Thursday, 14 March 2019

Textual Metafunction & Nominal Group Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 387-8):
Textual meaning is embodied throughout the entire structure, since it determines the order in which the elements are arranged, as well as patterns of information structure just as in the clause (note for example that the unmarked focus of information in a nominal group is on the word that comes last, not the word that functions as Thing). 
This means that there is a certain potential for assigning experientially similar meanings different textual statuses within the structure of the nominal group. In particular, they may be presented either as Classifier or as Qualifier (e.g. wooden table ~ table of wood) and as either Deictic or as Qualifier (e.g. my brother’s house ~ house of my brother)*, with the Qualifier having the greater potential as news.
* And there are further possibilities; for example, Keats wrote A thing of beauty is a joy for ever with of beauty as Qualifier rather than A beautiful thing is a joy for ever with beautiful as Epithet.