Friday, 4 May 2012

Agent, Beneficiary And Range: The Textual Function Of ± Preposition

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 295-6):
… the choice of ‘plus or minus preposition’ with Agent, Beneficiary and Range … serves a textual function. … The principle is as follows. If a participant other than the Medium is in a place of prominence in the message, it tends to take a preposition (ie to be construed as ‘indirect’ participant); otherwise it does not. Prominence in the message means functioning either
(i) as marked Theme (ie Theme but not Subject) or
(ii) as ‘late news’ — that is, occurring after some other participant, or circumstance, that already follows the Process.
In other words, prominence comes from occurring either earlier or later than expected in the clause; and it is this that is being reinforced by the presence of the preposition. The preposition has become a signal of special status in the message.

Agent, Beneficiary And Range As Mixed Categories

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 295):
Semantically, therefore, Agent, Beneficiary and Range have some features of participants and some of circumstances: they are mixed. And this is reflected in the fact that grammatically also they are mixed: they may enter in to a clause either directly as nominal groups (participant–like) or indirectly in prepositional phrases (circumstance–like).

Agent, Beneficiary And Range From A Transitive And Ergative Perspectives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 295):
These, seen from a transitive perspective, are circumstantial: Agent is a kind of Manner, Beneficiary is a kind of Cause and Range is a kind of Extent; and they can all be expressed as minor processes. But seen from an ergative point of view they are additional participants in the major process: the nucleus of ‘Process + Medium’ has an inner ring of additional participants as well as an outer ring of circumstances surrounding it …