goal of a ‘transitive’ ‘transformative’ clause exists before the process begins to unfold and is transformed in the course of the unfolding. It can be probed by means of do to, do with

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Transformative Material Clauses: Outcomes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 232):
In a ‘transformative’ clause, the outcome is the change of some aspect of the Actor (‘intransitive’) or the Goal (‘transitive’). … In the limiting case, the outcome of the final phase is to maintain the conditions of the initial phase …
Unlike ‘creative’ clauses, ‘transformative’ ones can often have a separate element representing the outcome … an Attribute specifying the resultant state of the Goal. Even where the sense of outcome is inherent in the process, the outcome may be indicated by the ‘particle’ of a phrasal verb, as in shut down

Friday, 22 December 2017

Intransitive Creative Materials Vs Existentials [Diagnostics]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 231-2):
‘Intransitive’ ‘creative’ clauses have the sense of ‘come into existence’ and shade into clauses of the ‘existential’ process type. One difference is the unmarked present tense: it is present–in–present for material clauses … but the simple present in existential ones. Another difference is the potential for a construction with there as Subject in existential clauses, but not in creative material ones.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Processes Of Destruction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 231):
However, processes of destruction seem to be treated by the grammar as ‘transformative’ rather than as ‘creative’ …

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Phase–As–Process As Grammatical Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 231n):
In hypotactic verbal group complexes, the phase (starting, continuing; trying, succeeding; and so on) is an expansion of the process itself; but [where] the phase is construed as a process in its own right … such examples … shade into metaphorical variants of clauses with phased verbal group complexes;

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Phase As Creative Material Process

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 231):
In the category of ‘creative’ clauses, we can perhaps also include phases of creation, as in Then I started my first novel, where started can be interpreted as ‘began to write’, and I’d better try some more non-fiction, where try can be interpreted as ‘try to write’.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Creative Material Clauses: Outcome

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 231):
In a ‘creative’ clause, the outcome is the coming into existence of the Actor (‘intransitive’) or the Goal (‘transitive’). The outcome is thus this participant itself, and there is no separate element in the clause representing the outcome.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Material Subtypes Differentiated By Outcome Of Medium

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 230n):
… seen from a different perspective from that of the traditional transitive/intransitive model, these two functions, the intransitive Actor and the transitive Goal, are actually one and the same — the Medium. The differentiation of different sub-types of ‘material’ clauses is thus based on the combination of Medium + Process in the first instance. One might have expected that it would be based on Actor + Process instead, as the traditional model would suggest; but it turns out that although they have been favoured by philosophers of language drawing on action theory, distinctions based on Actor + Process such as animacy, potency and volitionality are less central to the system of ‘material’ clauses than distinctions based on Medium + Process. In fact, the grammar of transitivity is more centrally concerned with consciousness rather than with animacy, potency or volitionality.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Material Clause Subtypes Differentiated By Outcome: Creative Vs Transformative

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 228, 230):
The nature of the outcome affecting the Actor of an ‘intransitive’ clause and the Goal of a ‘transitive’ one [i.e. the Medium] turns out to be the general criterion for recognising more delicate subtypes of material clauses. The most general contrast is between
(i) ‘creative’ clauses, where the Actor or Goal is construed as being brought into existence as the process unfolds, and
(ii) ‘transformative’ ones, where a pre-existing Actor or Goal is construed as being transformed as the process unfolds.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Outcome Phase

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 228):
The quantum of change represented by a material clause is construed as unfolding through distinct phases, typically over a fairly short interval of time — with at least an initial phase of unfolding and a separate final phase … The final phase of unfolding is the outcome of the process: it represents a change of some feature of one of the participants in the material clause.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

How Operative & Receptive Clauses Differ

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227-8):
The clauses are the same experientially; they both represent a configuration of Actor + Process + Goal. But they differ in how these rôles are mapped onto the interpersonal functions in the modal structure of the clause. In the ‘operative’ variant, the Actor is mapped on to the Subject, so it is given modal responsibility and in the ‘unmarked’ case (in a ‘declarative’ clause) it is also the Theme; and the Goal is mapped on to the Complement, so in the ‘unmarked’ case it falls within the Rheme. However, in the ‘receptive’ variant, it is the Goal that is mapped onto the Subject, so it is assigned modal responsibiity and it is also the Theme in the ‘unmarked’ case; and the Actor has the status of an Adjunct within the Rheme of the clause and, as an Adjunct, it may be left out

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Why ‘Operative’ & ‘Receptive’?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227n):
It is helpful to make a terminological distinction between the voice contrast of the clause — operative/receptive, and the voice contrast of the verbal group — passive/active.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Clause Voice: Operative Vs Receptive

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227):
if there is a Goal of the process, as well as an Actor, the representation may come in either of two forms: either operative (active) … or receptive (passive) … The contrast between ‘operative’ and ‘receptive’ is a contrast in voice open to ‘transitive’ clauses.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Why Ranked Constituency?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227n):
… the model we use is one of ranked constituency, where the clause and the verb constitute different ranking domains. One of the reasons for preferring the ranked constituency model is precisely the need to differentiate the clause as the domain of transitivity and the verb, or rather verbal group, as the domain of tense and other purely verbal systems.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Concepts Of In/Transitivity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227):
… in English and in many other languages — perhaps all, these concepts relate more appropriately to the clause than the verb. Transitivity is a system of the clause, affecting not only the verb serving as Process, but also participants and circumstances.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Goal: Extension

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 226):
… another term that has been used for this function is Patient, meaning one that ‘suffers’ or ‘undergoes’ the process. … the relevant concept is more like that of ‘one to which the process is extended’. The concept of extension is in fact the one that is embodied in the classical terminology of ‘transitive’ [‘going through’] and ‘intransitive’ [‘not going through’], from which the term ‘transitivity’ is derived.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Goal (Of Impact)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 226, 226n):
Note that ‘Goal’ refers to the goal of impact — the participant construed as being impacted by the Actor’s performance of the process (this term is also used by Dik, 1978: 37, in his framework of ‘Functional Grammar’: ‘the entity to which the Action is applied by the Agent’). This sense of the goal of impact is distinct from (though obviously ultimately related to) the sense of destination — the destination of a process of motion, as in the goal of a journey.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Happening (Intransitive) Vs Doing (Transitive)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225-6):
[The Actor] brings about the unfolding of the process through time, leading to an outcome that is different from the initial phase of the unfolding. This outcome may be confined to the Actor itself, in which case there is only one participant inherent in the process. Such a ‘material’ clause represents a happening and, using traditional terminology, we can call it intransitive. Alternatively, the unfolding of the process may extend to another participant, the Goal, impacting it in some way: the outcome is registered on the Goal in the first instance, rather than on the Actor. Such a ‘material’ clause represents a doing and we can call it transitive.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Different Way Material Processes Unfold Through Time

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225, 225n):
Processes of all types unfold through time; but the way the process unfolds may vary from one process type to another. In particular, processes of the ‘material’ type tend to differ from all other types (with the partial exception of ‘behavioural’ processes …), and this is seen in how present time is reported. The unmarked tense selection is the present–in–present (e.g. is doing) rather than the simple present (e.g. does) … 
The present–in–present serves to narrow down the present from the extended now of habits and ‘general truths’ that is characteristic of the simple present with ‘material’ clauses … 
The narrowing–down effect of the present–in–present is not brought out by the names most commonly used for this tense — the ‘present progressive’, or the ‘present continuous’.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Actor Vs Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225):
… Actor and Subject are distinct in a ‘passive’ — or ‘receptive’ — clause … Here the Actor is not interpersonally ‘charged’ with the rôle of Subject, but is rather given the lower status of Adjunct and can thus be left out … We therefore have to be careful to distinguish the experiential notion of ‘the one doing the deed’ (or ‘the one bringing about the change’) from the interpersonal notion of ‘the one held modally responsible’ (or ‘the one given the status of the nub of the argument’).

Monday, 4 December 2017

Actor Vs Agent

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225n):
The ‘Actor’ of a ‘material’ clause (Halliday, 1967/8) is distinct from the ‘Agent’ of an ‘effective’ clause … the two represent different generalisations about the experiential organisation of the clause. There is considerable variation in the use of the terms ‘agent’ and ‘actor’ in linguistics. For example, Dik (1978: 37) uses ‘agent’ (paired with ‘goal’) in a sense that is close to our ‘actor’, whereas Foley & van Valin (1984: 29ff) use ‘actor’ (paired with ‘undergoer’) in a sense that is closer to our ‘agent’.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Material Clauses: Actor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 224-5):
… ‘material’ clauses are clauses of doing–&–happening: a ‘material’ clause construes a quantum of change in the flow of events as taking place through some input of energy. … the source of the energy bringing about the change is typically a participant — the Actor … the ‘logical Subject’ of older terminology. The Actor is the one who does the deed — that is, the one that brings about the change.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Process, Participant And Circumstance

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 224):
The concepts of process, participant and circumstance are semantic categories which explain in the most general way how phenomena of our experience of the world are construed as linguistic structures.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Transient Processes And Permanent Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 223-4):
Change is thus construed as involving both transience and permanence, and the phenomena of experience are construed either as transient processes or as permanent participants. The border between these two is indeterminate; the lexicogrammar of every language will allow considerable discretion in how phenomena are treated in discourse, and lexicogrammars of different languages draw the borderline in different places. … This is an area of considerable fluidity; but most phenomena are treated as either as process or participant, and have to be reconstrued metaphorically to change their status in the grammar …

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Construing Change: Transience And Permanence

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 223):
The contrast [between participants and processes] is also reflected in in the organisation of nominal groups and verbal groups in two ways: while nominal groups have evolved the system of determination for locating referents in a referential space, verbal groups have evolved the system of tense for locating a unique occurrence of a process in time.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Construing Change: Transience And Permanence

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 222-3):
The units that realise the process, participant, and circumstance elements of the clause make distinct contributions to the modelling of a quantum of change. The elements that make up the ‘centre’ of the clause – the process and the participants involved in it – construe complementary facets of the change. These two facets are transience and permanence. Transience means that a phenomenon is construed as unfolding through time by a verbal group serving as the process. Permanence means that a phenomenon is construed as continuous through time, being located in (concrete or abstract) space, by nominal groups serving as participants. Thus participants are construed as being relatively stable through time, and an instance of a participant can take part in many processes … In contrast, processes are ephemeral; every instance is a unique occurrence …
This contrast between participants and processes explains why there are names of individual participants — ‘proper names’, as well as names of classes of participants — ‘common nouns’, but only names of classes of processes: all lexical verbs are ‘common’ verbs.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Processes, Participants And Circumstances

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 221):
This tripartite interpretation of figures … is what lies behind the grammatical distinction of word classes into verbs, nouns and the rest, a pattern that in some form is probably universal among human languages.

Monday, 27 November 2017

‘The Difference In Status Between Participants And Circumstances’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 221):
One way of looking at the situation is this. The process is the most central element in the configuration. Participants are close to the centre; they are directly involved in the process, bringing about its occurrence or being affected by it in some way … and we can say that the configuration of process + participants constitutes the experiential centre of the clause. Circumstantial elements augment this centre in some way — temporally, spatially, causally and so on; but their status in the configuration is more peripheral and unlike participants they are not directly involved in the process.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Circumstances vs Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 220):
Circumstantial elements are almost always optional augmentations of the clause rather than obligatory components. In contrast, participants are inherent in the process: every experiential type of clause has at least one participant and certain types have up to three participants – the only exception being, as just noted above, clauses of certain meteorological processes without any participants …

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Semantic Figure As Construed By Clause Transitivity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 220):
A figure consists, in principle, of three components:
  1. a process unfolding through time
  2. the participants involved in the process
  3. circumstances associated with the process.
These are organised in configurations that provide the models or schemata for construing our experience of what goes on.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Process Type And Instantial & Registerial Variation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 218-9):
Part of the ‘flavour’ of a particular text, and also of the register that it belongs to, lies in its mixture of process types. For example, in enabling contexts, recipes and other procedural texts are almost entirely ‘material’, whereas, in reporting contexts, ‘verbal’ clauses play an important role in news reports and, in sharing contexts, ‘mental’ clauses are a typical motif in casual conversation. The mixture of process types characteristic of a text belonging to a particular register typically changes in the course of unfolding of the text.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Terms In Systems Represent Fuzzy Sets

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 218n):
Systemic terms are not Aristotelian categories. Rather they are fuzzy categories; they can be thought of as representing fuzzy sets rather than ‘crisp’ ones …

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

All System Networks Construe A Continuous Semiotic Space

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 218):
Like all system networks, this [process typenetwork construes a continuous semiotic space.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Principle Of Systemic Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 217, 218):
The world of our experience is highly indeterminate; and this is precisely how the grammar construes it in the system of process type. Thus, one and the same text may offer alternative models of what would appear to be the same domain of experience, construing for example the domain of emotion both as a process in a ‘mental’ clause … and as a participant in a ‘relational’ one …
Emotion is one of a number of experiential domains that are construed in more than one way by the grammar of transitivity. Such domains are experientially difficult to come to terms with, and the grammar solves the problem by offering complementary models for construing them.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Process Type As Continuous Semiotic Space: Core & Peripheral Areas

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 216):
The regions have core areas and these represent prototypical members of the process types; but the regions are continuous, shading into one another, and these border areas represent the fact that the process types are fuzzy categories.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Process Types: Ordering

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 216):
There is no priority of one kind of process over another. But they are ordered; and what is important is that, in our concrete visual metaphor, they form a circle and not a line. (More accurately still … a sphere … .) That is to say, our model of experience, as interpreted through the grammatical system of transitivity, is one of regions within a continuous space; but the continuity is not between two poles, it is round in a loop.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Material Processes And In/Transitive Verbs

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 216):
They have, for example, been the source of the traditional distinction between ‘transitive’ and ‘intransitive’ verbs.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Process Type Variation Across Languages

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215n):
The minor process types appear to vary more across languages than the major ones. For example, in certain languages (English being one of them), existential clauses appear as a distinct type, but in other languages they may be very close to possessive and/or locative relational clauses.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Existential Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
And on the borderline between the ‘relational’ and the ‘material’ are the processes concerned with existence, the existential, by which phenomena of all kinds are simply recognised to ‘be’ — to exist or to happen …

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Verbal Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
On the borderline between ‘mental’ and ‘relational’ are the verbal processes: symbolic relationships constructed in human consciousness and enacted in the form of language, like saying and meaning …

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Behavioural Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
On the borderline between ‘material’ and ‘mental’ are the behavioural processes: those that represent the outer manifestations of inner workings, the acting out of processes of consciousness and physiological states.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Subsidiary Process Types: Behavioural, Verbal & Existential

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
Material, mental and relational are the main types of process in the English transitivity system. But we also find further categories at the three boundaries; not so clearly set apart, but nevertheless recognisable in the grammar as intermediate between the different pairs — sharing some features of each, and thus acquiring a character of their own.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Main Process Types Construed By The Transitivity Of English: Relational

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 214):
In addition to material and mental processes — the outer and inner aspects of our experience, a third component has to be supplied, before this can become a coherent theory of experience. We learn to generaliseto relate one fragment of experience to another in some kind of taxonomic relationship: this is the same as that, this is a kind of the other.  Here the grammar recognises processes of a third type, those of identifying and classifying; we call these relational process clauses …

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Main Process Types Construed By The Transitivity Of English: Material & Mental

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 214):
There is a basic difference, that we become aware of at a very early age (three to four months), between inner and outer experience: between what we experience as going on ‘out there’, in the world around us, and what we experience as going on inside ourselves, in the world of consciousness (including perception, emotion and imagination). The prototypical form of the ‘outer’ experience is that of actions and events: things happen, and people or other actors do things, or make them happen. The ‘inner’ experience is harder to sort out; but it is partly a kind of replay of the outer, recording it, reacting to it, reflecting on it, and partly a separate awareness of our states of being. The grammar sets up a discontinuity between these two: it distinguishes rather clearly between the outer experience, the processes of the external world, and inner experience, the processes of consciousness. The grammatical categories are those of material process clauses and mental process clauses …

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Clause: Mode Of Action & Mode Of Reflection

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 213):
Thus as well as being a mode of action, of giving and demanding goods–&–services and information, the clause is also a mode of reflection, of imposing order on the endless variation and flow of events.

Thursday, 9 November 2017


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 213):
All figures consist of a process unfolding through time and of participants being directly involved in this process in some way; and in addition there may be circumstances of time, space, cause, manner or one of a few other types. These circumstances are not directly involved in the process; rather they are attendant on it.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Clause Chunks The Flow Of Events Into Quanta Of Change

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 213):
Our most powerful impression of experience is that it consists of a flow of events, or ‘goings–on’. This flow of events is chunked into quanta of change by the grammar of the clause: each quantum of change is modelled as a figure — a figure of happening, doing, sensing, saying, being or having. … All such figures are sorted out in the grammar of the clause. … The grammatical system by which this is achieved is that of transitivity.  The system of transitivity provides the lexicogrammatical resources for construing a quantum of change in the flow of events as a figure – as a configuration of elements centred on a process. Processes are construed into a manageable set of process types. Each process type constitutes a distinct model or schema for construing a particular domain of experience as a figure of a particular kind …

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Experiential Line Of Clause Organisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 212):
… experientially, the clause construes a quantum of change as a figure, or configuration of a process, participants involved in it and any attendant circumstances.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Theme Vs Mood Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 206):
Unlike the Theme, which — while it is itself a property of the clause — carries forward the development of the text as a whole, the Mood element has little significance beyond the immediate sequence of clauses in which it occurs. It tends to be the overall organisation of the text that determines the choice of Theme in any particular clause, or that determines at least the general pattern of thematic choices; whereas there may be no general pattern in the choice of Subject, but only a specific propositional basis for each exchange. … Nevertheless, the ongoing selection of Subjects by a speaker or writer does give a characteristic flavour to a piece of discourse.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Embedded Clauses & Clauses Functioning As Modalities

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 206):
… these do not function as propositions or proposals — they play no part in the structure of the interaction.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Postposed Subject Vs Predicated Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 199):
In Theme predication, the final clause is a relative clause functioning as Post-modifier to the it (where it means ‘the thing that’, ‘the time that/when’ and so on). The clause as postposed Subject, on the other hand, is a fact clause … and it is related to the it by apposition (paratactic elaboration).
… a clause with predicated Theme always has the verb be, and has a non-predicated agnate … A clause with postposed Subject has no such agnate form; moreover such clauses are not restricted to the verb be. Being facts they typically occur in clauses where the proposition has an interpersonal loading; for example, a Complement expressing modality or comment (it is possible/unfortunate that …), or a Predicator expressing affection or cognition (it worries/puzzles me that …).

Friday, 3 November 2017

Embedded Clause As Postposed Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 198):
In many instances an embedded clause functioning as Subject appears at the end of the clause in which it is embedded, with an anticipatory it occurring in the normal Subject position, as in it’s no use crying over spilt milk. In such cases there will be a marked variant with the clause Subject at the beginning: crying over spilt milk is no use.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Continuatives As Minor Clauses: Backchannelling

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196-7):
There is one other element that occurs in major clauses but which can also function on its own in dialogue. This is a textual element – the Continuative, which is used to indicate how the clause relates to the preceding move in a dialogue: well, oh, yes, no, and so on.  Such items can also function on their own in dialogue, indicating that the listener is tracking the current speaker’s contribution. This has been called ‘backchannelling’ … Such minor clauses include yes, mmh, aha, sure.  They do not constitute a turn in their own right; rather they serve to ensure the continuity of the interaction by supporting the current speaker’s turn … In face-to-face conversation, they may of course be accompanied — or even replaced — by other, ‘paralinguistic’, indicators such as nodding.

Blogger Comment:

Note that a function of so-called High Rising Terminal tone is clearly to ‘demand’ the polarity supplied by ‘backchannelling’.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Vocatives In Major Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
When a vocative functions within a major clause, it is fairly ‘loosely’ integrated: it falls outside the Mood + Residue structure.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Minor Clauses: The Absolute

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
… a nominal group which could be either Subject or Complement in an agnate major clause is said to have the function Absolute. This is not assigned either to Mood or Residue. The concept of ‘Absolute’ function is also relevant to headlines, labels, lists, and suchlike.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Minor Speech Functions: Alarms

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
Alarms bear some resemblance to exclamatives, if only in voice quality; but they are addressed to another party, and they are in general derivable from the grammar of the clause — they are intermediate between major and minor clauses. Alarms include (a) warnings … (b) appeals … .  Many of these are clearly imperative and can be analysed as such: Residue only … . Other[s] are nominal groups …

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Minor Speech Functions: Greetings

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
Greetings include salutations … and valedictions … together with their responses … . Under this heading we could include well-wishings … . Both calls and greetings include some which are structured as clauses or nominal groups.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Minor Speech Functions: Calls

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
Calls are calling to attention another person, or other entity treated as capable of being addressed: deity, spirit, [nonhuman] animal or inanimate object. These do relate to the clause as exchange; the structural function is that of Vocative … Under this heading we could include the response to a call, where relevant; typically yes on a rising tone.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Minor Speech Functions: Exclamations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 196):
Exclamations are the limiting case of an exchange; they are verbal gestures of the speaker addressed to no one in particular. Some of them are in fact not language but protolanguage, such as Wow!, Yuck!, Aha!, and Ouch!. Others are made of language, with recognisable words and sometimes even traces of structure … They can be analysed as nominal groups or as clauses in terms of transitivity, if desired.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Minor Speech Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 195):
The other circumstance in which a clause does not display a Mood + Residue structure is if it is realising a minor speech function. Minor speech functions are exclamations, calls, greetings and alarms. 
These speech functions may be realised by a major clause; for example, exclamations by a particular kind of declarative (the exclamative), greetings by an interrogative or imperative. But there are other forms used in these speech functions which are not constructed as propositions or proposals. Many of these do not need to be assigned any internal structure of their own.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Relation Of Speech Function Categories To Mood Categories

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 195):
The relationship [between the semantic categories of statement, question, offer and command on the one hand and the grammatical categories of the mood system on the other] is a rather complex one. For statements and questions there is a clear pattern of congruence: typically, a statement is realised as declarative and a question as interrogative – but at the same time in both instances there are alternative realisations. 
For offers and commands the picture is even less determinate. A command is usually cited, in grammatical examples, as imperative, but it is just as likely to be a modulated interrogative or declarative, as in Will you be quiet?, You must keep quiet!; while for offers there is no distinct mood category at all, just a special interrogative form shall I ...?, shall we ...?, which again is simply one possible realisation among many.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Imperative: Unmarked Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 195):
In most accounts of English grammar the imperative is presented as if it were a special case, without any explanation. But it is not; it is simply an instance of this general principle by which a Subject is ‘understood’. Being a demanding clause, its unmarked Subject is ‘you’.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Unmarked Subject & Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 194):
For any clause, there is one choice of Subject that is ‘unmarked’ — that is assumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. In a giving clause (offer or statement), the unmarked Subject is ‘I’; while in a demanding clause (question or command), the unmarked Subject is ‘you’. This means that, if a clause that on other grounds can be interpreted as offer or statement is without a Subject, the listener will understand the Subject [as] ‘I’ — that is, Subject equals speaker … Whereas if it is a question or command the listener will understand the Subject [as] ‘you’ — that is, Subject equals listener …

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Why Free Indicative Clauses Require A Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
In general, every free clause in English requires a Subject, because without a Subject it is impossible to express the mood of the clause, at least in the usual fashion. We have already noted that the difference between declarative and yes/no interrogative is realised by the order of the elements Subject and Finite; and it is impossible to arrange two elements in order if one of them is not there. So while the it in it’s raining, and the there in there was a crash, do not represent any entity participating in the process of raining or of crashing, they are needed in order to distinguish these from is it raining, was there a crash.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Ellipsis & The WH– Variable

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
Exchanges involving not the yes/no variable but the WH– variable, where just one element is under discussion, lead to a different form of ellipsis in which everything is omitted except that element. Its function in the clause is presupposed from the preceding discourse.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Ellipsis & Validity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
An exchange centring on the validity of an assertion — the identity of the Subject, the choice and degree of polarity — may be realised by clauses consisting of the Mood only, the Residue being established at the start and then presupposed by ellipsis, or by substitution with do.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Mood And Comment Adjuncts: Stratal Perspective

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
The networks of mood and comment Adjuncts are drawn up in the perspective ‘from the same level’: they encompass just those items that function as interpersonal Adjunct. Thus they do not include expressions from the same semantic domain which do not function as Adjuncts: typically non-finite clauses, for example to be honest, to tell you the truth, come to think of it. Such expressions would be included in a network drawn up in the perspective ‘from above’.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Speech Functional (Interpersonal) Comment Adjuncts: Subtypes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 192-3):
The speech functional type also falls into two sub-types, qualified and unqualified. The qualified type is closely related to projection; they can be expanded by ~ speaking as in generally speaking, and if construed as a separate intonation unit they will typically take tone 4 [fall-rise]. The unqualified type, which cannot be followed by ~ speaking, are either claims of veracity (if separate, then tone 4) or signals of assurance or admission (if separate, then tone 1 [fall]; the clause is then typically tone 1 if assurance, tone 4 if admission).

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Speech Functional (Interpersonal) Comment Adjuncts: Occurrence & Orientation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 192):
The speech functional (interpersonal) type may occur with either declarative or interrogative clauses, but with a change of orientation: in a declarative, they express the speaker’s angle, while in an interrogative they seek the angle of the listener. Their locations in the clause are more restricted; they strongly favour initial or final position.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Propositional (Ideational) Comment Adjuncts: Proposition vs Subject Orientation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 190, 192):
With this type, the speaker is commenting either on the proposition as a whole or on the part played by the Subject. In the first case, the comment may be either asseverative (‘it is so’; typically tone 1) or qualificative (‘this is what I think about it’; typically tone 4). These items cannot function as circumstantial Adjuncts: it makes no sense to say it happened evidently. … 
In the second case the Subject’s rôle is being evaluated for its wisdom or morality, or typicality; such expressions can occur circumstantially (contrast wisely, he didn’t act, comment Adjunct, with he didn’t act wisely, circumstance of Manner); … 
Such subject-oriented comments may also be expressed as predications, through verbal group complexes serving as Predicator …

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Propositional (Ideational) Comment Adjuncts: Occurrence

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 190):
The propositional (ideational) type occur only with declarative clauses. They appear at the same locations in the clause as the mood Adjuncts — though for different reasons: they are less integrated into the mood structure, being located rather according to their significance for the textual organisation of the clause. In particular, they are strongly associated with the boundary between information units — realised as a boundary between tone groups: hence the commas that typically accompany them in writing. So they often occur medially, following the item which is prominent; otherwise, they may occur as Theme, frequently as a separate information unit, or in final position as Afterthought.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Comment Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 190):
There is no very clear line between these and the Mood Adjuncts; for example, the ‘comment’ categories of prediction, presumption and desirability overlap semantically with the mood categories shown under modality. The difference is that comment Adjuncts are less closely tied to the grammar of mood; they are restricted to ‘indicative’ clauses (those functioning as propositions), and express the speaker’s attitude either to the proposition as a whole or to the particular speech function. In other words, the burden of the comment may be either ideational [propositional] or interpersonal [speech functional].


Friday, 13 October 2017

Mood Adjuncts Of Intensity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 188):
Adjuncts of intensity fall into two classes, of which again one relates to expectation.
(i) Those of degree may be total, high degree or low degree … These Adjuncts (especially the ‘total’ ones) are typically associated with interpersonally loaded Processes or Attributes; the same adverbs also function regularly as Sub-modifiers within a nominal group. 
(ii) Those of counterexpectancy are either ‘limiting’ or ‘exceeding’ what is to be expected: the meaning is either ‘nothing else than, went no further than’ or ‘including also, went as far as’.
Adjuncts of intensity occur medially or finally in the clause, but seldom initially — they cannot be thematic (hence there is no occasion for those containing the feature ‘negative’ to cause inversion of Subject and Finite).*


Note that the apparent exception scarcely — as in scarcely had they left, when the next lot arrived — serves as a mood Adjunct of temporality ('no sooner'), not intensity.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Negative Adjuncts Of Modality And Temporality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 187):
Adjuncts of modality and temporality containing the feature ‘negative’ have the special property that, when they occur in thematic position, the order of Subject and Finite is typically reversed; e.g.
Never before have fans been promised such a feast of speed with reigning World Champion Ove Fundin sparking the flame that could set the meeting alight.
This is a relic of an older pattern whereby the Finite operator always followed immediately after the first element in the mood structure (a pattern still found in other Germanic languages). It is not very widespread in current usage, being restricted largely to certain styles of narrative, and to public speaking.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Mood Adjuncts Of Temporality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 187):
Adjuncts of temporality relate to interpersonal (deictic) time. They relate either
(i) to the time itself, which may be near or remote, past or future, relative to the speaker–now; or
(ii) to an expectation, positive or negative, with regard to the time at issue.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Mood Adjuncts: Types & Positions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 187):
These are so-called because they are closely associated with the meanings construed by the mood system: modality and temporality; and also intensity. This means that their neutral position in the clause is next to the Finite verbal operator, either just before it or just after it. But there are two other possible locations: before the Subject (ie in thematic position — those of temporality and modality have a strong tendency to function as Theme) and at the end of the clause as Afterthought.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Two Types Of Modal Adjunct: Mood vs Comment

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 184):
We can recognise two types of modal Adjuncts, (i) mood Adjuncts and (ii) comment Adjuncts. (i) Mood Adjuncts serve within the Mood element, and are closely associated with the meaning of the Finite element – the limiting case being modality, which (as we have seen) can also be realised by the operator serving as Finite. (ii) Comment Adjuncts serve outside the Mood + Residue structure of the clause. They are not part of the proposition realised by Mood + Residue, but are instead comments on it (propositional) or on the act of exchanging it (speech-functional). These different types of modal Adjuncts are characterised by different grammatical properties, including different agnation patterns in terms of possible alternative forms of realisation…

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Explicit Orientation: Metaphorical Extensions Of Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 184):
One aspect of the highly grammaticalised nature of modality in English is – not surprisingly – that it has expanded its domain of realisation: within the clause, this domain includes not only Finite verbal operators (e.g. will) but also Adjuncts within the Mood element (e.g. probably); and beyond the clause, it includes ‘bi-clausal’ realisations such as I think that ...; and it is probable that serving as ‘explicit’ manifestations of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ orientation …. Such manifestations are, in fact, metaphorical extensions of the system of modality … . Since they are metaphorical realisations, they are also analysed as if they were expressions serving as mood Adjuncts

Friday, 6 October 2017

Polar Interrogatives & Implicit Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 182n):
Yes/no interrogatives with mood Adjuncts are more restricted than yes/no interrogatives with modal Finites. For example, has he perhaps left? is fine, but has he probably left? and has he surely left? seem less likely; and interrogatives with thematic Adjuncts seem unlikely (e.g. perhaps has he left?).

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Implicit Modality: Subjective (Finite) vs Objective (Adjunct)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 182n):
We see the difference in orientation between mood Adjuncts such as certainly and modal Finites such as must in the tag. With the subjective type, the speaker gives his or her subjective assessment, and then asks for the addressee’s subjective assessment: they must’ve left, mustn’t they? In contrast, with the objective type, the speaker does not ask for the addressee’s subjective assessment; the modality is not part of the tag: they certainly left, didn’t they? Similarly, can they have left? means ‘in your opinion, have they left?’, but have they perhaps left? means ‘have they left? – it is possible’ (cf. haven’t they left?: ‘have they left? – I thought it was so’). In other words, with the subjective orientation, the modality is queried, but not with the objective orientation.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Modality: Orientation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 181-2):
In order to explore the difference between [different ways of expressing modality], we should introduce two further variants that cover the same range of meanings. Keeping to the same category of high probability, we will also find expressions such as it is certain (that) that is true and I’m certain (that) that is true. Notice what is happening here. With these last examples, the speaker is explicitly stating the source of the conviction: it is either being said to be objective, as in it is certain ..., or presented as a subjective judgement on the speaker’s part, as in I’m certain that .... By contrast with these, the versions presented earlier [certainly and must] leave implicit the source of the conviction. But they also differ along the subjective/ objective dimension: whereas the adverbial form certainly is a way of objectifying the speaker’s evaluation, the verbal form must carries a subjective loading – it is the speaker’s own judgement on which the validity of the proposition is made to rest. We thus arrive at a matrix of four feature combinations as follows:
                 subjective                 objective
implicit     must                         certainly 
explicit     I’m certain that ...     it is certain that ...
These options are present throughout the system; we can therefore rewrite the network for modality as shown in Figure 4-23.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Modality Systems: Value & Polarity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 180-1):
This paradigm shows that probability is organised as a system of three values: a median value ‘probable’ where the form of the negative is the same whether it is attached to the modality or the proposition, and two outer values, high ‘certain’ and low ‘possible’, where there is a switch from high to low, or from low to high, if the negative is shifted between the two domains.
All nine feature combinations may be realised by Finite operator, modal Adjunct, or both.  Exactly the same set of possibilities arises in respect of the three other dimensions of modality. … 
It is this parallelism in their construction of semantic space, all lying within the region between the two poles of positive and negative, that gives the essential unity to this particular region of the grammar.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Modality, Mood & Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Thus once a proposal becomes discretionary, it shifts into the indicative mood to accommodate the modal operator; this also means it take[s] the full indicative person system, not the restricted person system of the imperative. Modalised clauses are thus in principle ambiguous as between proposition and proposal: this is shown up when the experiential meaning of the clause points strongly in one direction or the other, for example, she must be very careless is likely to be interpreted as proposition (modalisation), because one does not usually enjoin people to be careless, whereas she must be very careful is more likely to be interpreted as a proposal (modulation).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Modulated Clauses And Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Modulated clauses, on the other hand, while they also occur frequently as offers, commands and suggestions (I’ll be going, you should be going, we ought to be going), regularly implicate a third person; they are statements of obligation and inclination made by the speaker in respect of others, e.g. John’s supposed to know that, Mary will help; … 
Such statements of obligation function as propositions, since to the person addressed they convey information rather than goods-&-services. But they do not thereby lose their rhetorical force: if Mary is listening, she can now hardly refuse; and we know what happens if we don’t obey the law!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Proposals & Subject Person

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Proposals that are clearly positive or negative, as we have seen, are goods-&-services exchanges between speaker and hearer, in which the speaker is either (i) offering to do something, e.g. shall I go home?, (ii) requesting the listener to do something, e.g. go home!, or (iii) suggesting that they both do something, e.g. let’s go home! They rarely have third person Subjects, except as prayers or oaths.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Realisations Of Modulation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Again, both obligation and inclination can be expressed in either of two ways, though not, in this case, by both together:
(a) by a finite modal operator … ;
(b) by an expansion of the Predicator …
(i) typically by a passive verb …
(ii) typically by an adjective … .

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Polarity, Modality & Proposals: Modulation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177-8):
In a proposal, the meaning of the positive and negative pole is prescribing and proscribing; positive ‘do it’, negative ‘don’t do it’. Here also there are two kinds of intermediate possibilities, in this case depending on the speech function, whether command or offer.
(i) In a command, the intermediate points represent degrees of obligation: ‘allowed to/supposed to/required to’;
(ii) in an offer, they represent degrees of inclination: ‘willing to/anxious to/determined to’.
We shall refer to the scales of obligation and inclination as modulation, to distinguish them from modality in the other sense, that which we are calling modalisation.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

High Value Modality Vs Polarity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):
Note also that even a high value modal (‘certainly’, ‘always’) is less determinate than a polar form: that’s certainly John is less certain than that’s John; it always rains in summer is less invariable than it rains in summer. In other words, you only say you are certain when you are not.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Modality Is Grounded In The Initiating Rôle Of An Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):
Note that in a statement the modality is an expression of the speaker’s opinion: that will be John ‘that’s John, I think’; whereas in a question it is a request for the listener’s opinion: will that be John? ‘is that John d’you think?’. Modality is thus grounded in the initiating role of an exchange.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Realisations Of Modalisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):
 Both probability and usuality can be expressed in the same three ways:
(a) by a finite modal operator in the verbal group … ;
(b) by a modal Adjunct of (i) probability or (ii) usuality … ;
(c) by both together, forming a prosody of modalisation.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Modality & Propositions: Modalisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):

In a proposition, the meaning of the positive and negative pole is asserting and denying; positive ‘it is so’, negative ‘it isn’t so’. There are two kinds of intermediate possibilities: (i) degrees of probability: ‘possibly/probably/certainly’; (ii) degrees of usuality: ‘sometimes/usually/always’. 
The former are equivalent to ‘either yes or no’, i.e. maybe yes, maybe no, with different degrees of likelihood attached. The latter are equivalent to ‘both yes and no’, i.e. sometimes yes, sometimes no, with different degrees of oftenness attached. It is these scales of probability and usuality to which the term ‘modality’ strictly belongs. We shall refer to these, to keep them distinct, as modalisation.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Modality: Propositions Vs Proposals

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 176-7):
What the modality system does is to construe the region of uncertainty that lies between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. But there is more than one route between the two, (1) one for propositions, and (2) one for proposals. (1) In between the certainties of ‘it is’ and ‘it isn’t’ lie the relative probabilities of ‘it must be’, ‘it will be’, ‘it may be’. (2) Likewise, in between the definitive ‘do!’ and ‘don’t!’ lie the discretionary options ‘you must do’, ‘you should do’, ‘you may do’. The space between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ thus has a different significance for propositions and for proposals.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Between Positive And Negative: Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 176):
Polarity is thus a choice between yes and no. But these are not the only possibilities; there are intermediate degrees, various kinds of indeterminacy that fall in between like ‘sometimes’ or ‘maybe’. These intermediate degrees, between the positive and negative poles, are known collectively as MODALITY. What the modality system does is to construe the region of uncertainty that lies between ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

'Not' In Non-Finite Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 176, 176n):
In non-finite clauses, … the not (or other negative modal Adjunct) may constitute a Mood element either on its own, or together with the Subject if there is one. … if the agnate finite clause is negative (as shown by the tag …) then the negative Adjunct functions as Mood element. If the agnate finite clause is positive … then the negative Adjunct forms part of the Residue.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Not: Finite Or Modal Adjunct?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
… the negative word not occurs in two functions: either it is simply a formal or written variant of the Finite negative element n’t, in which case it is part of the Finite; or it is a distinct modal Adjunct in Mood or Residue. In the latter case it is phonologically salient and may also be tonic …

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Yes As A Minor Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
yes (but not no) may function as a minor clause, as response to a call; it carries tonic prominence, typically on a rising tone, for example Paddy! – Yes? It does not seem necessary to label this function grammatically.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Yes and No As Textual Theme: Continuatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
yes and no may function as part of a textual Theme (like oh, well). Here they are continuatives and serve to signal that a new move is beginning, often but not necessarily a new speaker’s turn; they have no speech function of their own, and therefore merely reflect the current polarity – they are not selecting for positive/negative (and so cannot bring about a switch). In this case they are almost always phonologically weak.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Yes And No As Statements: Mood Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
yes and no may function as statements; either in answer to a question, in acknowledgement to a statement, in undertaking of a command or in acceptance of an offer. They are then mood Adjuncts. In this function they are phonologically salient and often carry tonic prominence. They may occur elliptically, as a clause on their own; or thematically within the responding clause. So, in answer to It’s Tuesday, isn’t it? we might have various forms of denial, as in Figure 4-19. Note that in (b) the response consists of two clauses; the no is tonic, as shown by the comma in writing, and could have stood alone as an answer. In (c) the no is salient but not tonic, and the response is a single clause.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Polarity: Yes & No

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
… these are direct expressions of polarity, but they have more than one functional status. If they are expressing a speech function [statements], they are mood Adjuncts; if not, they are continuatives [textual Themes] and have no place in the mood structure.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Negative Polarity In WH- Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 174-5):
In the WH- interrogative, the negative is more variable. It is common enough with why, especially in contexts of disapproval; e.g. Why didn’t you tell me before? With the other WH- items the negative is more restricted. It does occur straightforwardly as a question, e.g. Which ones don’t contain yeast?; and especially perhaps in questions of the echo type: They didn’t have any bananas. – What didn’t they have? Otherwise it tends to function as the equivalent of a generalised positive:
I’d love to live in a house like that! – Who wouldn’t? (= ‘Everybody would.’)

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Meaning Of Polarity In A Yes/No Interrogative Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 174):
What is the meaning of polarity in interrogative? In a yes/no interrogative clause, which is precisely a request for polarity and hence presumably cannot itself pre-empt the choice, both positive and negative can occur; and here the negative does appear as a marked option, in that while the positive contains no suggestion regarding the likely answer, the negative is, in the traditional formulation, a ‘question expecting the answer “yes” ’ … 
In fact the typical meaning is slightly more complex than this formulation suggests; what the speaker is saying is something like ‘I would have expected the answer yes, but now I have reason to doubt’. How then is the negative question answered? The responses yes, no state the polarity of the answer, not the agreement or disagreement with that of the question:
Haven’t you seen the news? – No (I haven’t). Yes (I have).
– whereas some languages reverse the pattern, or (like French, German and Swedish) have a third form for the contradictory positive term.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Polarity & Mood Tags

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 173-4):
not does not get reduced if the verb is non-finite; and this reflects the systemic association of polarity and mood. What carries the polarity feature, positive or negative, is the speech functional component of the proposition or proposal; hence when the speaker adds a mood tag, meaning ‘please check!’, the unmarked form of the tag is the one which reverses the polarity … If the polarity in the tag remains constant, the meaning is assertive rather than seeking corroboration. It is this reversal of polarity in the tag which enables us to identify the polarity of clauses containing other negative expressions, such as no, never, no one, nowhere, seldomif the negative word is part of some element in the Residue, the clause itself may be positive

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Modal Assessment Beyond Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172-3):
But interpersonal judgements, or assessments, extend beyond the ‘core’ grammatical system of modality to include assessments of temporality and intensity realised like modality through mood Adjuncts (e.g. It is/It already is/It almost is), and also other types of assessments beyond the mood itself that relate either to the proposition being exchanged (e.g. Fortunately it is: ‘it is, which is fortunate’) or to the act of exchanging it (e.g. Frankly it is: ‘I’m telling you frankly it is’).

Monday, 11 September 2017

Polarity And Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172):
POLARITY [is] the opposition between positive (It is. Do that!) and negative (It isn’t. Don’t do that!); MODALITY [is] the speaker’s judgement, or request of the judgement of the listener, on the status of what is being said (It could be. Couldn’t it be? You mustn’t do that. Must you do that?). Both POLARITY and MODALITY are realised through the Mood element, either through the Finite element (It is/It isn’t; It is/It must be) or through a separate mood Adjunct (It is/It is not; It is/It certainly is).

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Interactive Features Missing From Bound Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172):
‘Bound’ clauses are, as we have suggested, presented as presumed rather than as negotiable. They lack a number of the interactive features of ‘free’ clauses. They are very unlikely to be tagged even if they are ‘finite’ and thus look structurally like ‘declarative’ clauses. … And ‘non-finite’ clauses cannot be tagged. Similarly, Vocatives and speech-functional comment Adjuncts – both highly interactive features – are unlike to occur with ‘bound’ clauses.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Two Variables In The Negotiability Of Bound Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172):
When we consider the negotiability or challengeability of ‘bound’ clauses, we thus find two variables:
(i) is the clause dependent on another clause (or combination of clauses) in a clause nexus or is it down-ranked, embedded in the structure of a group; 
(ii) is the clause finite or non-finite?

Friday, 8 September 2017

Non-Finite Bound Clauses And Negotiability

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171-2): 
‘Non-finite’ clauses may be introduced by a binder, a structural preposition or conjunctive preposition; but they may also appear without one. …
Non-finite clauses are even further removed from the status of negotiability than finite ones.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bound Clauses And Finiteness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171):
Whether they are dependent or downranked, ‘bound’ clauses may be either ‘finite’ or ‘non-finite’. ‘Finite’ clauses are typically introduced by a binder (or relative/interrogative item), and have the same modal structure as ‘declarative’ clauses, i.e. Mood: Subject ^ Finite – even when they are reports of questions …

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Bound Clauses And Negotiation: Embedding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171):
By another step, ‘bound’ clauses may be further removed from the line of negotiation. They may be down-ranked, and embedded as elements in the structure of a group, either a nominal group or an adverbial one …

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bound Clauses And Hypotaxis: Common Pattern

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171):
… bound clauses are hypotactically dependent on a dominant (main) clause in a hypotactic clause nexus: the dominant part of the nexus is realised by a ‘free’ clause and the dependent part by a ‘bound’ one. This is a very common pattern, although a dependent clause may of course be dependent on another dependent clause …

Monday, 4 September 2017

Free vs Bound Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
So far we have been concerned with ‘free’ clauses; the term ‘free’ is the entry condition to the system of MOOD TYPE. Semantically, this means that ‘free’ clauses realise either propositions or proposals, serving to develop exchanges in dialogue either by initiating new exchanges or by responding to ones that have already been initiated. In contrast, ‘bound’ clauses are not presented by the speaker as being open for negotiation.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Tone And Modal Assessment

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
In English, tones also play a role in some interpersonal systems other than MOOD, viz. in certain parts of the system of MODAL ASSESSMENT. For example, speech-functional comment Adjuncts of the type ‘assurance’ are associated with tone 1, whereas those of ‘concession’ are associated with tone 4. Similarly, certain modalities are associated either with tone 1 or tone 4.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Realisation Of Mood In English: General Principle

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
In the grammar of MOOD in English, the general principle is that less delicate distinctions in mood are realised through the Mood element — its presence and the nature and relative sequence of its element, Subject and Finite, plus the presence of the WH- element, whereas more delicate distinctions are realised by distinctions in tone. But such patterns vary across languages.

Friday, 1 September 2017

An Advantage Of Taking Paradigmatic Organisation As Fundamental

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
Because a systemic account of grammar takes paradigmatic organisation as fundamental, there is no problem with incorporating considerations of tone (or intonation, in general) into the account since terms in systems may realised by different syntagmatic patterns such as fragments of constituency-like structure, e.g. ‘declarative’ ↘ Subject ^ Finite or prosodic patterns, e.g. ‘reserved statement’ ↘ tone 4.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Minor Clauses & Tone

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
Minor clauses have varied tones depending on their function. Greetings, and also alarms, tend to have tone 1 or tone 3; exclamations tone 5; calls (vocatives) have every possible tone in the language, with noticeable differences in meaning.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Key: Imperative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
command: tone 1 (unmarked in positive)
invitation: tone 3 (unmarked in negative)
request (marked polarity): tone 13, with tonic on do/don’t
plea: tone 4

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Key: Polar Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
unmarked yes/no question: tone 2
peremptory question: tone 1

Monday, 28 August 2017

Key: WH–Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
unmarked WH–question: tone 1
tentative question: tone 2
echo question: tone 2 with tonic on WH–element

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Key: Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
unmarked statement: tone 1
reserved statement: tone 4
insistent statement: tone 5
tentative statement: tone 3
protesting statement: tone 2

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Key [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
The tones are not, however, simply additional markers attached to the realisation of mood. They realise distinct grammatical systems of their own, which are associated with the mood categories. The general name for systems that are realised by tone is key.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Exclamatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
Tone 5 [rise-fall] is the one most typical of exclamative clauses, where the meaning is ‘wow!’ — something that is (presented as) contrary to expectation.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Imperatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
Proposals are typically combined with tones 1 [fall] and 3 [level~low rising]. Imperative clauses, functioning as commands, typically favour tone 1, as also do modulated declaratives; but a mild command, such as a request, and also a negative command, often comes with tone 3, which has the effect of leaving the decision to the listener. For the same reason offers are commonly associated with tone 3.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Interrogatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
Within the interrogative, the yes/no type is usually found with tone 2, the ‘uncertain’ rising tone. WH–interrogatives, on the other hand, favour tone 1 [fall], because although they are asking for a missing element, the proposition itself is taken as certain … ‘certainty’ means certainty about the polarity; there is no issue of ‘yes or no?’ with a WH- interrogative clause.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Declaratives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 167):
Declarative clauses most frequently combine with tone 1 [fall], the feature of certainty; but there is a secondary motif, also very common, whereby the declarative goes with tone 4 [fall-rise], showing some kind of reservation.

Monday, 21 August 2017

How To Identify Tone

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 167):
The actual pitch contour traced by any one tone group may be extremely complex; but the distinctive movement takes place at the point of tonic prominence. Whatever direction is taken by the tonic foot (tonic segment) determines the tone of the tone group.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Interpersonal System Of Tone

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 167):
The fundamental opposition is that between falling and rising; the whole of the tone system can in fact be constructed out of that simple contrast. At the most general level, falling tone means certainty, rising tone means uncertainty. A neutral, more or less level tone, is one that opts out of the choice. There are then two possibilities for forming more complex tones: falling-rising, which means something like ‘seems to be certain but isn’t’, and rising-falling, complementary to that, which means ‘seems not to be certain but is’.  This defines the five simple tones of spoken English. In addition, two compound tones are formed by adding the neutral tone to one that ends with a fall. The simple tones are numbered 1 to 5, the compound ones 13 and 53 (‘one three’, ‘five three’).

Saturday, 19 August 2017

3rd Person Imperatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
We may also recognise a third person imperative form as in Lord save us!; these are rare except in exclamations and in young children’s speech (e.g. Daddy carry me!). Here, too, there is a Subject but no Finite operator. These never occur with pronoun Subject; if the Subject required is a pronoun it will always be accompanied by let as in let them beware!.  This is therefore comparable to let me, and also to let us, from which, of course, the modern let’s originally derives. (The older variant let you ... no longer occurs.)

Friday, 18 August 2017

Let Me: Command Or Offer?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
Note however that the meaning of ‘offer’ is dependent only on the particular goods-&-services referred to: if the meaning required is ‘allow me to’, the same form will be heard as a command with let as second person imperative. Hence an expression such as let me go is ambiguous: either offer, first person imperative (= ‘I offer to go’, with the tag shall I?), or command, second person imperative (= ‘release me’, with the tag won’t you? or will you?). An expression such as let me help you is similarly interpretable either way; but here the effect is a blend, since even the second person imperative ‘allow me to help you’ will still be functioning as an offer.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Let Me Offer

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
Is there also a ‘me’ type, a first person imperative realising a simple offer? The forms most commonly found are let me and I’ll; the latter is clearly declarative, but let me may be interpreted as imperative on the analogy of let’s.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Imperatives Realising Suggestions (Command + Offer)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
The ‘you–and–me’ type, with let’s, realises a suggestion, something that is at the same time both command and offer.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Imperatives: Let’s

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
What is the analysis of let’s? Given its place in the paradigm, it is best interpreted as a wayward form of the Subject ‘you and I’ (note that the marked person is realised by Ictus
on let’s, parallel to that on you). The only anomalous form then is the response Yes, let’s!, No, let’s not!, which on this analysis has Subject and no Finite; but in each case there is an alternative form with the Finite element in it, Yes, do let’s!, No, don’t let’s!, which also suggests that let’s is felt to be a Subject. (The order do let’s corresponds to the earlier second person ordering as in Do you look!.)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Imperatives: Do & Don't

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 165):
Historically the forms do, don’t derived from non-finite forms of the verb do, but they now function analogously to the Finite operator in an indicative clause; compare the dialogic sequence Look! – Shall I? – Yes, do! or No, don’t!, with the response consisting of Mood element only.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Imperatives: Mood Elements & Finiteness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 165):
the unmarked positive has no Mood element, the verb form (eg look) is Predicator only, with no Finite in it. The other forms have a Mood element; this consists of Subject only (you), Finite only (do, don’t), or Finite followed by Subject. Any of these can be followed by a Mood tag: won’t you?, will you? — showing that the clause is finite, even though the verb is non-finite (the imperative of be is be, as in Be quiet!, not the finite form are).  Historically the forms do, don’t derived from non-finite forms of the verb do, but they now function analogously to the Finite operator in an indicative clause; compare the dialogic sequence Look! – Shall I? – Yes, do! or No, don’t!, with the response consisting of Mood element only.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Imperatives: Person

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 165):

The imperative has a different system of person from the indicative. Since the imperative is the mood for exchanging goods–&–services, its Subject is ‘you’ or ‘me’ or ‘you and me’.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Exclamations: Grammatical Realisations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 164):
Exclamative clauses … have a distinct grammar; but other mood types may also realise exclamations; this includes yes/no interrogative clauses that are negative in polarity…
Isn’t it amazing!
However, unlike clauses that are exclamative in mood, such clauses do not have a distinctively exclamative grammar.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Exclamative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 164):
These clauses have the WH- element what or how, in nominal or adverbial group. … what conflates with a Complement, as in what tremendously easy riddles you askthis is often an attributive Complement, as in what a fool he is. how conflates with an Adjunct, as in how beautifully you make loveIn earlier English the Finite in these clauses preceded the Subject, as in how are the mighty fallenbut since the Finite ^ Subject sequence became specifically associated with the interrogative mood, the normal order in exclamatives has become Subject ^ Finite.