Sunday, 7 October 2012

From Less To More Permanent Attribute

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 323):
By and large, the more permanent the attribute of a Thing, the less likely it is to identify it in a particular context. So we proceed with the very impermanent, quantitative characterisation, which is nearest to a Deictic … through various qualitative features … and end up with the most permanent, the assignment to a class … Within the qualitative characteristics, if more than one is specified there is again a tendency to move from the less permanent to the more permanent …

From Most To Least Identifying Potential

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 322-3):
So the principle which puts the Theme first in the clause is the same as that which puts the Deictic first in the nominal group: start by locating the Thing in relation to the here–&–now — in the space–time context of the ongoing speech event. From there we proceed to elements which have successively less identifying potential — which, by the same token, are increasingly permanent as attributes.

Ordering Principle Common To Nominal Group And Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 322):
… there is a progression in the nominal group from the kind of element that has the greatest specifying potential to that which has the least; and this is the principle of ordering that we have already recognised in the clause. In the clause, the Theme comes first. We begin by establishing relevance: stating what it is that we are using to introduce this clause into the discourse, as ‘this is where I’m starting from’ — typically, though by no means necessarily, something that is already ‘given’ in the context. In the nominal group, we begin with the Deictic: ‘first I’ll tell you which I mean’ …