Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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Mood & Tone: Declaratives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 167):
Declarative clauses most frequently combine with tone 1 [fall], the feature of certainty; but there is a secondary motif, also very common, whereby the declarative goes with tone 4 [fall-rise], showing some kind of reservation.

Monday, 21 August 2017

How To Identify Tone

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 167):
The actual pitch contour traced by any one tone group may be extremely complex; but the distinctive movement takes place at the point of tonic prominence. Whatever direction is taken by the tonic foot (tonic segment) determines the tone of the tone group.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Interpersonal System Of Tone

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 167):
The fundamental opposition is that between falling and rising; the whole of the tone system can in fact be constructed out of that simple contrast. At the most general level, falling tone means certainty, rising tone means uncertainty. A neutral, more or less level tone, is one that opts out of the choice. There are then two possibilities for forming more complex tones: falling-rising, which means something like ‘seems to be certain but isn’t’, and rising-falling, complementary to that, which means ‘seems not to be certain but is’.  This defines the five simple tones of spoken English. In addition, two compound tones are formed by adding the neutral tone to one that ends with a fall. The simple tones are numbered 1 to 5, the compound ones 13 and 53 (‘one three’, ‘five three’).

Saturday, 19 August 2017

3rd Person Imperatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
We may also recognise a third person imperative form as in Lord save us!; these are rare except in exclamations and in young children’s speech (e.g. Daddy carry me!). Here, too, there is a Subject but no Finite operator. These never occur with pronoun Subject; if the Subject required is a pronoun it will always be accompanied by let as in let them beware!.  This is therefore comparable to let me, and also to let us, from which, of course, the modern let’s originally derives. (The older variant let you ... no longer occurs.)

Friday, 18 August 2017

Let Me: Command Or Offer?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
Note however that the meaning of ‘offer’ is dependent only on the particular goods-&-services referred to: if the meaning required is ‘allow me to’, the same form will be heard as a command with let as second person imperative. Hence an expression such as let me go is ambiguous: either offer, first person imperative (= ‘I offer to go’, with the tag shall I?), or command, second person imperative (= ‘release me’, with the tag won’t you? or will you?). An expression such as let me help you is similarly interpretable either way; but here the effect is a blend, since even the second person imperative ‘allow me to help you’ will still be functioning as an offer.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Let Me Offer

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
Is there also a ‘me’ type, a first person imperative realising a simple offer? The forms most commonly found are let me and I’ll; the latter is clearly declarative, but let me may be interpreted as imperative on the analogy of let’s.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Imperatives Realising Suggestions (Command + Offer)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
The ‘you–and–me’ type, with let’s, realises a suggestion, something that is at the same time both command and offer.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Imperatives: Let’s

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 166):
What is the analysis of let’s? Given its place in the paradigm, it is best interpreted as a wayward form of the Subject ‘you and I’ (note that the marked person is realised by Ictus
on let’s, parallel to that on you). The only anomalous form then is the response Yes, let’s!, No, let’s not!, which on this analysis has Subject and no Finite; but in each case there is an alternative form with the Finite element in it, Yes, do let’s!, No, don’t let’s!, which also suggests that let’s is felt to be a Subject. (The order do let’s corresponds to the earlier second person ordering as in Do you look!.)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Imperatives: Do & Don't

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 165):
Historically the forms do, don’t derived from non-finite forms of the verb do, but they now function analogously to the Finite operator in an indicative clause; compare the dialogic sequence Look! – Shall I? – Yes, do! or No, don’t!, with the response consisting of Mood element only.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Imperatives: Mood Elements & Finiteness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 165):
the unmarked positive has no Mood element, the verb form (eg look) is Predicator only, with no Finite in it. The other forms have a Mood element; this consists of Subject only (you), Finite only (do, don’t), or Finite followed by Subject. Any of these can be followed by a Mood tag: won’t you?, will you? — showing that the clause is finite, even though the verb is non-finite (the imperative of be is be, as in Be quiet!, not the finite form are).  Historically the forms do, don’t derived from non-finite forms of the verb do, but they now function analogously to the Finite operator in an indicative clause; compare the dialogic sequence Look! – Shall I? – Yes, do! or No, don’t!, with the response consisting of Mood element only.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Imperatives: Person

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 165):

The imperative has a different system of person from the indicative. Since the imperative is the mood for exchanging goods–&–services, its Subject is ‘you’ or ‘me’ or ‘you and me’.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Exclamations: Grammatical Realisations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 164):
Exclamative clauses … have a distinct grammar; but other mood types may also realise exclamations; this includes yes/no interrogative clauses that are negative in polarity…
Isn’t it amazing!
However, unlike clauses that are exclamative in mood, such clauses do not have a distinctively exclamative grammar.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Exclamative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 164):
These clauses have the WH- element what or how, in nominal or adverbial group. … what conflates with a Complement, as in what tremendously easy riddles you askthis is often an attributive Complement, as in what a fool he is. how conflates with an Adjunct, as in how beautifully you make loveIn earlier English the Finite in these clauses preceded the Subject, as in how are the mighty fallenbut since the Finite ^ Subject sequence became specifically associated with the interrogative mood, the normal order in exclamatives has become Subject ^ Finite.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Conflation Of WH- And Element Of Projected Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 164):
In addition, the WH- element may be conflated with an element from a clause that is projected by the WH- interrogative clause; for example:
How much chicken do you think → I had __ Kate?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

WH- Elements & “Preposition Stranding”

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 163-4):
In the selection of the WH- element, the category of Complement can extend to include the minor Complement of a prepositional phrase. Here the WH- element is conflated with the minor Complement of a prepositional phrase serving as a circumstantial Adjunct in the clause. Since the WH- element is thematic, the minor Complement of the prepositional phrase is given the status of Theme, while the minor Predicator appears within the Rheme, in the position the Adjunct has when it is not thematic; for example:
Who were you talking to?

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Conflation Of WH- And Predicator?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 161, 163):
What about WH- / Predicator? There is always the possibility that the missing piece the speaker wishes to have supplied may be something that is expressed in the verb — an action, event, mental process or relation — and hence functioning as Predicator. But the WH- element cannot be conflated with the Predicator; there is no verb to what in English, so we cannot ask whatted he? Questions of this kind are realised as do + what (Complement), or what (Subject) + happen, and whatever had something done to it, or happen to it, comes in as an Adjunct, in the form of a prepositional phrase, usually with the preposition to.

This is one kind of Adjunct that is almost never thematic, for obvious reasons – not only would it have to override a WH- element, but it is not functioning as a circumstantial element anyway.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

WH- Element: Function & Position

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 160):
The WH- element is a distinct element in the interpersonal structure of the clause. Its function is to specify the entity that the questioner wishes to have supplied. … it typically takes a thematic position in the clause. The WH- element is always conflated with one or another of the three functions of Subject, Complement or Adjunct. If it is conflated with the Subject, it is part of the Mood element, and the order within the Mood element must therefore be Subject^Finite.
If on the other hand the WH- element is conflated with a Complement or Adjunct, it is part of the Residue; and in that case the typical interrogative ordering within the Mood element reasserts itself, and we have Finite preceding Subject.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Expletives Vs Attitudinal Lexis With No Grammatical Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 160):
We should distinguish from Expletives the individual lexical items (‘swear words’) that may be sprinkled anywhere throughout the discourse and have no grammatical function in the clause (as with bloody in it’s a bloody taxation bloody policy, God).
Cf Halliday (1994: 85):
Note that individual lexical items expressing the speaker’s attitude, when incorporated into the structure of a group (usually a nominal group, like bloody in those bloody mosquitoes), have no grammatical function in the clause.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Expletives: Distribution And Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 159):
Likewise outside the structure of the Mood and Residue, and occurring in more or less the same places as Vocatives in the clause, are Expletives, whereby the speaker enacts his own current attitude or state of mind. These are perhaps on the fringe of grammatical structure; but since they participate fully in the intonation and rhythm of the clause they do figure in the analysis.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Vocatives: Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 159):
In using a Vocative the speaker is enacting the participation of the addressee or addressees in the exchange. This may serve to identify the particular person being addressed, or to call for that person’s attention; but in many dialogic contexts the function of the Vocative is more negotiatory: the speaker uses it to mark the interpersonal relationship, sometimes thereby claiming superior status or power. The Vocative is also brought in as a text signal, for example, when signing off in a telephone conversation.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Vocatives: Distribution

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 159):
Another element that figures in the structure of the clause as exchange, but outside the scope of the Mood and Residue, is the Vocative. This also is fairly mobile, occurring (a) thematically; (b) at the boundary between Theme and Rheme (not usually between Mood and Residue) or (c) clause–finally; and with the same intonation patterns as the comment Adjuncts. The Vocative can accompany a clause of any mood, but it is relatively more frequent in ‘demanding’ clauses (interrogatives and imperatives) than in ‘giving’ ones (declaratives).

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Conjunctive Adjuncts: Neither Mood Nor Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 158):
But note that they form a constituent on their own; they are not part of the Mood or the Residue.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Commonality Of Conjunctive And Modal Adjuncts Vs Circumstantial Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 158):
What is common to the modal and conjunctive Adjuncts, as distinct from the circumstantials, is that they are both constructing a context for the clause. Thus even though the same semantic feature may be involved, for example time, it has a different significance in each case. A modal Adjunct of time, such as just, yet, already, relates closely to the primary tense, which is the ‘shared time’ of speaker and listener; a conjunctive Adjunct of time, such as next, meanwhile, locates the clause in time with respect to the preceding textual environment; and both are different from time as circumstance, such as in the afternoon. And the same item may function sometimes circumstantially and sometimes conjunctively; for example, then, at that moment, later on, again.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Conjunctive And Modal Adjuncts Vs Circumstantial Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 158):
The two types of Adjuncts are also similar both in their own composition (as adverbial groups and prepositional phrases) and in how they may be differentiated from circumstantial Adjuncts. Whereas circumstantial Adjuncts fall most naturally at the end of the clause, where they carry the unmarked tonic (intonational) prominence, modal and conjunctive Adjuncts occur finally only as Afterthought and can never carry the only tonic prominence in the clause. … And while they all can occur thematically, only the circumstantial Adjuncts can normally occur as predicated Theme …

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Conjunctive Adjuncts And Modal Adjuncts: Commonality Of Distribution

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 157):
The conjunctive Adjuncts … are not necessarily thematic; they may occur elsewhere in the clause, and in fact their distribution — where they can go, and what difference it makes to meaning — is quite similar to that of modal Adjuncts, especially those of Comment.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Conjunctive Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 157):
… unlike modal Adjuncts, which are interpersonal in function, conjunctive Adjuncts are textual — they set up a contextualising relationship with some other (typically preceding) portion of text. The semantic basis of this contextualising function is that of the logical–semantic relationships of expansion. But the conjunctive Adjuncts construct these relationships by cohesion — that is, without creating a structural link in the grammar between the two parts.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Modal Assessment: Mood & Comment Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 157):
The distinction into mood and comment Adjunct is made on this interpersonal basis. They represent different types of assessment of the proposition or proposal.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Adjuncts Not Within The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 156):
These are the modal Adjuncts [in Mood or Comment] and the conjunctive Adjuncts [not in mood structure]. … The distinction among these different kinds of Adjuncts is a metafunctional one. … Modal and conjunctive Adjuncts are, respectively, interpersonal and textual in metafunction; hence they occur at different locations within the clause.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Discontinuous Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 155):
The typical order of elements in the Residue is: Predicator ^ Complement(s) ^ Adjunct(s) … But … an Adjunct or Complement may occur thematically, either as a WH- element in an interrogative clause or as marked Theme in a declarative clause. This does not mean that it becomes part of the Mood element; it is still within the Residue. As a result, therefore, the Residue is split into two parts; it becomes discontinuous.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Adjunct: Realisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 155):
An Adjunct is typically realised by an adverbial group or prepositional phrase (rather than by a nominal group). … A prepositional phrase, however, has its own internal structure, containing a nominal group serving as Complement within it … which … could become Subject.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Three Degrees Of Interpersonal Elevation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 155):
We thus have three degrees of interpersonal ranking or elevation in the clause: Subject — Complement — Adjunct.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Adjunct (& Subject) [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 154-5):
An Adjunct is an element that has not got the potential of being Subject; that is, it cannot be elevated to the interpersonal status of modal responsibility. This means that arguments cannot be constructed around those elements that serve as Adjuncts; in experiential terms, they cannot be constructed around circumstances, but they can be constructed around participants, either actually, as Subject, or potentially, as Complement … .

Friday, 21 July 2017

Complement Vs Traditional Object/Complement

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 154):
It will be noted that the Complement covers what are ‘objects’ as well as what are ‘complements’ in traditional school grammar ('predicative complements', usually serving as Attribute or Value in a 'relational' clause). But that distinction has no place in the interpersonal structure; it is imported from the experiential analysis, that of transitivity.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Complement (& Subject) [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 153-4):
A Complement is an element within the Residue that has the potential of being Subject but is not; in other words, it is an element that has the potential for being given the interpersonally elevated status of modal responsibility — something that can be the nub of the argument. It is typically realised by a nominal group. … Any nominal group not functioning as Subject will be a Complement; and this includes nominal groups of one type which could not function as Subject as they stand, namely those with adjective as Head … There is an explanation of this ‘from above’ in terms of function in transitivity: nominal groups with adjective as Head can function in the clause only as Attributes, and the Attribute cannot be mapped onto the interpersonal rôle of Subject. This is because only participants in the clause can take modal responsibility, and the Attribute is only marginally, if at all, a participant.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Lexical Verbs 'Be' And 'Have'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 153):
There are two lexical verbs in English, be and have, where, strictly speaking, the simple past and simple present forms consist of Finite element only, rather than of a fusion of Finite with Predicator. This is shown by the negatives: the negative of is, was is isn’t, wasn’t – not doesn’t be, didn’t be. Similarly with have (in the sense of ‘possess’, not have in the sense of ‘take’): the negative forms are hasn’t, hadn’t. The pattern with have varies with the dialect: some speakers treat have ‘possess’ just like have ‘take’, with negative doesn’t have; others expand it as have + got (cf. I haven’t a clue / I don’t have a clue / I haven’t got a clue). But since in all other tenses be and have function as Predicators in the normal way, it seems simpler to analyse them regularly, as ‘(past/present) + be/have’.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Ordering Of Finite And Predicator

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 152):
… a finite verbal group serves as both Finite and Predicator … . When the Finite and the Predicator are not fused, the Predicator follows the Finite, but certain other elements may come between them, making the verbal group discontinuous: the Subject in ‘interrogative’ clauses where the Finite precedes the Subject (as in can <you> tell) and Adjuncts (as in had <originally> planned to present.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Why Phrasal Verbs Are Predicator + Adjunct

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 152n):
Note that if the lexical verb is a phrasal one, the non-verbal part, the adverb and/or preposition, serves as Adjunct, thus falling outside the scope of the Predicator. The combination of Predicator + Adjunct corresponds to the Process. This analysis enables us to account for discontinuous Processes realised by phrasal verbs, as in look that one up in the dictionary with look up as Process, and look as Predicator and up as Adjunct: [Predicator:] look [Complement:] that one [Adjunct:] up [Adjunct:] in the dictionary.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Fourfold Function Of The Predicator

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151-2):
(i) It specifies time reference other than reference to the time of the speech event, that is, ‘secondary’ tense: past, present or future relative to the primary tense.
 (ii) It specifies various other aspects and phases such as seeming, trying, hoping.
(iii) It specifies the voice: active or passive.
(iv) It specifies the process (action, event, mental process, relation) that is predicated of the Subject.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Traditional Term ‘Predicate’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151n):
['Predicate'] has been used in traditional grammar, formal grammar (where it is roughly equivalent to VP, or Verb Phrase) and logic. From a functional point of view, its use in accounts of grammar represents an attempt to characterise Rheme and/or Residue.

Friday, 14 July 2017


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151):
The Predicator is present in all major clauses, except those where it is displaced through ellipsis. It is realised by a verbal group minus the temporal or modal operator, which … functions as the Finite in the Mood element … The Predicator itself is thus non-finite; and there are non-finite clauses containing a Predicator but no Finite element

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 151):
The Residue consists of functional elements of three kinds: Predicator, Complement and Adjunct. There can be only one Predicator, one or two Complements, and an indefinite number of Adjuncts up to, in principle, about seven.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Semantic Function Of The Mood Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 150):
… the Mood element has a clearly defined semantic function: it carries the burden of the clause as an interactive event. So it remains constant, as the nub of the proposition, unless some positive step is taken to change it …

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Subject: Natural Dialogic Interaction

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 150):
But to see the interpersonal significance of Subject, we have to take natural dialogic interaction seriously as a source of insight into the grammar; if we only focus on monologic discourse such as narrative, Subject will appear to be the same as Theme since Subject = Theme is the unmarked mapping.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Commonality Of Theme, Subject & Medium: Anchor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 149):

So the Subject is a thick, well-rounded category along with all the other elements in the structure of the clause. The fact that it proves difficult to define does not distinguish it from Theme or Actor or Medium or many other equally pregnant categories. All are subject to the general principle of ineffabilitythey mean themselves (see Halliday, 1984b).  The guiding axiom is the metafunctional one: just as the Theme is best understood by starting from the concept of the clause as message, so the Subject is best understood by starting from the concept of the clause as exchange, a move in dialogic interaction. Each of the two can be thought of as an anchor; … the Medium plays an analogous rôle in the clause as representation.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Validity & Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 119):
The notion of validity relates to the arguing of the case, if it is a proposition, or to the putting into effect, if it is a proposal. The Subject is that element in which the particular kind of validity (according to the mood) is being invested.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Predication & Truth Value

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 148):
The problem only arises when predication is interpreted in terms of truth value, since proposals — commands and offers — have no truth value. This mistake arose because predication was assumed to be an experiential relation; but it is not — it is an interpersonal relation, enacting the form of exchange between speaker and listener.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Identity Of ‘Subject’ Established From A Trinocular Perspective

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 148): 
(i) From below, it is that nominal element (nominal group or nominalised phrase or clause) that is picked up by the pronoun in the mood tag.
(ii) From round about, it is that which combines with the Finite (operator) to form the Mood element in the clause; it is also that which constitutes the unmarked Theme if the mood is declarative, and which switches place with the Finite if the mood is yes/no interrogative.
(iii) From above, it is that which carries the modal responsibility; that is, responsibility for the validity of what is being predicated (stated, questioned, commanded or offered) in the clause.

This last point is the basic insight that informed the original, pre-structuralist interpretation of the Subject function, that in terms of a configuration of Subject + Predicate.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Problematic Notion Of Subject As "Purely Grammatical"

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 147-8):
The interpretation of the functional category of Subject in English has always been rather problematic. As we noted above, the definition of Subject inherited from classical times was a morphological one: it was that nominal element – ‘noun or pronoun’ – that is in the nominative case, and that displays person and number concord with the (finite) verb. But few traces remain, either of case in the noun or of person and number in the verb. What made the situation more problematic was that, in the structuralist tradition, the Subject was said to be a purely grammatical element, operating at the syntactic level but without semantic significance. That something should be a grammatical function whose only function is to be a grammatical function is already somewhat anomalous; it becomes even more anomalous if it has no clear syntactic definition.

Blogger Comment:

In the Cardiff Grammar (e.g. Fawcett 2010), Subject is construed as a syntactic category.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Subject Vs Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 147):
So, if we want to know why the speaker chooses this or that particular item as Subject of a proposition, there are two factors to be borne in mind. One is that, other things being equal, the same item will function both as Subject and as Theme. We saw in Chapter 3 that the unmarked Theme of a declarative clause is the Subject; so if the speaker wants to make the teapot his Theme, and to do so without the added implication of contrast that would be present if he made it a marked Theme (i.e. a Theme which is not also Subject, as in that teapot the duke gave to my aunt), he will choose an option with that teapot as Subject, namely that teapot was given by the duke to my aunt. Here there is an integrated choice of an item realising two functions simultaneously: Subject in the proposition, and Theme in the message. 
At the same time, however, the selection of this item as Subject has a meaning in its own right: the speaker is assigning to the teapot not only the function of starting point of the message but also that of ‘resting point’ of the argument. And this is brought out if we dissociate one from the other, selecting different items as Subject and as Theme.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Modal Responsibility: Propositions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 146):
This rôle [modal responsibility] is clearly recognisable in the case of offers and commands; but it is the same principle that is at work in statements and questions. Here, too, the Subject specifies the ‘responsible’ element; but in a proposition this means the one on which the validity of the information is made to rest. (It is important to express it in these terms rather than in terms of true or false. The relevant concept is that of exchangeability, setting something up so that it can be caught, returned, smashed, lobbed back, etc. Semantics has nothing to do with truth; it is concerned with consensus about validity, and consensus is negotiated in dialogue.)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Modal Responsibility: Proposals

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 146):
It is perhaps easier to see this principle of responsibility in a proposal (a ‘goods-&-services’ clause), where the Subject specifies the one that is actually responsible for realising (i.e., in this case, for carrying out) the offer or command. … Hence the typical Subject of an offer is the speaker, and that of a command is the person being addressed.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Subject And Modal Responsibility

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 146):
It is the [Subject], in other words, in whom is vested the success or failure of the proposition.  [It] is the one that is, so to speak, being held responsible — responsible for the functioning of the clause as an interactive event. The speaker rests his case on the [Subject + Finite], and this is what the listener is called on to acknowledge.

Blogger Comments:

Be aware that, in his model of discourse semantics, Martin (1992: 461-91) completely misunderstands the notion of modal responsibility (evidence here), misconstruing it as an interaction pattern between strata (misconstrued as 'modules').

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Subject And Validity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 145-6):
The Subject supplies the rest of what it takes to form a proposition: namely, something by reference to which the proposition can be affirmed or denied. … the Subject specifies the entity in respect of which the assertion is claimed to have validity.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Mood Element: Verbal And Nominal Components

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 145):
Finiteness combines the specification of polarity with the specification of either temporal or modal reference to the speech event. It constitutes the verbal component in the Mood. But there has to be also a nominal component; and this is the function of the Subject.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

'Not' — Finite Or Residue?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 145):
Note that some of the negative forms, such as mayn’t, are rather infrequent; if they occur in a negative clause, the negative is usually separated (may not, used not to). In such cases, the not can be analysed as part of the Residue; but it is important to note that this is an oversimplification — sometimes it belongs functionally with the Finite, for example
you may not leave before the end (‘are not allowed to’): not is part of Finite 
you may not stay right to the end (‘are allowed not to’): not is part of Residue

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Polarity [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
Finiteness is thus expressed by means of a verbal operator that is either temporal or modal. But there is one further feature that is an essential concomitant of finiteness, and that is polarity. This is the choice between positive and negative.  In order for something to be arguable, it has to be specified for polarity: either ‘is’ or ‘isn’t’ (proposition), either ‘do!’ or ‘don’t!’ (proposal).  Thus the Finite element, as well as expressing primary tense or modality, also realises either positive or negative polarity. Each of the operators appears in both positive and negative form: did/didn’t, can/can’t, and so on.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Commonality Of Primary Tense & Modality: Interpersonal Deixis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
What these have in common is interpersonal deixis: that is, they locate the exchange within the semantic space that is opened up between speaker and listener. With primary tense, the dimension is that of time: primary tense construes time interpersonally, as defined by what is ‘present’ to you and me at the time of saying. With modality the dimension is that of assessment: modality construes a region of uncertainty where I can express, or ask you to express, an assessment of the validity of what is being said.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Modality [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
Modality means likely or unlikely (if a proposition), desirable or undesirable (if a proposal).  A proposition or proposal may become arguable through being assessed in terms of the degree of probability or obligation that is associated with it.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Primary Tense [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
Primary tense means past, present or future at the moment of speaking; it is time relative to ‘now’. A proposition may become arguable through being located in time by reference to the speech event. (There is no primary tense in proposals; cross the road! doesn’t embody a choice of past, present or future relative to the now of speaking.)

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Function Of The Finite Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 144):
The Finite element, as its name implies, has the function of making the proposition finite. That is to say, it circumscribes it; it brings the proposition down to earth, so that it is something that can be argued about. A good way to make something arguable is to give it a point of reference in the here and now; and this is what the Finite does. It relates the proposition to its context in the speech event
This can be done in one of two ways. One is by reference to the time of speaking; the other is by reference to the judgement of the speaker. An example of the first is was in an old man was crossing the road; of the second, can’t in it can’t be true. In grammatical terms, the first is primary tense, the second is modality.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Structural Realisations Of Indicative Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
(1) The presence of the Mood element, consisting of Subject plus Finite, realises the feature ‘indicative’.
 (2) Within the indicative, what is significant is the order of Subject and Finite:
(a) the order Subject before Finite realises ‘declarative’;
(b) the order Finite before Subject realises ‘yes/no interrogative’;
(c) in a ‘WH- interrogative’ the order is:
(i) Subject before Finite if the WH- element is the Subject;
(ii) Finite before Subject otherwise.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The General Principle Behind The Expression Of Clause Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
The general principle behind the expression of MOOD in the clause is as follows. The grammatical category that is characteristically used to exchange information is the indicative; within the category of indicative, the characteristic expression of a statement is the declarative, that of a question is the interrogative; and within the category of interrogative, there is a further distinction between yes-no interrogative, for polar questions, and WH- interrogative, for content questions.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Subjunctive Mode

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
Note that the system of MOOD is a system of the clause, not of the verbal group or of the verb. Many languages also have an interpersonal system of the verb(al group) that has been referred to as ‘mood’: it involves interpersonal contrasts such as indicative/subjunctive, indicative/subjunctive/optative. To distinguish these verbal contrasts from the clausal system of MOOD, we can refer to them as contrasts in mode. The subjunctive mode tends to be restricted to the environment of bound clauses — in particular, reported clauses and conditional clauses having the sense of irrealis. In Modern English, the subjunctive mode of the verb is marginal, although there is some dialectal variation.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Interpersonal Elements In Neither Mood Nor Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143n):
The combination of Mood plus Residue embody the proposition or proposal of the clause (with the Mood element as the key to the distinction between the two); but, as we shall see below, there are certain interpersonal elements of the clause that do not belong to either the Mood element or the Residue: the Vocative, and comment and conjunctive Adjuncts. These relate to, but are not part of the proposition/proposal enacted by the clause.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Why The Residue Is Not Labelled 'Proposition'

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 143):
The remainder of the clause we shall call the Residue. It has sometimes been labelled ‘Proposition’, but this term is also not very appropriate; partly because, as has been mentioned, the concept of proposition applies only to the exchange of information, not to the exchange of goods-&-services, and partly because, even in the exchange of information, if anything it is the Mood element that embodies the proposition rather than the remainder of the clause.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Mood Element vs MOOD System

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142n):
Note the distinction in capitalisation between ‘Mood’ as the name of an element of the interpersonal structure of the clause (Mood + Residue) and ‘MOOD’ as the name of the primary interpersonal system of the clause — the grammaticalisation of the semantic system of SPEECH FUNCTION. This follows the general convention whereby names of structural functions are spelt with an initial capital and names of systems with all small caps or upper case.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Mood Element Realises The Selection Of Clause Mood

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142):
Subject and Finite are closely linked together, and combine to form one constituent which we call the Mood.  The Mood is the element that realises the selection of mood in the clause; and it is also the domain of agreement between Subject and Finite.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Subjects Not Traditionally Regarded As Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 142):
Note that [this way of identifying Subject] does bring in certain things that are not traditionally regarded as Subject: not only it in it’s raining but also there in there’s trouble in the shed, both of which function as Subject in Modern English.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How To Identify The Subject Of A Declarative Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 141):
The Subject, in a declarative clause, is that element which is picked up by the pronoun in the tag. So in order to locate the Subject, add a tag (if one is not already present) and see which element is taken up. … This is not the functional definition of the Subject; it is the way to identify it.

Blogger Comment:

Blessed are the meek, aren't they?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Mistaken Notion Of Subject As “Purely Syntactic”

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 141):
… the term ‘Subject’ as we are using it corresponds to the ‘grammatical Subject’ of earlier terminology; but it is being reinterpreted here in functional terms.  The Subject is not a purely formal category; like other grammatical functions it is semantic in origin.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 149-50):
The notion of the Subject as a ‘purely syntactic’ element arose because it proved difficult to understand Subject + Predicate in an account of the grammar that recognised only the ideational kind of meaning; once we open up the other metafunctional spaces, just as Theme comes powerfully into the picture, so Subject becomes (equally powerful but) less mysterious.

Blogger Comment:

The notion of Subject as a syntactic category is maintained in the Cardiff Grammar.  See here for some of Fawcett's misunderstandings of Systemic Functional Theory in the Cardiff Grammar.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Finite In 'Fused' Tense Forms

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
These ‘fused’ tense forms are in fact the two most common forms of the English verb. When one of these occurs, the Finite did, do(es) will then make its appearance in the subsequent tags and responses, e.g. He gave it away, didn’t he? Yes, he did. But it is already lurking in the verb as a systemic feature ‘past’ or ‘present’, and is explicit in the negative and contrastive forms (e.g. He didn’t give it away; He did give it away).

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Finite Element

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
The Finite element is one of a small number of verbal operators expressing tense (e.g. is, has) or modality (e.g. can, must)… . Note, however, that in some instances the Finite element and the lexical verb are ‘fused’ into a single word, e.g. loves. This happens when the verb is in simple past or simple present (tense), active (voice), positive (polarity) and neutral (contrast): we say gave, not did give; give(s) not do(es) give.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Realisation Of Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 140):
The Subject, when it first appears, may be any nominal group. If it is a personal pronoun, like he, it is simply repeated each time. If it is anything else, like the duke, then after the first occurrence it is replaced by the personal pronoun corresponding to it. … Nominal groups functioning as Subject include embedded, down-ranked clauses serving as Head… . In ‘circumstantial’ relational clauses, the Subject may be a prepositional phrase or an adverbial group.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Why The Mood Element Is Distinguished From The Residue

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139-40):
When we come to look closely at statements and questions, and at the various responses to which these naturally give rise, we find that in English they are typically expressed by means of a particular kind of grammatical variation: variation which extends over just one part of the clause, leaving the remainder unaffected. … one particular component of the clause is being, as it were, tossed back and forth in a series of rhetorical exchanges; this component carries the argument forward. Meanwhile the remainder … [can be] simply left out, being taken for granted as long as the discourse continues to require it. … 
What is the component that is being bandied about in this way? It is called the Mood element, and it consists of two parts: (1) the Subject, which is a nominal group, and (2) the Finite operator, which is part of a verbal group.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Semantic Functions Of A Clause As Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139):
The semantic function of a clause in the exchange of information is a proposition; the semantic function of a clause in the exchange of goods–&–services is a proposal.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Grammatical Resources For Speech Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 139):
As a general rule languages do not develop special resources for offers and commands, because in these contexts language is functioning simply as a means towards achieving what are essentially non-linguistic ends. But they do develop grammatical resources for statements and questions, which not only constitute ends in themselves but also serve as a point of entry to a great variety of different rhetorical functions.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Proposals: Offers & Commands

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138-9):
Unlike statements and questions, these are not propositions; they cannot be affirmed or denied.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Propositions: Statements & Questions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
When language is used to exchange information, the clause takes on the form of a proposition. It becomes something that can be argued about – something that can be affirmed or denied, and also doubted, contradicted, insisted on, accepted with reservation, qualified, tempered, regretted, and so on.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Ontogenesis Of Exchanging Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
What is more significant, however, is that the whole concept of exchanging information is difficult for a young child to grasp. Goods–&–services are obvious enough: I want you to take what I am holding out, or to go on carrying me, or to pick up what I have just dropped; and although I may use language as a means of getting what I want, the requirement itself is not a linguistic commodity — it is something that arises independently of language.  Information, on the other hand, does not; it has no existence except in the form of language.  In statements and questions, language itself is the commodity that is being exchanged; and it is by no means simple for a child to internalise the principle that language is used for the purpose of exchanging language. He has no experience of ‘information’ except its manifestation in words.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Why Proposals Ontogenetically Precede Propositions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
It is not difficult to see why offering and requesting precede telling and asking when a child is first learning how to mean. Exchanging information is more complicated than exchanging goods–&–services, because in the former the listener is being asked not merely to listen and do something but also to act out a verbal role — to affirm or deny, or to supply a missing piece of information…

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Ontogenesis (& Phylogenesis) Of Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 138):
Now, in the life history of an individual child, the exchange of goods–&–services, with language as the means, comes much earlier than the exchange of information: infants typically begin to use linguistic symbols to make commands and offers at about the age of nine months, whereas it may be as much as nine months to a year after that before they really learn to make statements and questions, going through various intermediate steps along the way.  It is quite likely that the same sequence of developments took place in the early evolution of language in the human race, although that is something we can never know for certain.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Function Of The Mood Tag

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 137-8):
In moving into the role of speaker, the listener has considerable discretion. Not only can he give any one of a wide range of different responses to a question, or carry out a command in different ways; he may refuse to answer the question altogether, or to provide the goods–&–services demanded. The speaker on his part has a way of forestalling this: he can add a (mood) tag, which is a reminder of what is expected, e.g. will you?, isn’t he?… 
This is the function of the tag at the end of the clause. It serves to signal explicitly that a response is required, and what sort of response it is expected to be.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Interpersonal Semantic System Of Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
These two variables [speech rôle and commodity], when taken together, define the four primary speech functions of offer, command, statement and question. These, in turn, are matched by a set of desired responses: accepting an offer, carrying out a command, acknowledging a statement and answering a question.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

An Exchange Of Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
But if you say something to me with the aim of getting me to tell you something, as in ‘is it Tuesday?’ or ‘when did you last see your father?’, what is being demanded is information: language is the end as well as the means, and the only answer expected is a verbal one. This is an exchange of information.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

An Exchange Of Goods–&–Services

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
If you say something to me with the aim of getting me to do something for you, such as ‘kiss me!’ or ‘get out of my daylight!’, or to give you some object, as in ‘pass the salt!’, the exchange commodity is strictly nonverbal: what is being demanded is an object or an action, and language is brought in to help the process along. This is an exchange of goods–&–services.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Commodity Of Exchange: Goods–&–Services Or Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
Cutting across this basic distinction between giving and demanding is another distinction, equally fundamental, that relates to the nature of the commodity being exchanged. This may be either (a) goods–&–services or (b) information.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

What Giving And Demanding Mean

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
Even these elementary categories already involve complex notions: giving means ‘inviting to receive’, and demanding means ‘inviting to give’. The speaker is not only doing something himself; he is also requiring something of the listener. … giving implies receiving and demanding implies giving in response.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Most Fundamental Types Of Speech Rôle: Giving And Demanding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 135):
The most fundamental types of speech role, which lie behind all the more specific types that we may eventually be able to recognise, are just two: (i) giving, and (ii) demanding. Either the speaker is giving something to the listener (a piece of information, for example, as in Boof keeps scaring me) or he is demanding something from him (as in just push him off; when [has Boof bit you]?).

Friday, 26 May 2017

Clause As Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 134):
… the clause is also organised as an interactive event involving speaker, or writer, and audience. … In the act of speaking, the speaker adopts for himself a particular speech rôle, and in so doing assigns to the listener a complementary rôle which he wishes him to adopt in his turn. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Theme In Elliptical Clauses: Exophoric Ellipsis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 128):
In this type of ellipsis the clause is not presupposing anything from what has gone before, but simply taking advantage of the rhetorical structure of the situation, specifically the roles of speaker and listener. Hence the Subject, and often also the finite verb, is ‘understood’ from the context; e.g. Thirsty? (‘are you thirsty?’), No idea. (‘I’ve no idea’), A song! (‘let’s have a song!’), Feeling better? (‘are you feeling better?’).  Such clauses have, in fact, a thematic structure, but it consists of Rheme only. The Theme is (part of) what is omitted in the ellipsis.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Theme In Elliptical Clauses: Anaphoric Ellipsis

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 127-8):
Here some part of the clause is presupposed from what has gone before — for example, in response to a question. The resulting forms are very varied. Some are indistinguishable from minor clauses, e.g. Yes. No. All right. Of course.; these have no thematic structure, because they presuppose the whole of the preceding clause. Others, which presuppose only part of the preceding clause, have their own thematic structure; the details will depend on which part is presupposed.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Theme In Minor Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 127):
These are clauses with no mood or transitivity structure, typically functioning as calls, greetings, exclamations and alarms, like Mary!, Good night!, Well done! They have no thematic structure either. (In this they resemble an important class of items such as titles and labels — not regarded as clauses because they have no independent speech function.)

Monday, 22 May 2017

Theme in Embedded Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 127):
These are clauses that function inside the structure of a nominal group, as defining relative clauses, e.g. who came to dinner, the dam broke, requiring travel permits in the man who came to dinner, the day the dam broke, all personnel requiring travel permits. The thematic structure of such clauses is the same as that of dependent clauses. However, because of their downranking, the fact that they do not function as constituents of a sentence [clause], their thematic contribution to the discourse is minimal, and for practical purposes can be ignored.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Theme In Non-Finite Dependent Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 127):
If non-finite, there may be a conjunction or preposition as structural Theme, which may be followed by a Subject as topical Theme; but many non-finite clauses have neither, in which case they consist of Rheme only.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Theme In Finite Dependent Clauses: Concessive Relational Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 126n):
With bound intensive relational clauses that are concessive, there is a special thematic option with the topical Theme coming before the binder though, e.g. Achyut Abhyankar << talented though he is >>, should be more restrained in his vocal ‘sangat’; Vicious though she looked || the Contessa was no exception. The clause culminates with the Process, which is thus likely to be the Focus of New information. Contrast: though she looked vicious and vicious though she looked.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Theme In Finite Dependent Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 126-7):
If finite, these typically have a conjunction as structural Theme, e.g. because, that, whether, followed by a topical Theme; … If the bound clause begins with a WH- element, on the other hand, that element constitutes the topical Theme … The reason for this, as we have seen, is that the WH- element also has a function in the transitivity structure of the clause.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Method Of Development (Fries 1981)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 126):
The significance of these [thematic] patterns emerges when we come to consider the importance of clause theme in the overall development of a text.  By itself the choice of Theme in each particular instance, clause by clause, may seem a fairly haphazard matter; but it is not.  The choice of clause Themes plays a fundamental part in the way discourse is organised; it is this, in fact, that constitutes what has been called the ‘method of development’ of the text (see e.g. Fries, 1981, and contributions to Ghadessy, 1995; and to Hasan & Fries, 1995).  In this process, the main contribution comes from the thematic structure of independent clauses.  But other clauses also come into the picture, and need to be taken account of in Theme–Rheme analysis.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

From Textual To Topical Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 125-6):
However, we have also seen that there is a compensatory principle at work whereby, if what comes first is ‘fixed’ (in the sense that its being first is an essential or at least typical characteristic), then what comes next may retain some thematic flavour. If the initial element is there as the expression not of thematic choice but of some other option in the grammar, then what follows it is also part of the Theme. We have embodied this in a general principle of interpretation whereby the Theme of a clause extends up to the first element that has some representational function in the clause (the ‘topical’ Theme). Hence in a dependent clause such as if winter comes, one part of the Theme is the if, expressing the nature of the clause’s relation to some other clause in the neighbourhood, and the other part is winter, which has a function both in transitivity (as Actor) and in mood (as Subject).

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Scale Of Thematic Freedom

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 125):
There is thematic structure, in fact, in all major clause types: that is, all clauses expressing mood and transitivity, whether independent or not. But, as we have seen, there is a kind of scale of thematic freedom: whereas in a free declarative clause the speaker has a free choice of Theme — other things being equal he will map it on to the Subject, but this is merely the unmarked option — the further one moves away from this most open-ended form of the clause, the more the thematic options are restricted by structural pressures from other parts of the grammar, pressures that are themselves thematic in origin. In interrogatives and imperatives, and even more strongly in clauses that are not independent, the thematic principle has determined what it is that will be the Theme of the clause, leaving only a highly marked alternative option (as in interrogative) or else no alternative at all.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Theme Predication Vs Postposition: Embedded Fact Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 125):
Now, one common type of these clauses is that where the postposed Subject is an embedded ‘fact’ clause. Here the pronoun substitute is always it:
it helps a lot to be able to speak the language
I don’t like it that you always look so tired
So if the postposed fact clause is introduced by that, and the matrix clause has the verb be plus a nominal, the result may look like a predicated Theme; for example:
it was a mistake that the school was closed down
it’s your good luck that nobody noticed
But these are not predicated Themes; the postposed Subject is not a relative clause, and there is no agnate form with the predication removed, proportional to it was his teacher who persuaded him to continue: his teacher persuaded him to continue. The last example is in fact ambiguous, and could be used to illustrate the difference: it’s your good luck (that) nobody noticed
(i) predicated Theme: agnate to
nobody noticed your good luck 
(ii) postposed Subject: agnate to
the fact that nobody noticed was your good luck

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Theme Predication Vs Postposition: Afterthought

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 124):
A structure that can look superficially like Theme predication, but is not, is that involving postposition, where one nominal element of the clause – typically the Subject, though not always — is delayed to the end and the appropriate pronoun is inserted as a substitute in its original slot. This may be a nominal group, as in:
they don’t make sense, these instructions
shall I hang it above the door, your Chinese painting?
in some places they’ve become quite tame, the wombats
Here the Theme is, as usual, the item(s) in first position: they, shall + I, in some places; while the postposed nominal functions as Afterthought, realised prosodically by a second, minor tonic with tone 3:
// 1 ^ they / don’t make / sense these in// 3 structions //

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Predicated Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 123-4):
… the conflation of Theme with New is a regular feature. The sense is of course contrastive, because of the exclusive equation … It is this mapping of New and Theme, in fact, that gives the predicated theme construction its special flavour. …
Since tonic prominence is not marked in writing, the predication has the additional function in written English of directing the reader to interpret the information structure in the intended way.

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Commonality Of Thematic Equatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 122):
This system [THEME PREDICATION] resembles that of THEME IDENTIFICATION, in that it does identify one element as being exclusive at that point in the clause. Both are in fact equative constructions. But there are also differences between the two.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 122n):
Theme predication is often discussed under the heading of ‘cleft sentence’ – a term going back to Jespersen (e.g. 1928: 37, 88–92; 1937: Section 25.4), or ‘it-clefts’ to distinguish them from ‘wh- clefts’ or ‘pseudo-clefts’ (theme identification).

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Given + New & Theme + Rheme Structures

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 120):
But both are, of course, speaker-selected.  It is the speaker who assigns both structures, mapping one on to the other to give a composite texture to the discourse and thereby relate it to its environment. At any point in the discourse process, there will have been built up a rich verbal and non-verbal environment for what is to follow; the speaker’s choices are made against the background of what has been said and what has happened before. The environment will often create local conditions which override the globally unmarked pattern of Theme within Given, New within Rheme.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Given + New Vs Theme + Rheme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 120):
But although they are related, Given + New and Theme + Rheme are not the same thing.  The Theme is what I, the speaker, choose to take as my point of departure. The Given is what you, the listener, already know about or have accessible to you. Theme + Rheme is speaker–oriented, whereas Given + New is listener–oriented.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Unmarked Relationship Between Information Structure And Thematic Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 119-20): 
There is a close semantic relationship between the system of INFORMATION and the system of THEME — between information structure and thematic structure. This is reflected in the unmarked relationship between the two. Other things being equal, one information unit is co-extensive with one (ranking) clause (‘unmarked tonality’); and, in that case, the ordering of Given ^ New (‘unmarked tonicity’) means that the Theme falls within the Given, while the New falls within the Rheme.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Inherently Given Elements

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 118):
There are a number of elements in language that are inherently ‘given’ in the sense that they are not interpretable except by reference to some previous mention or some feature of the situation: anaphoric elements (those that refer to things mentioned before) and deictic elements (those that are interpreted by reference to the ‘here-&-now’ of the discourse). Typically these items do not carry information focus; if they do, they are contrastive. So when we say that, for any information unit, the unmarked structure is that with the focus on the final element, this excludes any items that are inherently given.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Given And New [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 118):
The significant variable is: information that is presented by the speaker as recoverable (Given) or not recoverable (New) to the listener. What is treated as recoverable may be so because it has been mentioned before; but that is not the only possibility. It may be something that is in the situation, like I and you; or in the air, so to speak; or something that is not around at all but that the speaker wants to present as Given for rhetorical purposes. The meaning is: this is not news. Likewise, what is treated as non-recoverable may be something that has not been mentioned; but it may be something unexpected, whether previously mentioned or not. The meaning is: attend to this; this is news. One form of ‘newness’ that is frequent in dialogue is contrastive emphasis.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Given Information After The New

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 118):
The unmarked position for the New is at the end of the information unit. But it is possible to have Given material following the New; and any accented matter that follows the tonic foot is thereby signalled as being Given.

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Culmination Of New Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 116):
The tonic foot defines the culmination of what is New: it marks where the New element ends. In the typical instance, this will be the last functional element of clause structure in the information unit. As this implies, the typical sequence of informational elements is thus Given followed by New. But whereas the end of the New element is marked by tonic prominence, there is nothing to mark where it begins; so there is indeterminacy in the structure. If we take an instance out of context, we can tell that it culminates with the New; but we cannot tell on phonological grounds whether there is a Given element first, or where the boundary between Given and New would be. (This is not always true.)