Thursday, 1 March 2012

Theme Vs Mood Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 162):
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.

Embedded Clauses & Clauses Functioning As Modalities

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 162):
… these do not function as propositions or proposals — they play no part in the structure of the interaction.

Minor Clauses: Continuatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 154):
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’ … 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.
[Note that a function of so-called High Rising Terminal tone is clearly to ‘demand’ the polarity supplied by ‘back channelling’. ~cc]

Vocatives In Major Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 154):
When a vocative functions within a major clause, it is fairly ‘loosely’ integrated: it falls outside the Mood + Residue structure.

Minor Clauses: The Absolute

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 154):
… 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 …

Minor Speech Functions: Alarms

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 153-4):
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 …

Minor Speech Functions: Greetings

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 153):
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.

Minor Speech Functions: Calls

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 153):
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.

Minor Speech Functions: Exclamations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 153):
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.

Minor Speech Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 153):
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.

Unmarked Subject & Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 152):
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 …

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 152):
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’.

Ellipsis & The WH– Variable

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 151):
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.

Ellipsis & Validity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 151):
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.