Thursday, 24 May 2018

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The Rationâle For 'Possessive' And 'Circumstantial'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 289):
If all ‘possessive’ and ‘circumstantial’ clauses had the intensive verb be as the Process, we could perhaps interpret them as subtypes of ‘intensive’ clauses – subtypes where possessor and possessed are related to one another and where circumstances are related to one another. Here the piano is Emily’s would be like our earlier example her name is Alice, where naming is construed as an aspect of one of the participants (cf. also the owner of the Piano is Emily). Under this interpretation a clause such as Emily has a piano would be the odd one out because here the sense of possession is construed in the process in the first instance (the verb have), not in (one of) the participants. 
However, Emily has a piano is not the odd one out; it exemplifies a regular option throughout for all ‘possessive’ and ‘circumstantial’ clauses. This is the option of construing possession or circumstantiation as process. Thus alongside the piano is Emily’s, we have the piano is owned by Emily; and alongside Emily is like her mother, we have Emily resembles her mother. Here own means ‘be + possession’ and resemble means ‘be + like’.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

‘Circumstantial’ and ‘Possessive’ Relational Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 289):
These two types also come in two modes of being, ‘attributive’ and ‘identifying’. We can thus recognise the following series of proportions:
intensive            Emily is a poet :                            attributive
                          Emily is the poet ::                       identifying 
possessive          Emily has a piano :                        attributive
                          the piano is Emily’s ::                   identifying 
circumstantial    the meeting is on Friday :              attributive
                         the time of the meeting is Friday   identifying

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Assigned Attributive Clauses vs Creative Material Clauses [Diagnostics]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 288-9):
We may note that there is a type of clause that is agnate to those with verbs of appearance in which the Carrier is construed on the model of a circumstance of Means (of the subtype ‘material’) marked by of or out of; for example:
‘It makes a mockery of the slogan which many of them use, “To Protect and Serve”,’ he said.
I mean, I think she’s made an absolute fool of herself
No one’s gonna make a fool out of me
These relational clauses resemble creative material ones with a circumstance of Means such as you could make fortune out of any one of your loves. However, in such material clauses the circumstance of Means can be left out: you could make a fortune, whereas the Carrier/Means cannot be left out of an assigned relational clause: we cannot say she’s made an absolute fool without of herself. Creative verbs other than make can serve as the Process, e.g. create, produce, develop. Further, there is a receptive option with such material clauses, e.g. a fortune could be made (by you) out of any of your loves, but there is no receptive version of assigned relational clauses of this type: an absolute fool has been made (by her) of herself is odd.

Monday, 21 May 2018


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 288):
Both ‘identifying’ and ‘attributive’ clauses of the ‘intensive’ kind have the option of assignment: they may be configured with a third participant representing the entity assigning the relationship of identity [or] attribution … In the case of ‘identifying’ clauses, this is the Assigner; in the case of ‘attributing’, this is the Attributor.  In a ‘receptive’ clause, this participant may be left implicit …

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Identifying Mode: Naming & Defining Vs Calling

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 287-8):
Most problematic of all are clauses of naming and defining, which lie exactly at the crossover point between the the two types of ‘identifying’ clause … Naming and defining are linguistic exercises, in which the word is Token and its meaning is Value. In calling, on the other hand, it is the name that is the Value.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Adjectival Attribute <-> Nominal Attribute <-> Value

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 287):
Nominal Attributes are closer to Values than adjectival ones; and these, in turn, are very close to the ‘is an example of’ type of ‘identifying’ clause, like those missiles constitute a threat to our security.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Attribute As An Instance Of A Class

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 287):
And on the other hand we often interpret an Attribute not just as an instance of a class but in some sense the value of the entity it carries, e.g. Pat is a millionaire.

Blogger Comment:

The incoherence here arises from Matthiessen's mistaken rewording of Halliday (1994: 129):
And on the other hand we often interpret an Attribute not just as an instance of a class but in some sense the value of the entity that carries it, e.g. Pat is a millionaire.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Continuity From Attribution To Decoding Identity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 287):
The continuity becomes clearer when we set up as Value/Identifier something that is explicitly worded as membership of a class, using the expression ‘one of ...’
Pat                             is            one of the richest people I know
Identified/Token                       Identifier/Value

Blogger Comment:

Note that, viewed 'from above', an attributive relation obtains between the Head (Carrier) — one — and the Postmodifier (Attribute) — the richest people I know — of the nominal group serving as Identifier/Value.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Attributive <–> Decoding <–> Encoding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 286):
… the [decoding] type of ‘identifying’ clause where the Identifier is the Value (that is, the identity is given by function) is intermediate between the attributive and the other [encoding] type of ‘identifying’, the one where the Identifier is the Token (identity is given by form):
Pat is rich                      Attribute               attributive
Pat is the richest           Identifier/Value     decoding
the richest is Pat           Identifier/Token    encoding

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Classifying vs Identifying

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 286):
So for example
my brother                 is       tall
Carrier = member                Attribute = class
means ‘my brother belongs to the class of people who are tall’. This specifies one of his attributes; but it does not serve to identify him – there are other tall people besides. The only means of identifying something by assigning it to a class is to make that a class of one. But if the one-member class is at the same level of abstraction as its member, we have a tautology: my brother is my brother.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Carrier & Attribute Differ In Generality Not Abstraction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 286):
In attribution, some entity is being said to have an attribute. This means that it is being assigned to a class, and the two elements that enter into this relation, the attribute and the entity that ‘carries’ it, thus differ in generality (the one includes the other) but are at the same level of abstraction [unlike Token and Value].

Blogger Comments:

Note that this also, therefore, characterises the difference between instantiation (attribution/generality) and stratification (identity/abstraction).  Language is more general than register; context is more abstract than language.  This is the fundamental theoretical reason why register ≠ context.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Thematic Equatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 285):
Note that in a thematic equative, the nominalisation is always the Value.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Intensive Identifying Clauses: Sub-Types

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 284-5):
Equation … Equivalence … Rôle–play … Naming … Definition … Symbolisation (including glossing and translation) … Exemplification … Demonstration …

Friday, 11 May 2018

Encoding vs Decoding Clauses In Logogenesis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 283-4):
Identifying clauses of different coding orientations make distinct and complementary contributions in the development of text. Thus ‘encoding’ clauses serve as a resource for presenting the steps in the organisation of a text …  In contrast, ‘decoding’ clauses can be used as a strategy for interpreting phenomena that have been observed …

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Token Vs Value [Diagnostic: Voice & Subject]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 282-3):
With a verb other than be it is clear which is Token and which is Value, since … this can be determined by the voice: if the clause is ‘operative’, the Subject is Token, whereas if the clause is ‘receptive’, the Subject is Value. … With the verb be one cannot tell whether the clause is ‘operative’ or ‘receptive’; the best strategy for analysing these is to substitute some other verb, such as represent, and see which voice is chosen.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Receptive Voice: Purpose

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 282):
The reason for choosing the ‘receptive’ in English is to get the desired texture, in terms of Theme–Rheme and Given–New; in particular it avoids marked information focus (which carries an additional semantic feature of contrast).

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Identifying Mode: Operative Vs Receptive Voice

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 280):
It is this directionality that determines the voice of the clause – whether it is ‘operative’ or ‘receptive’; and in order to explain this we need to operate with Token and Value as structural functions. … In other words, ‘identifying’ clauses select for voice; they have an ‘operative’ and a ‘receptive’ variant. The difference is entirely systematic, once we recognise the structure of Token and Value: the ‘operative’ voice is the one in which the Subject is also the Token (just as, in a ‘material’ clause, the ‘operative’ is the variant in which the Subject is also the Actor).

Monday, 7 May 2018

Identifying Mode: Decoding Vs Encoding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 279-80):
… either the Token is ‘decoded’
or else the Value is ‘encoded’.
If the Token is construed as Identified and the Value as Identifier, the clause is a decoding one …
if the Value is construed as Identified and the Token as Identifier, the clause is an encoding one …
In other words, the identity either decodes the Token by reference to the Value
or it encodes the Value by reference to the Token.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Identifying Mode: Direction Of Coding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 279):
Every ‘identifying’ clause faces either one way or the other: the structure is either Identified/Token ^ Identifier/Value [decoding] … or Identified/Value ^ Identifier/Token [encoding].

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Token & Value

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 279):
In any ‘identifying’ clause, the two halves refer to the same thing; but the clause is not a tautology, so there must be some difference between them. This difference can be characterised as a stratal one of ‘expression’ and ‘content’; or, in terms of their generalised labels in the grammar, of Token and Value — and either can be used to identify the other.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Identifier & New [Contra Fawcett]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 279):
For the present discussion, we shall take it that the Identifier always carries the tonic prominence. This is not, in fact, true; it is the typical pattern, since it is the identity that is likely to be new information, but there is a marked option whereby the Identified is construed as the New. (Note therefore that Identified–Identifier cannot simply be explained as Given–New in an ‘identifying’ clause [as Fawcett maintains]; not surprisingly, since the former are experiential functions whereas the latter are textual.)

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Identifying Vs Attributive Mode [Diagnostic: Reversibility]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 278):
These [‘identifying’] clauses are reversible. All verbs except the neutral be and the phased become, remain (and those with following prepositions like as in act as) have passive forms … Clauses with be reverse without change in the form of the verb and without marking the non-Subject participant …

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Attributive Vs Identifying Mode: Interrogative Probe

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 278):
The interrogative probe for such [‘identifying’] clauses is which?, who?, which/who…as? (or what? if the choice is open–ended) …

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Identifying Mode: Lexical Verb

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 278):
The lexical verb of the verbal group realising the [identifying] Process is one from the ‘equative’ classes.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Identifying Mode: In/Definiteness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 277-8):
The nominal group realising the function of Identifier is typically definite: it has a common noun as Head, with the or other specific determiner as Deictic, or else a proper noun or pronoun. The only form with adjective as head is the superlative ….

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Identifying Vs Attributive Mode

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 277):
Class membership [attribution] does not serve to identify … One way of looking at the ‘identifying’ clause would be to say that here we are narrowing down the class in question to a class of one … only one member in the class, a single instance.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Some Of The Uses Of Identifying Clauses In The Construction Of Knowledge

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 277):
… establishing uniqueness, glossing (technical) names, and interpreting evidence. …
Such clauses are important because they represent a strategy for expanding the naming resources of a language, in both everyday discourse and technical or scientific discourse. They underpin dictionary definitions, where the Process is often absent from the structure …

Friday, 27 April 2018

Identified And Identifier

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 276):
In the ‘identifying’ mode, some thing has an identity assigned to it. What this means is that one entity is being used to identify another: ‘x is identified by a’, or ‘a serves to define the identity of x’. Structurally we label the x–element, that which is to be identified, as the Identified, and the a–element, that which serves as identity, as the Identifier.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Material Attributive Clauses & Material Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 276):
Within the other major domain of attribution, the ‘material’ domain, we find an analogous situation where Attribute denotes a material quality equivalent to the Process of a ‘material’ clause, and may be formed as a participle from a material process verb; for example, 
they said that our disk was corrupted when it arrived … 
In addition, while ‘material’ clauses are typically construed with the present-in-present, ‘relational’ ones are construed with the simple present. Thus [sic] has to be interpreted as ‘material’ – market research is being conducted this week; and our disk was being corrupted (when it arrived) would be ‘material’ rather than ‘relational’.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Fact As Cause In Attributive Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 275-6):
No doubt because of this overlap, the situation regarding the status of ‘facts’ is also blurred. In principle, if a second figure comes into the picture representing the source or origin of the mental condition, it appears as ‘fact’ with a ‘mental’ clause but as ‘cause’ with a ‘relational’ one; for example:
(mental) it distresses me/I regret + that you failed
It distresses him that women ask him, to this day, to remove his dark glasses so that they can witness the marvel of his magical peepers.
(relational) I’m very distressed + because you failed
Well, I’m still afraid of him ’cause he’s bitten me.
But ‘relational attributive’ clauses with Attributes of this kind, agnate to the Process of a ‘mental’ clause, are regularly construed with ‘fact’ clauses:
(relational) I’m very distressed/it’s a great pity + that you failed
I am extremely distressed that these unfounded allegations should then have been leaked to newspapers.
The Attribute has become, in effect, a metaphorical expression of the Process of a ‘mental’ clause, and can be accompanied by a clause that is projected.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Distinguishing Mental And Attributive Clauses: Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 275, 275n): 
But these four criteria do not always coincide, and not every instance can be clearly assigned to one category or the other. ¹ … 
¹ Thus we find clauses where the participial form of the mental process verb is submodified but where the Phenomenon is also present in the form it takes in a ‘receptive’ clause; for example: she was very intrigued by alternative ideas; I was very depressed by some feedback I was getting.