Monday, 23 October 2017

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Unmarked Subject & Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 194):
For any clause, there is one choice of Subject that is ‘unmarked’ — that is assumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. In a giving clause (offer or statement), the unmarked Subject is ‘I’; while in a demanding clause (question or command), the unmarked Subject is ‘you’. This means that, if a clause that on other grounds can be interpreted as offer or statement is without a Subject, the listener will understand the Subject [as] ‘I’ — that is, Subject equals speaker … Whereas if it is a question or command the listener will understand the Subject [as] ‘you’ — that is, Subject equals listener …

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Why Free Indicative Clauses Require A Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
In general, every free clause in English requires a Subject, because without a Subject it is impossible to express the mood of the clause, at least in the usual fashion. We have already noted that the difference between declarative and yes/no interrogative is realised by the order of the elements Subject and Finite; and it is impossible to arrange two elements in order if one of them is not there. So while the it in it’s raining, and the there in there was a crash, do not represent any entity participating in the process of raining or of crashing, they are needed in order to distinguish these from is it raining, was there a crash.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Ellipsis & The WH– Variable

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
Exchanges involving not the yes/no variable but the WH– variable, where just one element is under discussion, lead to a different form of ellipsis in which everything is omitted except that element. Its function in the clause is presupposed from the preceding discourse.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Ellipsis & Validity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
An exchange centring on the validity of an assertion — the identity of the Subject, the choice and degree of polarity — may be realised by clauses consisting of the Mood only, the Residue being established at the start and then presupposed by ellipsis, or by substitution with do.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Mood And Comment Adjuncts: Stratal Perspective

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 193):
The networks of mood and comment Adjuncts are drawn up in the perspective ‘from the same level’: they encompass just those items that function as interpersonal Adjunct. Thus they do not include expressions from the same semantic domain which do not function as Adjuncts: typically non-finite clauses, for example to be honest, to tell you the truth, come to think of it. Such expressions would be included in a network drawn up in the perspective ‘from above’.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Speech Functional (Interpersonal) Comment Adjuncts: Subtypes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 192-3):
The speech functional type also falls into two sub-types, qualified and unqualified. The qualified type is closely related to projection; they can be expanded by ~ speaking as in generally speaking, and if construed as a separate intonation unit they will typically take tone 4 [fall-rise]. The unqualified type, which cannot be followed by ~ speaking, are either claims of veracity (if separate, then tone 4) or signals of assurance or admission (if separate, then tone 1 [fall]; the clause is then typically tone 1 if assurance, tone 4 if admission).

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Speech Functional (Interpersonal) Comment Adjuncts: Occurrence & Orientation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 192):
The speech functional (interpersonal) type may occur with either declarative or interrogative clauses, but with a change of orientation: in a declarative, they express the speaker’s angle, while in an interrogative they seek the angle of the listener. Their locations in the clause are more restricted; they strongly favour initial or final position.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Propositional (Ideational) Comment Adjuncts: Proposition vs Subject Orientation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 190, 192):
With this type, the speaker is commenting either on the proposition as a whole or on the part played by the Subject. In the first case, the comment may be either asseverative (‘it is so’; typically tone 1) or qualificative (‘this is what I think about it’; typically tone 4). These items cannot function as circumstantial Adjuncts: it makes no sense to say it happened evidently. … 
In the second case the Subject’s rôle is being evaluated for its wisdom or morality, or typicality; such expressions can occur circumstantially (contrast wisely, he didn’t act, comment Adjunct, with he didn’t act wisely, circumstance of Manner); … 
Such subject-oriented comments may also be expressed as predications, through verbal group complexes serving as Predicator …

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Propositional (Ideational) Comment Adjuncts: Occurrence

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 190):
The propositional (ideational) type occur only with declarative clauses. They appear at the same locations in the clause as the mood Adjuncts — though for different reasons: they are less integrated into the mood structure, being located rather according to their significance for the textual organisation of the clause. In particular, they are strongly associated with the boundary between information units — realised as a boundary between tone groups: hence the commas that typically accompany them in writing. So they often occur medially, following the item which is prominent; otherwise, they may occur as Theme, frequently as a separate information unit, or in final position as Afterthought.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Comment Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 190):
There is no very clear line between these and the Mood Adjuncts; for example, the ‘comment’ categories of prediction, presumption and desirability overlap semantically with the mood categories shown under modality. The difference is that comment Adjuncts are less closely tied to the grammar of mood; they are restricted to ‘indicative’ clauses (those functioning as propositions), and express the speaker’s attitude either to the proposition as a whole or to the particular speech function. In other words, the burden of the comment may be either ideational [propositional] or interpersonal [speech functional].


Friday, 13 October 2017

Mood Adjuncts Of Intensity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 188):
Adjuncts of intensity fall into two classes, of which again one relates to expectation.
(i) Those of degree may be total, high degree or low degree … These Adjuncts (especially the ‘total’ ones) are typically associated with interpersonally loaded Processes or Attributes; the same adverbs also function regularly as Sub-modifiers within a nominal group. 
(ii) Those of counterexpectancy are either ‘limiting’ or ‘exceeding’ what is to be expected: the meaning is either ‘nothing else than, went no further than’ or ‘including also, went as far as’.
Adjuncts of intensity occur medially or finally in the clause, but seldom initially — they cannot be thematic (hence there is no occasion for those containing the feature ‘negative’ to cause inversion of Subject and Finite).*


Note that the apparent exception scarcely — as in scarcely had they left, when the next lot arrived — serves as a mood Adjunct of temporality ('no sooner'), not intensity.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Negative Adjuncts Of Modality And Temporality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 187):
Adjuncts of modality and temporality containing the feature ‘negative’ have the special property that, when they occur in thematic position, the order of Subject and Finite is typically reversed; e.g.
Never before have fans been promised such a feast of speed with reigning World Champion Ove Fundin sparking the flame that could set the meeting alight.
This is a relic of an older pattern whereby the Finite operator always followed immediately after the first element in the mood structure (a pattern still found in other Germanic languages). It is not very widespread in current usage, being restricted largely to certain styles of narrative, and to public speaking.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Mood Adjuncts Of Temporality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 187):
Adjuncts of temporality relate to interpersonal (deictic) time. They relate either
(i) to the time itself, which may be near or remote, past or future, relative to the speaker–now; or
(ii) to an expectation, positive or negative, with regard to the time at issue.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Mood Adjuncts: Types & Positions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 187):
These are so-called because they are closely associated with the meanings construed by the mood system: modality and temporality; and also intensity. This means that their neutral position in the clause is next to the Finite verbal operator, either just before it or just after it. But there are two other possible locations: before the Subject (ie in thematic position — those of temporality and modality have a strong tendency to function as Theme) and at the end of the clause as Afterthought.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Two Types Of Modal Adjunct: Mood vs Comment

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 184):
We can recognise two types of modal Adjuncts, (i) mood Adjuncts and (ii) comment Adjuncts. (i) Mood Adjuncts serve within the Mood element, and are closely associated with the meaning of the Finite element – the limiting case being modality, which (as we have seen) can also be realised by the operator serving as Finite. (ii) Comment Adjuncts serve outside the Mood + Residue structure of the clause. They are not part of the proposition realised by Mood + Residue, but are instead comments on it (propositional) or on the act of exchanging it (speech-functional). These different types of modal Adjuncts are characterised by different grammatical properties, including different agnation patterns in terms of possible alternative forms of realisation…

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Explicit Orientation: Metaphorical Extensions Of Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 184):
One aspect of the highly grammaticalised nature of modality in English is – not surprisingly – that it has expanded its domain of realisation: within the clause, this domain includes not only Finite verbal operators (e.g. will) but also Adjuncts within the Mood element (e.g. probably); and beyond the clause, it includes ‘bi-clausal’ realisations such as I think that ...; and it is probable that serving as ‘explicit’ manifestations of ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ orientation …. Such manifestations are, in fact, metaphorical extensions of the system of modality … . Since they are metaphorical realisations, they are also analysed as if they were expressions serving as mood Adjuncts

Friday, 6 October 2017

Polar Interrogatives & Implicit Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 182n):
Yes/no interrogatives with mood Adjuncts are more restricted than yes/no interrogatives with modal Finites. For example, has he perhaps left? is fine, but has he probably left? and has he surely left? seem less likely; and interrogatives with thematic Adjuncts seem unlikely (e.g. perhaps has he left?).

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Implicit Modality: Subjective (Finite) vs Objective (Adjunct)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 182n):
We see the difference in orientation between mood Adjuncts such as certainly and modal Finites such as must in the tag. With the subjective type, the speaker gives his or her subjective assessment, and then asks for the addressee’s subjective assessment: they must’ve left, mustn’t they? In contrast, with the objective type, the speaker does not ask for the addressee’s subjective assessment; the modality is not part of the tag: they certainly left, didn’t they? Similarly, can they have left? means ‘in your opinion, have they left?’, but have they perhaps left? means ‘have they left? – it is possible’ (cf. haven’t they left?: ‘have they left? – I thought it was so’). In other words, with the subjective orientation, the modality is queried, but not with the objective orientation.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Modality: Orientation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 181-2):
In order to explore the difference between [different ways of expressing modality], we should introduce two further variants that cover the same range of meanings. Keeping to the same category of high probability, we will also find expressions such as it is certain (that) that is true and I’m certain (that) that is true. Notice what is happening here. With these last examples, the speaker is explicitly stating the source of the conviction: it is either being said to be objective, as in it is certain ..., or presented as a subjective judgement on the speaker’s part, as in I’m certain that .... By contrast with these, the versions presented earlier [certainly and must] leave implicit the source of the conviction. But they also differ along the subjective/ objective dimension: whereas the adverbial form certainly is a way of objectifying the speaker’s evaluation, the verbal form must carries a subjective loading – it is the speaker’s own judgement on which the validity of the proposition is made to rest. We thus arrive at a matrix of four feature combinations as follows:
                 subjective                 objective
implicit     must                         certainly 
explicit     I’m certain that ...     it is certain that ...
These options are present throughout the system; we can therefore rewrite the network for modality as shown in Figure 4-23.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Modality Systems: Value & Polarity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 180-1):
This paradigm shows that probability is organised as a system of three values: a median value ‘probable’ where the form of the negative is the same whether it is attached to the modality or the proposition, and two outer values, high ‘certain’ and low ‘possible’, where there is a switch from high to low, or from low to high, if the negative is shifted between the two domains.
All nine feature combinations may be realised by Finite operator, modal Adjunct, or both.  Exactly the same set of possibilities arises in respect of the three other dimensions of modality. … 
It is this parallelism in their construction of semantic space, all lying within the region between the two poles of positive and negative, that gives the essential unity to this particular region of the grammar.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Modality, Mood & Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Thus once a proposal becomes discretionary, it shifts into the indicative mood to accommodate the modal operator; this also means it take[s] the full indicative person system, not the restricted person system of the imperative. Modalised clauses are thus in principle ambiguous as between proposition and proposal: this is shown up when the experiential meaning of the clause points strongly in one direction or the other, for example, she must be very careless is likely to be interpreted as proposition (modalisation), because one does not usually enjoin people to be careless, whereas she must be very careful is more likely to be interpreted as a proposal (modulation).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Modulated Clauses And Speech Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Modulated clauses, on the other hand, while they also occur frequently as offers, commands and suggestions (I’ll be going, you should be going, we ought to be going), regularly implicate a third person; they are statements of obligation and inclination made by the speaker in respect of others, e.g. John’s supposed to know that, Mary will help; … 
Such statements of obligation function as propositions, since to the person addressed they convey information rather than goods-&-services. But they do not thereby lose their rhetorical force: if Mary is listening, she can now hardly refuse; and we know what happens if we don’t obey the law!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Proposals & Subject Person

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Proposals that are clearly positive or negative, as we have seen, are goods-&-services exchanges between speaker and hearer, in which the speaker is either (i) offering to do something, e.g. shall I go home?, (ii) requesting the listener to do something, e.g. go home!, or (iii) suggesting that they both do something, e.g. let’s go home! They rarely have third person Subjects, except as prayers or oaths.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Realisations Of Modulation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 178):
Again, both obligation and inclination can be expressed in either of two ways, though not, in this case, by both together:
(a) by a finite modal operator … ;
(b) by an expansion of the Predicator …
(i) typically by a passive verb …
(ii) typically by an adjective … .

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Polarity, Modality & Proposals: Modulation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177-8):
In a proposal, the meaning of the positive and negative pole is prescribing and proscribing; positive ‘do it’, negative ‘don’t do it’. Here also there are two kinds of intermediate possibilities, in this case depending on the speech function, whether command or offer.
(i) In a command, the intermediate points represent degrees of obligation: ‘allowed to/supposed to/required to’;
(ii) in an offer, they represent degrees of inclination: ‘willing to/anxious to/determined to’.
We shall refer to the scales of obligation and inclination as modulation, to distinguish them from modality in the other sense, that which we are calling modalisation.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

High Value Modality Vs Polarity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):
Note also that even a high value modal (‘certainly’, ‘always’) is less determinate than a polar form: that’s certainly John is less certain than that’s John; it always rains in summer is less invariable than it rains in summer. In other words, you only say you are certain when you are not.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Modality Is Grounded In The Initiating Rôle Of An Exchange

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):
Note that in a statement the modality is an expression of the speaker’s opinion: that will be John ‘that’s John, I think’; whereas in a question it is a request for the listener’s opinion: will that be John? ‘is that John d’you think?’. Modality is thus grounded in the initiating role of an exchange.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Realisations Of Modalisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):
 Both probability and usuality can be expressed in the same three ways:
(a) by a finite modal operator in the verbal group … ;
(b) by a modal Adjunct of (i) probability or (ii) usuality … ;
(c) by both together, forming a prosody of modalisation.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Modality & Propositions: Modalisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 177):

In a proposition, the meaning of the positive and negative pole is asserting and denying; positive ‘it is so’, negative ‘it isn’t so’. There are two kinds of intermediate possibilities: (i) degrees of probability: ‘possibly/probably/certainly’; (ii) degrees of usuality: ‘sometimes/usually/always’. 
The former are equivalent to ‘either yes or no’, i.e. maybe yes, maybe no, with different degrees of likelihood attached. The latter are equivalent to ‘both yes and no’, i.e. sometimes yes, sometimes no, with different degrees of oftenness attached. It is these scales of probability and usuality to which the term ‘modality’ strictly belongs. We shall refer to these, to keep them distinct, as modalisation.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Modality: Propositions Vs Proposals

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 176-7):
What the modality system does is to construe the region of uncertainty that lies between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. But there is more than one route between the two, (1) one for propositions, and (2) one for proposals. (1) In between the certainties of ‘it is’ and ‘it isn’t’ lie the relative probabilities of ‘it must be’, ‘it will be’, ‘it may be’. (2) Likewise, in between the definitive ‘do!’ and ‘don’t!’ lie the discretionary options ‘you must do’, ‘you should do’, ‘you may do’. The space between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ thus has a different significance for propositions and for proposals.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Between Positive And Negative: Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 176):
Polarity is thus a choice between yes and no. But these are not the only possibilities; there are intermediate degrees, various kinds of indeterminacy that fall in between like ‘sometimes’ or ‘maybe’. These intermediate degrees, between the positive and negative poles, are known collectively as MODALITY. What the modality system does is to construe the region of uncertainty that lies between ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

'Not' In Non-Finite Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 176, 176n):
In non-finite clauses, … the not (or other negative modal Adjunct) may constitute a Mood element either on its own, or together with the Subject if there is one. … if the agnate finite clause is negative (as shown by the tag …) then the negative Adjunct functions as Mood element. If the agnate finite clause is positive … then the negative Adjunct forms part of the Residue.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Not: Finite Or Modal Adjunct?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
… the negative word not occurs in two functions: either it is simply a formal or written variant of the Finite negative element n’t, in which case it is part of the Finite; or it is a distinct modal Adjunct in Mood or Residue. In the latter case it is phonologically salient and may also be tonic …

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Yes As A Minor Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
yes (but not no) may function as a minor clause, as response to a call; it carries tonic prominence, typically on a rising tone, for example Paddy! – Yes? It does not seem necessary to label this function grammatically.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Yes and No As Textual Theme: Continuatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
yes and no may function as part of a textual Theme (like oh, well). Here they are continuatives and serve to signal that a new move is beginning, often but not necessarily a new speaker’s turn; they have no speech function of their own, and therefore merely reflect the current polarity – they are not selecting for positive/negative (and so cannot bring about a switch). In this case they are almost always phonologically weak.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Yes And No As Statements: Mood Adjuncts

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
yes and no may function as statements; either in answer to a question, in acknowledgement to a statement, in undertaking of a command or in acceptance of an offer. They are then mood Adjuncts. In this function they are phonologically salient and often carry tonic prominence. They may occur elliptically, as a clause on their own; or thematically within the responding clause. So, in answer to It’s Tuesday, isn’t it? we might have various forms of denial, as in Figure 4-19. Note that in (b) the response consists of two clauses; the no is tonic, as shown by the comma in writing, and could have stood alone as an answer. In (c) the no is salient but not tonic, and the response is a single clause.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Polarity: Yes & No

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 175):
… these are direct expressions of polarity, but they have more than one functional status. If they are expressing a speech function [statements], they are mood Adjuncts; if not, they are continuatives [textual Themes] and have no place in the mood structure.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Negative Polarity In WH- Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 174-5):
In the WH- interrogative, the negative is more variable. It is common enough with why, especially in contexts of disapproval; e.g. Why didn’t you tell me before? With the other WH- items the negative is more restricted. It does occur straightforwardly as a question, e.g. Which ones don’t contain yeast?; and especially perhaps in questions of the echo type: They didn’t have any bananas. – What didn’t they have? Otherwise it tends to function as the equivalent of a generalised positive:
I’d love to live in a house like that! – Who wouldn’t? (= ‘Everybody would.’)

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Meaning Of Polarity In A Yes/No Interrogative Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 174):
What is the meaning of polarity in interrogative? In a yes/no interrogative clause, which is precisely a request for polarity and hence presumably cannot itself pre-empt the choice, both positive and negative can occur; and here the negative does appear as a marked option, in that while the positive contains no suggestion regarding the likely answer, the negative is, in the traditional formulation, a ‘question expecting the answer “yes” ’ … 
In fact the typical meaning is slightly more complex than this formulation suggests; what the speaker is saying is something like ‘I would have expected the answer yes, but now I have reason to doubt’. How then is the negative question answered? The responses yes, no state the polarity of the answer, not the agreement or disagreement with that of the question:
Haven’t you seen the news? – No (I haven’t). Yes (I have).
– whereas some languages reverse the pattern, or (like French, German and Swedish) have a third form for the contradictory positive term.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Polarity & Mood Tags

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 173-4):
not does not get reduced if the verb is non-finite; and this reflects the systemic association of polarity and mood. What carries the polarity feature, positive or negative, is the speech functional component of the proposition or proposal; hence when the speaker adds a mood tag, meaning ‘please check!’, the unmarked form of the tag is the one which reverses the polarity … If the polarity in the tag remains constant, the meaning is assertive rather than seeking corroboration. It is this reversal of polarity in the tag which enables us to identify the polarity of clauses containing other negative expressions, such as no, never, no one, nowhere, seldomif the negative word is part of some element in the Residue, the clause itself may be positive

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Modal Assessment Beyond Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172-3):
But interpersonal judgements, or assessments, extend beyond the ‘core’ grammatical system of modality to include assessments of temporality and intensity realised like modality through mood Adjuncts (e.g. It is/It already is/It almost is), and also other types of assessments beyond the mood itself that relate either to the proposition being exchanged (e.g. Fortunately it is: ‘it is, which is fortunate’) or to the act of exchanging it (e.g. Frankly it is: ‘I’m telling you frankly it is’).

Monday, 11 September 2017

Polarity And Modality

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172):
POLARITY [is] the opposition between positive (It is. Do that!) and negative (It isn’t. Don’t do that!); MODALITY [is] the speaker’s judgement, or request of the judgement of the listener, on the status of what is being said (It could be. Couldn’t it be? You mustn’t do that. Must you do that?). Both POLARITY and MODALITY are realised through the Mood element, either through the Finite element (It is/It isn’t; It is/It must be) or through a separate mood Adjunct (It is/It is not; It is/It certainly is).

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Interactive Features Missing From Bound Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172):
‘Bound’ clauses are, as we have suggested, presented as presumed rather than as negotiable. They lack a number of the interactive features of ‘free’ clauses. They are very unlikely to be tagged even if they are ‘finite’ and thus look structurally like ‘declarative’ clauses. … And ‘non-finite’ clauses cannot be tagged. Similarly, Vocatives and speech-functional comment Adjuncts – both highly interactive features – are unlike to occur with ‘bound’ clauses.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Two Variables In The Negotiability Of Bound Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 172):
When we consider the negotiability or challengeability of ‘bound’ clauses, we thus find two variables:
(i) is the clause dependent on another clause (or combination of clauses) in a clause nexus or is it down-ranked, embedded in the structure of a group; 
(ii) is the clause finite or non-finite?

Friday, 8 September 2017

Non-Finite Bound Clauses And Negotiability

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171-2): 
‘Non-finite’ clauses may be introduced by a binder, a structural preposition or conjunctive preposition; but they may also appear without one. …
Non-finite clauses are even further removed from the status of negotiability than finite ones.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bound Clauses And Finiteness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171):
Whether they are dependent or downranked, ‘bound’ clauses may be either ‘finite’ or ‘non-finite’. ‘Finite’ clauses are typically introduced by a binder (or relative/interrogative item), and have the same modal structure as ‘declarative’ clauses, i.e. Mood: Subject ^ Finite – even when they are reports of questions …

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Bound Clauses And Negotiation: Embedding

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171):
By another step, ‘bound’ clauses may be further removed from the line of negotiation. They may be down-ranked, and embedded as elements in the structure of a group, either a nominal group or an adverbial one …

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bound Clauses And Hypotaxis: Common Pattern

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 171):
… bound clauses are hypotactically dependent on a dominant (main) clause in a hypotactic clause nexus: the dominant part of the nexus is realised by a ‘free’ clause and the dependent part by a ‘bound’ one. This is a very common pattern, although a dependent clause may of course be dependent on another dependent clause …

Monday, 4 September 2017

Free vs Bound Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
So far we have been concerned with ‘free’ clauses; the term ‘free’ is the entry condition to the system of MOOD TYPE. Semantically, this means that ‘free’ clauses realise either propositions or proposals, serving to develop exchanges in dialogue either by initiating new exchanges or by responding to ones that have already been initiated. In contrast, ‘bound’ clauses are not presented by the speaker as being open for negotiation.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Tone And Modal Assessment

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
In English, tones also play a role in some interpersonal systems other than MOOD, viz. in certain parts of the system of MODAL ASSESSMENT. For example, speech-functional comment Adjuncts of the type ‘assurance’ are associated with tone 1, whereas those of ‘concession’ are associated with tone 4. Similarly, certain modalities are associated either with tone 1 or tone 4.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Realisation Of Mood In English: General Principle

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
In the grammar of MOOD in English, the general principle is that less delicate distinctions in mood are realised through the Mood element — its presence and the nature and relative sequence of its element, Subject and Finite, plus the presence of the WH- element, whereas more delicate distinctions are realised by distinctions in tone. But such patterns vary across languages.

Friday, 1 September 2017

An Advantage Of Taking Paradigmatic Organisation As Fundamental

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 170):
Because a systemic account of grammar takes paradigmatic organisation as fundamental, there is no problem with incorporating considerations of tone (or intonation, in general) into the account since terms in systems may realised by different syntagmatic patterns such as fragments of constituency-like structure, e.g. ‘declarative’ ↘ Subject ^ Finite or prosodic patterns, e.g. ‘reserved statement’ ↘ tone 4.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Minor Clauses & Tone

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
Minor clauses have varied tones depending on their function. Greetings, and also alarms, tend to have tone 1 or tone 3; exclamations tone 5; calls (vocatives) have every possible tone in the language, with noticeable differences in meaning.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Key: Imperative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
command: tone 1 (unmarked in positive)
invitation: tone 3 (unmarked in negative)
request (marked polarity): tone 13, with tonic on do/don’t
plea: tone 4

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Key: Polar Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
unmarked yes/no question: tone 2
peremptory question: tone 1

Monday, 28 August 2017

Key: WH–Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
unmarked WH–question: tone 1
tentative question: tone 2
echo question: tone 2 with tonic on WH–element

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Key: Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 169):
unmarked statement: tone 1
reserved statement: tone 4
insistent statement: tone 5
tentative statement: tone 3
protesting statement: tone 2

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Key [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
The tones are not, however, simply additional markers attached to the realisation of mood. They realise distinct grammatical systems of their own, which are associated with the mood categories. The general name for systems that are realised by tone is key.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Exclamatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
Tone 5 [rise-fall] is the one most typical of exclamative clauses, where the meaning is ‘wow!’ — something that is (presented as) contrary to expectation.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Imperatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
Proposals are typically combined with tones 1 [fall] and 3 [level~low rising]. Imperative clauses, functioning as commands, typically favour tone 1, as also do modulated declaratives; but a mild command, such as a request, and also a negative command, often comes with tone 3, which has the effect of leaving the decision to the listener. For the same reason offers are commonly associated with tone 3.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Mood & Tone: Interrogatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 168):
Within the interrogative, the yes/no type is usually found with tone 2, the ‘uncertain’ rising tone. WH–interrogatives, on the other hand, favour tone 1 [fall], because although they are asking for a missing element, the proposition itself is taken as certain … ‘certainty’ means certainty about the polarity; there is no issue of ‘yes or no?’ with a WH- interrogative clause.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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.