Monday, 27 March 2017

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Theme In WH- Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101):
In a WH- interrogative, which is a search for a missing piece of information, the element that functions as Theme is the element that requests this information, namely the WH- element.  It is the WH- element that expresses the nature of the missing piece: who, what, when, how, etc. So in a WH- interrogative the WH- element is put first no matter what other function it has in the mood structure of the clause, whether Subject, Adjunct or Complement. The meaning is ‘I want you to tell me the person, thing, time, manner, etc.’.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Theme In Polar Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101, 102):
In a yes/no interrogative, which is a question about polarity, the element that functions as Theme is the element that embodies the expression of polarity, namely the Finite verbal operator. … but, since that is not an element in the experiential structure of the clause, the Theme extends over the following Subject as well.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Theme In Exclamative Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101):
There is one sub-category of declarative clause that has a special thematic structure, namely the exclamative. These typically have an exclamatory WH-element as Theme … .

Friday, 24 March 2017

A General Principle Of Marking

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 100):
… while a given term may be marked globally in the language, it may be locally unmarked because it is motivated by register-specific considerations.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The ‘Most Marked’ Type Of Theme In A Declarative Clause: Complement

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 99):
The ‘most marked’ type of Theme in a declarative clause is thus a Complement: for example this responsibility in this responsibility we accept wholly. This is a nominal element that, being nominal, has the potentiality of being Subject; which has not been selected as Subject; and which nevertheless has been made thematic. Since it could have been Subject, and therefore unmarked Theme, there must be very good reason for making it a thematic Complement – it is being explicitly foregrounded as the Theme of the clause.* 
* It is also likely to be given the status of New information within its own unit of information. At the same time, some element other than the Complement will be a candidate for the status of New within the Rheme of the clause, as in this they should refuse.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Negative Adjunct Or Complement As Theme —> Finite^Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 98-9):
Marked Adjunct and Complement Themes are followed by the Subject in Modern English — a[n] historical departure from the general principle in Germanic languages that the Theme is followed by, and thus marked off by, the Finite in a declarative clause. The general exception to this departure in Modern English is a clausal negative item as Theme — an Adjunct or Complement with a negative feature that pertains to the clause.*  Such negative Themes are followed by the Finite.

* This applies to circumstantial Adjuncts with a negative feature, e.g. nowhere as a locative Adjunct; and it also applies to modal Adjuncts with a negative (or quasi-negative) feature, e.g. never, hardly.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Marked Themes In Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 98, 100):
A Theme that is something other than the Subject, in a declarative clause, we shall refer to as a marked Theme. The most usual form of marked Theme is an adverbial group … or prepositional phrase … functioning as Adjunct in the clause. Least likely to be thematic is a Complement, which is a nominal group that is not functioning as Subject — something that could have been a Subject but is not … . Sometimes even the Complement from within a prepositional phrase functions as Theme … .

Monday, 20 March 2017

Unmarked Theme In Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 97):
In a declarative clause, the typical pattern is one in which Theme is conflated with Subject; … We shall refer to the mapping of Theme on to Subject as the unmarked Theme of a declarative clause. The Subject is the element that is chosen as Theme unless there is good reason for choosing something else.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mood Selection

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 97):
Every free clause selects for mood. … A free major clause is either indicative (giving or demanding information) or imperative (demanding goods-&-services) in mood; if indicative, it is either declarative (giving information) or interrogative (demanding information); if interrogative, it is either ‘yes/no’ interrogative or ‘WH-’ interrogative.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Mood: The Major Interpersonal System Of The Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 97):
MOOD is the major interpersonal system of the clause; it provides interactants involved in dialogue with the resources for giving or demanding a commodity, either information or goods-&-services – in other words, with the resources for enacting speech functions (speech acts) through the grammar of the clause: statements (giving information), questions (demanding information), offers (giving goods-&-services), and commands (demanding goods-&-services).

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Meaning Of Thematic Equatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 95):
The thematic equative actually realises two distinct semantic features, which happen to correspond to the two senses of the word identify. On the one hand, it identifies (specifies) what the Theme is; on the other hand, it identifies it (equates it) with the Rheme. The second of these features adds a semantic component of exclusiveness: the meaning is ‘this and this alone’.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thematic Equatives: Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 93, 95): 
In a thematic equative, all the elements of the clause are organised into two constituents; these two are then linked by a relationship of identity, a kind of ‘equals sign’, expressed by some form of the verb be. …
A thematic equative (… a ‘pseudo-cleft sentence’ …) is an identifying clause which has a thematic nominalisation in it. Its function is to express the Theme–Rheme structure in such a way as to allow for the Theme to consist of any subset of the elements of the clause. This is the explanation for the evolution of clauses of this type: they have evolved, in English, as a thematic resource, enabling the message to be structured in whatever way the speaker or writer wants.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Theme–Rheme & Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 92):
… if a clause is organised into two information units, the boundary between the two is overwhelmingly likely to coincide with the junction of Theme and Rheme.

Blogger Comment:

This might be true if we ignore conjunctive Adjuncts as textual Themes and comment Adjuncts as interpersonal Themes:
// However // information boundaries are highly likely between textual and experiential Themes //
// Actually // information boundaries are highly likely between interpersonal and experiential Themes //

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Theme–Rheme Vs Topic–Comment

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 89n):
Some grammarians have used the terms Topic and Comment instead of Theme and Rheme. But the Topic–Comment terminology carries rather different connotations. The label ‘Topic’ usually refers to only one particular kind of Theme, the ‘topical Theme’; and it tends to be used as a cover term for two concepts that are functionally distinct, one being that of Theme and the other being that of Given. It seems preferable to retain the earlier terminology of Theme–Rheme.  In the generative linguistic literature, Gruber (1976: 38) introduced the term ‘theme’ in an experiential (rather than textual) sense for a kind of participant role, a ‘theta role’ in generative terms. In work drawing on Fillmore’s (1968) ‘case grammar’, the term ‘theme’ has also been used as a label for deep case, or semantic case. In a different context, ‘theme’ is also used as the name of a stratum in verbal art: see Hasan (1985b: 96).

Monday, 13 March 2017

Theme: Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 89):
The Theme is the element which serves as the point of departure of the message; it is that which locates and orients the clause within its context.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Clause As Message

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 88):
The structure which carries this line of meaning is known as thematic structure. … a form of organisation whereby it fits in with, and contributes to, the flow of discourse.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Clause As Three Meanings Realised In One Wording

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 88):
… we introduced the notion of a clause as a unit in which meanings of three different kinds are combined. Three distinct structures, each expressing one kind of semantic organisation, are mapped on to one another to produce a single wording.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Constituency: Simplest & Prototypical Type Of Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 85):
It is the segmental kind of structure, with clearly separated constituent parts organised into a whole, that has traditionally been taken as the norm in descriptions of grammar; the very concept of ‘structure’, in language, has been defined in constituency terms. This is partly because of the kind of meaning that is expressed in this way: experiential meaning has been much more fully described than meaning of the other kinds. But there is also another reason, which is that constituency is the simplest kind of structure, from which the other, more complex kinds can be derived; it is the natural one to take as prototypical — in the same way as digital systems are taken as the norm from which analogue systems can be derived, rather than the other way round.

Blogger Comment:


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Metafunctions And Constituent Structure: Discreteness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 84):
The general principle of discreteness means that each structural unit has clearly defined boundaries. But while this kind of segmental organisation is characteristic of the clause as representation, the clause in its other guises – as message, and as exchange – departs from this prototype. In its status as an exchange, the clause depends on prosodic features — continuous forms of expression, often with indeterminate boundaries; while in its status as message it tends to favour culminative patterns — peaks of prominence located at beginnings and endings.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Metafunctions And Constituent Structure: Hierarchy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 84):
The general principle of hierarchy means that an element of any given rank is constructed out of elements of the rank next below. This is a feature of the constituent hierarchy made up of units and their classes: clause, verbal group, and so on. But the configurations of structural functions show further ramifications of this general pattern. Thus, in the clause as exchange there is slightly more layering in the structure, while in the clause as message there is rather less.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Metafunctions And Constituent Structure: Exhaustiveness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 84):
The general principle of exhaustiveness means that everything in the wording has some function at every rank. But not everything has a function in every dimension of structure; for example, some parts of the clause (e.g. interpersonal Adjuncts such as perhaps and textual Adjuncts such as however) play no rôle in the clause as representation.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Metafunctions And Constituent Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 84):
So far, we have referred to constituent structure as if it was something uniform and homogeneous; but as we embark on the detailed analysis of clause structures this picture will need to be modified. The model of constituent structure that we presented — the rank scale — is the prototype to which all three metafunctions can be referred. But the actual forms of structural organisation depart from this prototype, each of them in different ways.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Metafunction: One Of The Basic Concepts Of SFL Theory

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 84):
… these three kinds of meaning run throughout the whole of language, and in a fundamental respect they determine the way language has evolved.  They are referred to in systemic accounts of grammar as metafunctions, and the concept of ‘metafunction’ is one of the basic concepts around which the theory is constructed.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Significance Of Functional Labels: Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83-4):
The significance of any functional label lies in its relationship to the other functions with which it is structurally associated. It is the structure as a whole, the total configuration of functions, that construes, or realises, the meaning. … It is the relation among all these [functions] that constitutes the structure.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Structure Vs Syntagm

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83):
… Actor + Process + Goal. A configuration of this kind is what is referred to in functional grammars as a structure (as opposed to a syntagm of classes).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Clause As Representation: Actor [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83):
A clause has meaning as a representation of some process in ongoing human experience; the Actor is the active participant in that process. It is the element the speaker portrays as the one that does the deed.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Clause As Exchange: Subject [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83):
A clause has meaning as an exchange, a transaction between speaker and listener; the Subject is the warranty of the exchange. It is the element the speaker makes responsible for the validity of what he is saying.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Clause As Message: Theme [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83):
A clause has meaning as a message, a quantum of information; the Theme is the point of departure for the message. It is the element the speaker selects for ‘grounding’ what he is going on to say.

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Typical Unmarked Form [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 82):
That is the form we tend to use if there is no prior context leading up to it, and no positive reason for choosing anything else.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Traditional “Subjects” Differentiated By Metafunction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 80):
psychological Subject: Theme
grammatical Subject: Subject
logical Subject: Actor

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Class & Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 76):
The class of an item indicates in a general way its potential range of grammatical functions. … But the class label does not show what part the item is playing in any actual structure. For that we have to indicate its function. The functional categories provide an interpretation of grammatical structure in terms of the overall meaning potential of the language … .