Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Abstract Material Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 196):
Material clauses do not necessarily represent concrete, physical events; they may represent abstract doings and happenings … But as the process becomes more abstract, so the distinction between Actor and Goal becomes harder to draw. … Even with concrete processes, however, we have to recognise that there are some where the Actor is involuntary, and thus in some respects like a Goal … With more abstract processes, we often find ‘operative’ and ‘receptive’ forms side by side with little difference between them … There is still some difference: if the ‘receptive’ form is used, we can probe for an explicit Actor — we can ask who by?, whereas with the ‘operative’ form we cannot.

Process Type Determines Participant Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 197):
It is important to recognise … that the functions assumed by the participants in any clause are determined by the type of process that is involved.