Saturday, 30 November 2013

Complementarity As Extension

Halliday (2008: 36):
Complementarity is what turns “either / or” into “both + and”. …
And one thing is obvious: grammar has no place for “either/or-ism”; it always turns “either / or” into “both + and” …

Friday, 29 November 2013

Complementarity In Grammar: Construing Agency (Transitive + Ergative)

Halliday (2008: 35-6):
Then think of agency: how it is that processes are brought about. Either I do something, which may or may not impact on some other entity (I as Actor; plus or minus a Goal); or I do something, which may or may not be caused by some other entity (I as Medium; plus or minus an Agent). Whichever way we choose to model these, whether as extension (“transitive”) or as causation (“ergative”), we cannot know all about how processes with two participants take place.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Complementarity In Grammar: Construing Time (Tense + Aspect)

Halliday (2008: 35):
The grammar of every language is (in one of its metafunctions, the ideational) a construal of human experience: it constructs our “reality” by transforming our experiences into meanings. And in doing this, the grammar often has to choose: to choose either one way of seeing things, or the other. For example, think of time. Either time is a linear progression, out of future through present into past; or else it is a translation from the virtual into the actual. It can’t be both. We may choose to model it (and note here that I am talking about our grammar — not our theory of grammar, our “grammatics”; so we means the speakers of the language, not the linguists) … so let us say our language may choose to model it either as tense, or as aspect;

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Complementarity Of Spoken And Written Language

Halliday (2008: 19-20):
The point to be made is that one aspect of the complementarity of spoken and written language lies in their different ways of achieving and managing complexity. The complexity of written language resides in its density: the way it packages its meanings into highly condensed, mainly noun-based structures which combine into rather simple clausal configurations. The complexity of spoken language resides in its intricacy: the way it knots together long strands of quite sparsely loaded clauses into intricate patterns of logical-semantic relationships. So the complementarity of speaking and writing is not simply that of their different modes of being and of happening, but rather in the different strategies for the organisation of meaning — as “spoken language” and “written language” — that have evolved to match, and to exploit, these two different modes of existence.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Vector Of Instantiation

Halliday (2008: 13):
Observed from close up, language appears in the guise of text, instances of spoken or written discourse that can be perceived by the senses — that can be heard or seen. Observed from a distance, language appears as a potential, an open ended network of possibilities with certain statistical properties and having certain kinds of interrelationship with its eco-social environment. The text is a process of selecting, and a product of selection, from within this overall potential.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Complementarity Of Language As System And Language As Text

Halliday (2008: 13):
I feel it is important to refer to the complementarity in these terms, “language as system” and “language as text”, in order to stress that these are two aspects of one single phenomenon — not two different phenomena, as is implied if you use a simple duality like “language and text”, or “langue and parole”. System and text are one and the same phenomenon; the system is simply the potential that is instantiated in every moment of discourse.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The “Trinocular” Perspective

Halliday (2008: 6):
The boundaries of any grammatical category are likely to be fuzzy […] — such indeterminacy is a general property of the grammar. The grammarian attempts to define each category as accurately as possible, looking at it from three different angles: its systemic environment (contrast with other term or terms in the system, and the relationship of that system to other systems); its meaning (proportionality in semantic terms), and it form. In other words, the grammarian adopts a “trinocular” perspective on the stratal hierarchy so that every category is viewed “from round about”, “from above” and “from below”. And since the views from these different angles often conflict, assigning instances to a particular category involves some degree of compromise, where criteria will depend on the purposes of the description.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Grammatical System

Halliday (2008: 5,6):
This is the “system” in the sense in which it was formulated and defined by JR Firth (Firth 1957a,b); the system is the paradigmatic relation that “gives value to” the elements of syntagmatic structure. […] It is the system that defines the set of options from which any feature derives its value. […] What characterises the system is the regular proportionality between its terms. The system is closed, so that its terms are mutually defining […]

Friday, 22 November 2013

Construing Experience: Lexis-Grammar Complementarity

Halliday (2008: 3):
It seemed to me that the lexis and the grammar were complementary, at least in their reality-construing, ideational function. In principle, any phenomenon of human experience could be construed either way: either lexically, as specific and open-ended, or grammatically, as generalised and closed; and hence, if some phenomenon showed a high degree of complexity, it might be construed in both ways at once.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Construing Experience [Defined]

Halliday (2008: 2):
I had always been interested in the ways in which the “grammars” of natural languages — that is, the lexicogrammatical resources as a whole — parcelled out the immense task of representing human experience. I referred to this as construing, with construe meaning “construct semiotically, transform into meaning”; so the task of transforming experience into meaning.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Text (Discourse) Analysis: Why A Text Is Meaningful

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 658):
A text is meaningful because it is an actualisation of the potential that constitutes the linguistic system; it is for this reason that the study of discourse (‘text linguistics’) cannot properly be separated from the study of the grammar that lies behind it.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Text (Discourse) Analysis: Metaphorical Interpretation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 658):
What the metaphorical interpretation does is to suggest how an instance in the text may be referred to the system of language as a whole. It is therefore an important link in the total chain of explanations whereby we relate the text to the system.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Text (Discourse) Analysis: Purpose

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 658):
In the most general terms, the purpose of analysis a text is to explain the impact that it makes: why it means what it does, and why it gives the particular impression that it does.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Metaphorical Wording

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 657):
The important point to make is that a piece of wording that is metaphorical has as it were an additional dimension of meaning: it ‘means’ both metaphorically and congruently. … however far one may choose to go in unpacking ideational metaphor, it is important also to analyse each instance as it is.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Nominalisation: Evolution

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 657):
This kind of nominalising metaphor probably evolved first in scientific and technical registers, where it played a dual rôle: it made it possible on the one hand to construct hierarchies of technical terms, and on the other hand to develop an argument step by step, using complex passages ‘packaged’ in nominal form as Themes. It has gradually worked its way through into most other varieties of adult discourse, in much of which, however, it loses its original raison d’être and tends to become merely a mark of prestige and power.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Nominalisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 656-7):
Nominalising is the single most powerful resource for creating grammatical metaphor. By this device, processes (congruently worded as verbs) and properties (congruently worded as adjectives) are reworded metaphorically as nouns; instead of functioning in the clause, as Process or Attribute, they function as Thing in the nominal group. … What the happens to the original ‘things’? They get displaced by the metaphoric ones, and so are reduced to modifying these…

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Spoken Choreographic Complexity Vs Written Crystalline Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 656):
In spoken language, the ideational content is loosely strung out, but in clausal patterns that can become highly intricate in movement: the complexity is dynamic — we might think of it in choreographic terms. In written language, the clausal patterns are typically simple; but the ideational content is densely packed in nominal constructions: here the complexity is more static — perhaps crystalline.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

How To Measure Lexical Density

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 655):
To measure lexical density, simply divide the number of lexical items by the number of ranking clauses.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Written Vs Spoken Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 654):
Typically, written language becomes complex by being lexically dense: it packs a large number of lexical items into each clause; whereas spoken language becomes complex by being grammatically intricate: it builds up elaborate clause complexes out of parataxis and hypotaxis.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Realisational Downgradings Of Elements

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 652):
When the realisation of a whole figure is downgraded through metaphor from clause to nominal group, its elements will of course also be downgraded: the process is nominalised and serves as Thing… ; the other elements of the figure are realised either as downranked groups/phrases serving as Qualifier or Deictic… or, by a further step, as words serving as Classifier, Epithet or Post-Deictic.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Some Possible Realisational Downgradings Of Figures

All Of Figure Realised As Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 650):
The incongruent realisation of a figure may retain the clause as the domain of realisation, but downgrade all of the figure as a metaphorical nominal group, creating a new Process.


Part Of Figure Realised As Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 650-1):
The incongruent realisation of a figure may retain the clause as the domain of realisation, but downgrade … part of the figure as a metaphorical nominal group.


Figure Realised As Group/Phrase

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 651):
The incongruent realisation of the figure may downgrade the domain from clause to group/phrase. Grammatically, this is only possible in an environment of rankshift, as when the congruent clause or metaphorical group/phrase serves as the Head or Postmodifier of a nominal group.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Some Possible Realisational Downgradings Of Sequences

One Figure Of Expansion Sequence Realised As Circumstance

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 646-7):
With expansion, one figure of a sequence may be realised congruently by a clause, while the other is realised incongruently as a prepositional phrase serving as a circumstantial element within that clause; here the relator of the sequence is realised as the minor Process of the phrase. The relator and the minor Process are matched in terms of subtype of expansion.

Projecting Figure Of Sequence Realised As Range

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 647):
With projection, the projecting figure may be realised congruently as a ‘verbal’ or ‘mental’ clause, while the projected figure is realised incongruently as the Range — the Verbiage or the Phenomenon.

Expansion Sequence Realised As Circumstantial Relational Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 647-8):
With expansion, both figures of a sequence may be realised incongruently as Token and Value in a ‘circumstantial relational’ clause; here the relator of the sequence is realised, also incongruently, as the Process element in the clause. The expansion type of the relator is matched by the nature of the circumstantial process. … Alternatively, the ‘circumstantial relational’ clause is ‘attributive’ rather than ‘identifying’, with expanding figure as Attribute and the expanded one as Carrier.

Sequence Of Internal Cause Realised As Intensive Identifying Relational Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 648):
Relations of internal cause — cause in the sense of ‘x so I think/say y’ — are construed metaphorically by verbs of proving such as prove, show, demonstrate, argue, suggest, indicate, imply in ‘intensive identifying relational’ clauses.

Expansion Sequence Realised As Intensive Identifying Relational Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 648):
With expansion, both figures of the sequence may be realised incongruently as Token and Value in an ‘intensive relational’ clause; but the relator is nominalised as the Thing of the nominal group serving as Value, and the expanding figure is embedded as a Qualifier. The nominalised relator is a noun of expansion such as time, place, cause, result, reason.

Projected Figure Of Sequence Realised As Embedded Fact

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 649):
With projection, the projected figure may be realised metaphorically as an embedded ‘fact’ clause serving as Token.

Relator And Figure Of Expansion Sequence Realised As Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 649):
With expansion, the relator in the sequence may be realised incongruently as a noun serving as the Head or Thing of the nominal group and the figure(s) being related as Modifier.

Figures Of Projection Sequence Realised As Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 649):
With projection, the projecting figure in a sequence may be realised incongruently as a noun of projection serving as the Head/Thing of a nominal group and the projected figure as a downranked clause serving as Qualifier.

Sequence Realised As Clause: Domino Effect

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 649-50):
There is always a domino effect: as the realisational domain of the sequence is downgraded, so are the realisational domains of its component parts. At least one of the figures is, in turn, realised metaphorically as a ranking group or phrase, and elements within figures are realised either by downranked groups or phrases or by words.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Why The Downgrading In Ideational Metaphor Is Possible

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 646):
These successive steps in downgrading are possible because both projection and expansion are motifs that are manifested throughout the grammatical system: a sequence of projection can thus be realised not only by the manifestation of projection in the clause nexus, but also by its manifestation in the clause or the group/phrase. The same principle applies to expansion.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Downgrading Tendency Of Ideational Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 646):
… the general tendency for ideational metaphor is to ‘downgrade’ the domain of grammatical realisation of a semantic sequence, figure or element — from clause nexus to clause, from clause to group/phrase, and even from group or phrase to word. Such downgrading affects both the unit whose domain of realisation is downgraded, and the units of which it is composed: the downgrading proceeds down the rank scale by a kind of ‘domino effect’.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Upgrading Tendency Of Interpersonal Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 646):
The general tendency is for interpersonal metaphor to ‘upgrade’ the domain of grammatical realisation; for example, while the congruent realisation of modality is a group serving in the clause, the metaphorical realisation is a clause that projects or embeds the clause to which a modal value is assigned. In this way, interpersonal metaphor tends to expand interpersonal systems by adding explicit variants — that is, variants where the subjective or objective orientation is made explicit.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Strategy That Is Ideational Metaphor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 646):
… grammatical metaphor of the ideational kind is primarily a strategy enabling us to transform our experience of the world: the model of experience construed in the congruent mode is reconstrued in the metaphorical mode, creating a model that is further removed from our everyday experience — but which has made modern science possible.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Interpersonal Effects Of Ideational Metaphor: Figure Realised By Group Or Phrase

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 645):
… when a figure is realised metaphorically by a group or phrase, it is deprived of the interpersonal status of a proposition or proposal, making it inarguable. It is thus presented as something already established; and any modifications, including interpersonal evaluative ones, have to be taken for granted.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Interpersonal Effects Of Ideational Metaphor: Sequence Realised By Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 645):
When a sequence is realised metaphorically by a clause, it is given the interpersonal status of a proposition or proposal, making it arguable. … a ‘propositionalised’ sequence can be modalised, doubted, argued and negotiated interpersonally in numerous other ways.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Textual Effects Of Ideational Metaphor: Figure Realised By Nominal Group


Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 644):
… a figure, realised metaphorically by a nominal group rather than congruently as a clause, gains access to the textual systems of the nominal group — most significantly, the system of determination.  This means it can be treated textually as a discourse referent.  It is marked either as ‘non-specific’ or as ‘specific’, in which case the identity is presented as recoverable to the addressee.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Textual Effects Of Ideational Metaphor: Sequence Realised By Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 642-3, 644): 
When a sequence is realised metaphorically by a clause, this means not only that it is mapped onto the transitivity patterns of the clause but also that it falls within the domain of Theme + Rheme organisation of the clause and also, by extension, that of the Given + New organisation of the information unit. … There is thus a gain in textual meaning in the shift from the congruent mode of realisation to the metaphoric mode.
… when a sequence is realised by a clause rather than by a clause nexus, it will be structured textually into Theme + Rheme and, since a clause is an information unit in the unmarked case, also into Given + New. This means that the figures that make up the sequence can be given thematic or newsworthy status.