Monday, 31 July 2017

Commonality Of Conjunctive And Modal Adjuncts Vs Circumstantial Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 158):
What is common to the modal and conjunctive Adjuncts, as distinct from the circumstantials, is that they are both constructing a context for the clause. Thus even though the same semantic feature may be involved, for example time, it has a different significance in each case. A modal Adjunct of time, such as just, yet, already, relates closely to the primary tense, which is the ‘shared time’ of speaker and listener; a conjunctive Adjunct of time, such as next, meanwhile, locates the clause in time with respect to the preceding textual environment; and both are different from time as circumstance, such as in the afternoon. And the same item may function sometimes circumstantially and sometimes conjunctively; for example, then, at that moment, later on, again.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Conjunctive And Modal Adjuncts Vs Circumstantial Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 158):
The two types of Adjuncts are also similar both in their own composition (as adverbial groups and prepositional phrases) and in how they may be differentiated from circumstantial Adjuncts. Whereas circumstantial Adjuncts fall most naturally at the end of the clause, where they carry the unmarked tonic (intonational) prominence, modal and conjunctive Adjuncts occur finally only as Afterthought and can never carry the only tonic prominence in the clause. … And while they all can occur thematically, only the circumstantial Adjuncts can normally occur as predicated Theme …

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Conjunctive Adjuncts And Modal Adjuncts: Commonality Of Distribution

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 157):
The conjunctive Adjuncts … are not necessarily thematic; they may occur elsewhere in the clause, and in fact their distribution — where they can go, and what difference it makes to meaning — is quite similar to that of modal Adjuncts, especially those of Comment.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Conjunctive Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 157):
… unlike modal Adjuncts, which are interpersonal in function, conjunctive Adjuncts are textual — they set up a contextualising relationship with some other (typically preceding) portion of text. The semantic basis of this contextualising function is that of the logical–semantic relationships of expansion. But the conjunctive Adjuncts construct these relationships by cohesion — that is, without creating a structural link in the grammar between the two parts.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Modal Assessment: Mood & Comment Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 157):
The distinction into mood and comment Adjunct is made on this interpersonal basis. They represent different types of assessment of the proposition or proposal.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Adjuncts Not Within The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 156):
These are the modal Adjuncts [in Mood or Comment] and the conjunctive Adjuncts [not in mood structure]. … The distinction among these different kinds of Adjuncts is a metafunctional one. … Modal and conjunctive Adjuncts are, respectively, interpersonal and textual in metafunction; hence they occur at different locations within the clause.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Discontinuous Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 155):
The typical order of elements in the Residue is: Predicator ^ Complement(s) ^ Adjunct(s) … But … an Adjunct or Complement may occur thematically, either as a WH- element in an interrogative clause or as marked Theme in a declarative clause. This does not mean that it becomes part of the Mood element; it is still within the Residue. As a result, therefore, the Residue is split into two parts; it becomes discontinuous.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Adjunct: Realisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 155):
An Adjunct is typically realised by an adverbial group or prepositional phrase (rather than by a nominal group). … A prepositional phrase, however, has its own internal structure, containing a nominal group serving as Complement within it … which … could become Subject.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Three Degrees Of Interpersonal Elevation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 155):
We thus have three degrees of interpersonal ranking or elevation in the clause: Subject — Complement — Adjunct.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Adjunct (& Subject) [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 154-5):
An Adjunct is an element that has not got the potential of being Subject; that is, it cannot be elevated to the interpersonal status of modal responsibility. This means that arguments cannot be constructed around those elements that serve as Adjuncts; in experiential terms, they cannot be constructed around circumstances, but they can be constructed around participants, either actually, as Subject, or potentially, as Complement … .

Friday, 21 July 2017

Complement Vs Traditional Object/Complement

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 154):
It will be noted that the Complement covers what are ‘objects’ as well as what are ‘complements’ in traditional school grammar ('predicative complements', usually serving as Attribute or Value in a 'relational' clause). But that distinction has no place in the interpersonal structure; it is imported from the experiential analysis, that of transitivity.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Complement (& Subject) [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 153-4):
A Complement is an element within the Residue that has the potential of being Subject but is not; in other words, it is an element that has the potential for being given the interpersonally elevated status of modal responsibility — something that can be the nub of the argument. It is typically realised by a nominal group. … Any nominal group not functioning as Subject will be a Complement; and this includes nominal groups of one type which could not function as Subject as they stand, namely those with adjective as Head … There is an explanation of this ‘from above’ in terms of function in transitivity: nominal groups with adjective as Head can function in the clause only as Attributes, and the Attribute cannot be mapped onto the interpersonal rôle of Subject. This is because only participants in the clause can take modal responsibility, and the Attribute is only marginally, if at all, a participant.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Lexical Verbs 'Be' And 'Have'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 153):
There are two lexical verbs in English, be and have, where, strictly speaking, the simple past and simple present forms consist of Finite element only, rather than of a fusion of Finite with Predicator. This is shown by the negatives: the negative of is, was is isn’t, wasn’t – not doesn’t be, didn’t be. Similarly with have (in the sense of ‘possess’, not have in the sense of ‘take’): the negative forms are hasn’t, hadn’t. The pattern with have varies with the dialect: some speakers treat have ‘possess’ just like have ‘take’, with negative doesn’t have; others expand it as have + got (cf. I haven’t a clue / I don’t have a clue / I haven’t got a clue). But since in all other tenses be and have function as Predicators in the normal way, it seems simpler to analyse them regularly, as ‘(past/present) + be/have’.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Ordering Of Finite And Predicator

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 152):
… a finite verbal group serves as both Finite and Predicator … . When the Finite and the Predicator are not fused, the Predicator follows the Finite, but certain other elements may come between them, making the verbal group discontinuous: the Subject in ‘interrogative’ clauses where the Finite precedes the Subject (as in can <you> tell) and Adjuncts (as in had <originally> planned to present.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Why Phrasal Verbs Are Predicator + Adjunct

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 152n):
Note that if the lexical verb is a phrasal one, the non-verbal part, the adverb and/or preposition, serves as Adjunct, thus falling outside the scope of the Predicator. The combination of Predicator + Adjunct corresponds to the Process. This analysis enables us to account for discontinuous Processes realised by phrasal verbs, as in look that one up in the dictionary with look up as Process, and look as Predicator and up as Adjunct: [Predicator:] look [Complement:] that one [Adjunct:] up [Adjunct:] in the dictionary.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Fourfold Function Of The Predicator

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151-2):
(i) It specifies time reference other than reference to the time of the speech event, that is, ‘secondary’ tense: past, present or future relative to the primary tense.
 (ii) It specifies various other aspects and phases such as seeming, trying, hoping.
(iii) It specifies the voice: active or passive.
(iv) It specifies the process (action, event, mental process, relation) that is predicated of the Subject.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Traditional Term ‘Predicate’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151n):
['Predicate'] has been used in traditional grammar, formal grammar (where it is roughly equivalent to VP, or Verb Phrase) and logic. From a functional point of view, its use in accounts of grammar represents an attempt to characterise Rheme and/or Residue.

Friday, 14 July 2017


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151):
The Predicator is present in all major clauses, except those where it is displaced through ellipsis. It is realised by a verbal group minus the temporal or modal operator, which … functions as the Finite in the Mood element … The Predicator itself is thus non-finite; and there are non-finite clauses containing a Predicator but no Finite element

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151):
The Residue consists of functional elements of three kinds: Predicator, Complement and Adjunct. There can be only one Predicator, one or two Complements, and an indefinite number of Adjuncts up to, in principle, about seven.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Semantic Function Of The Mood Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 150):
… the Mood element has a clearly defined semantic function: it carries the burden of the clause as an interactive event. So it remains constant, as the nub of the proposition, unless some positive step is taken to change it …

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Subject: Natural Dialogic Interaction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 150):
But to see the interpersonal significance of Subject, we have to take natural dialogic interaction seriously as a source of insight into the grammar; if we only focus on monologic discourse such as narrative, Subject will appear to be the same as Theme since Subject = Theme is the unmarked mapping.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Commonality Of Theme, Subject & Medium: Anchor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 149):

So the Subject is a thick, well-rounded category along with all the other elements in the structure of the clause. The fact that it proves difficult to define does not distinguish it from Theme or Actor or Medium or many other equally pregnant categories. All are subject to the general principle of ineffabilitythey mean themselves (see Halliday, 1984b).  The guiding axiom is the metafunctional one: just as the Theme is best understood by starting from the concept of the clause as message, so the Subject is best understood by starting from the concept of the clause as exchange, a move in dialogic interaction. Each of the two can be thought of as an anchor; … the Medium plays an analogous rôle in the clause as representation.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Validity & Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119):
The notion of validity relates to the arguing of the case, if it is a proposition, or to the putting into effect, if it is a proposal. The Subject is that element in which the particular kind of validity (according to the mood) is being invested.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Predication & Truth Value

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 148):
The problem only arises when predication is interpreted in terms of truth value, since proposals — commands and offers — have no truth value. This mistake arose because predication was assumed to be an experiential relation; but it is not — it is an interpersonal relation, enacting the form of exchange between speaker and listener.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Identity Of ‘Subject’ Established From A Trinocular Perspective

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 148): 
(i) From below, it is that nominal element (nominal group or nominalised phrase or clause) that is picked up by the pronoun in the mood tag.
(ii) From round about, it is that which combines with the Finite (operator) to form the Mood element in the clause; it is also that which constitutes the unmarked Theme if the mood is declarative, and which switches place with the Finite if the mood is yes/no interrogative.
(iii) From above, it is that which carries the modal responsibility; that is, responsibility for the validity of what is being predicated (stated, questioned, commanded or offered) in the clause.

This last point is the basic insight that informed the original, pre-structuralist interpretation of the Subject function, that in terms of a configuration of Subject + Predicate.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Problematic Notion Of Subject As "Purely Grammatical"

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 147-8):
The interpretation of the functional category of Subject in English has always been rather problematic. As we noted above, the definition of Subject inherited from classical times was a morphological one: it was that nominal element – ‘noun or pronoun’ – that is in the nominative case, and that displays person and number concord with the (finite) verb. But few traces remain, either of case in the noun or of person and number in the verb. What made the situation more problematic was that, in the structuralist tradition, the Subject was said to be a purely grammatical element, operating at the syntactic level but without semantic significance. That something should be a grammatical function whose only function is to be a grammatical function is already somewhat anomalous; it becomes even more anomalous if it has no clear syntactic definition.

Blogger Comment:

In the Cardiff Grammar (e.g. Fawcett 2010), Subject is construed as a syntactic category.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Subject Vs Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 147):
So, if we want to know why the speaker chooses this or that particular item as Subject of a proposition, there are two factors to be borne in mind. One is that, other things being equal, the same item will function both as Subject and as Theme. We saw in Chapter 3 that the unmarked Theme of a declarative clause is the Subject; so if the speaker wants to make the teapot his Theme, and to do so without the added implication of contrast that would be present if he made it a marked Theme (i.e. a Theme which is not also Subject, as in that teapot the duke gave to my aunt), he will choose an option with that teapot as Subject, namely that teapot was given by the duke to my aunt. Here there is an integrated choice of an item realising two functions simultaneously: Subject in the proposition, and Theme in the message. 
At the same time, however, the selection of this item as Subject has a meaning in its own right: the speaker is assigning to the teapot not only the function of starting point of the message but also that of ‘resting point’ of the argument. And this is brought out if we dissociate one from the other, selecting different items as Subject and as Theme.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Modal Responsibility: Propositions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 146):
This rôle [modal responsibility] is clearly recognisable in the case of offers and commands; but it is the same principle that is at work in statements and questions. Here, too, the Subject specifies the ‘responsible’ element; but in a proposition this means the one on which the validity of the information is made to rest. (It is important to express it in these terms rather than in terms of true or false. The relevant concept is that of exchangeability, setting something up so that it can be caught, returned, smashed, lobbed back, etc. Semantics has nothing to do with truth; it is concerned with consensus about validity, and consensus is negotiated in dialogue.)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Modal Responsibility: Proposals

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 146):
It is perhaps easier to see this principle of responsibility in a proposal (a ‘goods-&-services’ clause), where the Subject specifies the one that is actually responsible for realising (i.e., in this case, for carrying out) the offer or command. … Hence the typical Subject of an offer is the speaker, and that of a command is the person being addressed.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Subject And Modal Responsibility

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 146):
It is the [Subject], in other words, in whom is vested the success or failure of the proposition.  [It] is the one that is, so to speak, being held responsible — responsible for the functioning of the clause as an interactive event. The speaker rests his case on the [Subject + Finite], and this is what the listener is called on to acknowledge.

Blogger Comments:

Be aware that, in his model of discourse semantics, Martin (1992: 461-91) completely misunderstands the notion of modal responsibility (evidence here), misconstruing it as an interaction pattern between strata (misconstrued as 'modules').

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Subject And Validity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 145-6):
The Subject supplies the rest of what it takes to form a proposition: namely, something by reference to which the proposition can be affirmed or denied. … the Subject specifies the entity in respect of which the assertion is claimed to have validity.