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

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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.