Saturday, 14 April 2012

Meteorological Processes: Material Clauses Without Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 259):
This last type [construed as it + a verb in the ‘present in present’ tense] is unique in English, in that it has no participant in it.  The it serves the interpersonal function of Subject, like the there in an ‘existential’ clause, but has no function in transitivity — if you are told that it’s raining, you cannot ask What is? and the it cannot be theme–predicated … or serve as an identified Theme or Rheme … On the other hand the tense is clearly that of a ‘material’ process.  These clauses can be analysed as consisting of a single element, the Process; they are the limiting case of a ‘material’ process clause.

Meteorological Processes: Existential, Material & Relational

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 258-9):
On this borderline between the ‘existential’ and the ‘material’ there is a special category of processes to do with the weather: meteorological processes … Some are construed existentially … Some are construed as material events … Some are construed as relational attributives … some are construed as it + a verb in the ‘present in present’ tense …


Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 258):
The entity or event which is said to exist is labelled, simply, Existent.  In principle, there can ‘exist’ any kind of phenomenon that can be construed as a ‘thing’: person, object, institution, abstraction; but also any action or eventAnd here the ‘existential’ merges into the ‘material’ type of clause: there is little difference in meaning between ‘existential’ there was a robbery and ‘material: creative’  a robbery took place

Existential Clause Complexes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 258):
Another common way of ‘locating’ the process in space–time is to follow it with a non-finite clause, for example … there’s a patient to see you; the two together form a clause complex.

Existential Clauses Without Subjects

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 258):
Frequently an ‘existential’ clause contains a distinct circumstantial element of time or place … If the circumstantial element is thematic, the Subject there may be omitted — but it will turn up if there is a tag: on the wall (there) was a Picasso painting, wasn’t there?

Existential Clauses: Verbs

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 258):
‘Existential’ clauses typically have the verb be; in this respect also they resemble ‘relational’ clauses. But the other verbs that commonly occur are mainly different from either the ‘attributive’ or the ‘identifying’ …

Existential ‘There’: Experiential & Interpersonal Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 257):
The word there in such clauses is neither a participant nor a circumstance — it has no representational function in the transitivity structure of the clause; but it serves to indicate the feature of existence, and it is needed interpersonally as a Subject. Unlike participants and circumstances this existential there cannot be queried, theme–predicated or theme–identified

Existential ‘There’: Textual Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 257):
Textually the [unmarked] Theme is just the feature of existence (there), allowing the addressee to prepare for something that is about to be introduced; and this something is presented as New information.

Projected Clauses: Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 253-4):
The projected clause may be either 
(a) a proposition, realised by a finite clause … or 
(b) a proposal, realised by a perfective non-finite clause … [or] by a modulated finite clause …

Projected Clauses Vs Facts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 253):
The status of the reported and quoted clause is analogous to that of an ‘idea’ clause introduced by a ‘mental’ clause: it is … not rankshifted, and in this respect such clauses differ from rankshifted ‘fact’ clauses serving as the Phenomenon of a ‘mental’ clause.