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

Pageviews by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
United Kingdom

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.