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

Pageviews by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
EntryPageviews
United States
53844
Russia
16901
Australia
13625
France
8707
Indonesia
7051
United Kingdom
6827
Germany
6689
Canada
2069
China
1994
Ukraine
1777

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:

e.g.
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.)

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Information Focus

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 116): 
Each information unit is realised as a pitch contour, or tone, which may be falling, rising or mixed (falling-rising, rising-falling). This pitch contour extends over the whole tone group. Within the tone group, one foot (and in particular its first syllable) carries the main pitch movement: the main fall, or rise, or the change of direction. This feature is known as tonic prominence, and the element having this prominence is the tonic element (tonic foot, tonic syllable). We indicate tonic prominence by a form of graphic prominence: bold type for print, wavy underlining for manuscript and typescript. The element having this prominence is said to be carrying information focus.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Information Unit Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 116):
In the idealised form each information unit consists of a Given element accompanied by a New element. But there are two conditions of departure from this principle. One is that discourse has to start somewhere, so there can be discourse-initiating units consisting of a New element only. The other is that by its nature the Given is likely to be phoric — referring to something already present in the verbal or non-verbal context; and one way of achieving phoricity is through ellipsis, a grammatical form in which certain features are not realised in the structure. Structurally, therefore, we shall say that an information unit consists of an obligatory New element plus an optional Given. The way this structure is realised is essentially ‘natural’ (non-arbitrary), in two respects:
(i) the New is marked by prominence;
(ii) the Given typically precedes the New.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Grammatical Information Vs Mathematical Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 116):
Information, in this technical grammatical sense, is the tension between what is already known or predictable and what is new or unpredictable. This is different from the mathematical concept of information, which is the measure of unpredictability.  It is the interplay of new and not new that generates information in the linguistic sense. Hence the information unit is a structure made up of two functions, the New and the Given.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Information Unit: Unmarked Vs Marked

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 115-6):
An information unit does not correspond exactly to any other unit in the grammar. The nearest grammatical unit is in fact the clause; and we can regard this as the unmarked or default condition: other things being equal, one information unit will be co-extensive with one clause. But other things are often not equal, for reasons that will be brought out in the following sections. Thus a single clause may be mapped into two or more information units; or a single information unit into two or more clauses. Furthermore, the boundaries may overlap, with one information unit covering, say, one clause and half of the next.  So, the information unit has to be set up as a constituent in its own right. At the same time, its relationship to the clausal constituents is by no means random, and instances of overlapping boundaries are clearly ‘marked’; so the two constituent structures, the clausal and the informational, are closely interconnected.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Grammatical Function Of The Tone Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 115):
… the tone group functions grammatically as realisation of a quantum of information in the discourse. It is this quantum of information that we have called the information unit. Spoken English unfolds as a sequence of information units, typically one following another in unbroken succession – there is no pause or other discontinuity between them.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Information Unit


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 115):
[informationis a system not of the clause, but of a separate grammatical unit, the information unit. The information unit is a unit that is parallel to the clause and the other units belonging to the same rank scale as the clause.
  • clause 
  • group/phrase 
  • word 
  • morpheme
Since it is parallel with the clause (and the units the clause consists of), it is variable in extent in relation to the clause and may extend over more than one clause or less than one clause; but in the unmarked case it is co-extensive with the clause.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Managing The Discourse Flow Structurally: Theme & Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 114-5):
Below the clause complex, the grammar manages the discourse flow by structural means; and here there are two related systems at work. One is a system of the clause, viz. THEME; this we have been discussing throughout the present chapter so far. The THEME system construes the clause in the guise of a message, made up of Theme + Rheme. The other is the system of INFORMATION.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Resources For Creating Discourse Within The Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 114):
These textual resources are of two kinds: (i) structural; (ii) cohesive. What this means is as follows.  The grammar construes structural units up to the rank of the clause complex …; there it stops. But although the grammar stops here, the semantics does not: the basic semantic unit is the text … .  So the grammar provides other, non-structural resources for managing the flow of discourse: for creating semantic links across sentences — or rather, semantic links which work equally well either within or across sentences. These latter are referred to collectively under the name of cohesion

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Textual Component Within The Grammar

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 114):
… the resource for creating discourse — text that ‘hangs together’, with itself and its context of situation.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Theme + Rheme Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 114):
the Theme + Rheme structure is not so much a configuration of clearly bounded constituents as a movement running through the clause; this is one perspective which it is useful to keep in view.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Deicticity And Thematicity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 113-4):
The WH- element in turn is part of a wider set embracing both WH- and TH- forms, which taken together fulfil a deictic or ‘pointing out’ function …
The generalisation we can make here is that all deictic elements are characteristically thematic …

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Commonality Of ‘Interrogative’ And ‘Relative’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 113):
Thus all WH- groups and phrases have this dual function: on the one hand, as an element in the experiential structure; on the other hand, as marker of some special status of the clause, interrogative (mood) or relative (dependence).  These two values, interrogative and relative, are themselves related at a deeper level, through the general sense of ‘identity to be retrieved from elsewhere’; the ‘indefinite’ ones illustrate a kind of transition between the two …
The category of WH- element opens up this semantic space, of an identity that is being established by interrogation, perhaps with an element of challenge or disbelief; or put aside as irrelevant; or established relative to some other entity.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

WH- Relative Items And Topical Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 112n):
The textual Theme of a relative element is inherently thematic; in this respect, it is like other structural Themes – binders and linkers. Consequently, the topical Theme part is also inherently thematic; but since it is inherent, it seems that it leaves some potential for other experiential elements to follow the WH- element, preceding the Finite.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Twofold Thematic Value Of WH- Relative Items

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 112):
Like WH- interrogatives, WH- relatives are also characteristically thematic — the group or phrase in which they occur is the unmarked Theme of a relative clause; and similarly they combine topical with a non-topical function, in this case textual …

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Twofold Thematic Value Of WH- Interrogative Items

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 112):
… they are at the same time both interpersonal and topical — interpersonal because they construe the mood, topical because they represent participant or circumstance.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

How To Identify Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 112):
… the Theme of a clause extends from the beginning up to, and including, the first element that has an experiential function — that is either participant, circumstance or process. Everything after that constitutes the Rheme.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Theme Summary

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 111-2):
(i) Initial position in the English clause is meaningful in the construction of the clause as message; specifically, it has a thematic function.
(ii) Certain textual elements that orient the clause within the discourse, rhetorically and logically, are inherently thematic.
(iii) Certain other elements, textual and interpersonal, that set up a semantic relation with what precedes, or express the speaker’s angle or intended listener, are characteristically thematic; this includes finite operators, which signal one type of question.
(iv) These inherently and characteristically thematic elements lie outside the experiential structure of the clause; they have no status as participant, circumstance or process.
(v) Until one of these latter appears, the clause lacks an anchorage in the realm of experience; and this is what completes the thematic grounding of the message.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Non-Topical Themes And The Markedness Of Topical Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 111):
We could set up a paradigm as follows, showing the effect of different initial selections in the clause:
  1. no non-topical Theme, 
  2. with inherently thematic non-topical Theme,
  3. with characteristically thematic non-topical Theme;
it will be seen that the marked topical Theme becomes as it were more and more marked at each step.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Argument For Thematic Status

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 111:
The fact that we do find clauses such as unfortunately protein you can’t store, with marked topical Theme in such an environment, shows that the experiential element following the interpersonal Adjunct still carries thematic status — otherwise there would be no sense in fronting it. This in turn means that an ordinary unmarked Theme under the same conditions is just that — an unmarked topical Theme.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Interpersonal Themes: Characteristically Thematic

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 110):
If there is a Vocative in the clause, or a modal or comment Adjunct, it is quite likely to be thematic: these items are characteristic of dialogue, in which the speaker may be calling the attention of the listener, or else expressing his or her own angle on the matter in hand, whether probable, desirable and so on, and hence they tend to be brought in as key signature to the particular move in the exchange – in other words, as Theme of the clause.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Conjunctive Adjuncts: Characteristically Thematic

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 110):
The conjunctive Adjuncts (often called ‘discourse Adjuncts’), as noted above, cover roughly the same semantic space as the conjunctions; but whereas conjunctions set up a grammatical (systemic-structural) relationship with another clause, which may be either preceding or following, the relationship established by conjunctive Adjuncts, while semantically cohesive, is not a structural one (hence they can relate only to what has gone before). These Adjuncts often are thematic; but they do not have to be. We may have either therefore the scheme was abandoned, with therefore as textual Theme, or the scheme was therefore abandoned, with therefore falling within the Rheme.  Note how the Theme + Rheme analysis enables us to explain the difference in meaning between pairs of agnate clauses such as these.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Continuatives, Conjunctions And The Quantum Of Thematicity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 110):
By the same token, however, since these items are thematic by default, when one of them is present it does not take up the full thematic potential of the clause in which it occurs. What follows it will also have thematic status, almost if not quite as prominently as when nothing else precedes. We can demonstrate this by reference to the concept of ‘marked (topical) Theme’. On the one hand, after a continuative or a conjunction it is still possible to introduce a marked type of topical Theme, either in contrast or as a setting ... On the other hand, such marked Themes appear to be slightly less frequent when there is some inherently thematic item in the clause, suggesting that some of the ‘quantum of thematicity’ has already been taken up.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Inherently Thematic: Continuatives & Conjunctions

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 109):
Those that are inherently thematic are the (textual) continuatives and conjunctions.  As the language evolved, they have, as it were, migrated to the front of the clause and stayed there. Essentially they constitute a setting for the clause (continuative), or else they locate it in a specific logical-semantic relationship to another clause in the neighbourhood (conjunction). In either case, their thematic status comes as part of a package, along with their particular discursive force.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Thematic Function Of Textual And Interpersonal Themes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 109):
Why do these items favour thematic position in the clause – or, to put the question more meaningfully, why are they associated with thematic function, either characteristically or, in some cases [continuatives and conjunctions], inherently? In the most general sense, they are all natural Themes: if the speaker, or writer, is making explicit the way the clause relates to the surrounding discourse (textual), or projecting his/her own angle on the value of what the clause is saying (interpersonal), it is natural to set up such expressions as the point of departure. The message begins with ‘let me tell you how this fits in’, and/or ‘let me tell you what I think about this’.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Elements Serving As Interpersonal Theme [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 108):
  1. [interpersonal] Vocative. This is any item, typically (but not necessarily) a personal name, being used to address.
  2. [interpersonal] Modal/comment Adjunct. These express the speaker/writer’s judgment on or attitude to the content of the message.
  3. [interpersonal] Finite verbal operator. These are the small set of finite auxiliary verbs construing primary tense or modality; they are the unmarked Theme of yes/no interrogatives.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Elements Serving As Textual Theme [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 107-8):
  1. [textual] continuative. A continuative is one of a small set of words that signal a move in the discourse: a response, in dialogue, or a new move to the next point if the same speaker is continuing. The usual continuatives are yes no well oh now.
  2. [textual] conjunction. A conjunction is a word or group that either links (paratactic) or binds (hypotactic) the clause in which it occurs structurally to another clause. Semantically, it sets up a relationship of expansion or projection;
  3. [textual] conjunctive Adjunct (‘discourse Adjunct’). These are adverbial groups or prepositional phrases that relate the clause to the preceding text: they cover roughly the same semantic space as conjunctions.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Interpersonal Themes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 107):
… modal/comment Adjunct ['modal Theme'] … vocative … finite verbal operator [in yes/no interrogative]

Friday, 7 April 2017

Textual Themes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 107): 
… continuative … conjunction ['structural Theme']… conjunctive Adjunct …

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Topical Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 105):
The guiding principle of thematic structure is this: the Theme contains one, and only one, of these experiential elements. This means that the Theme of a clause ends with the first constituent that is either participant, circumstance or process. We refer to this constituent, in its textual function, as the topical Theme.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Theme, Mood & Markedness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 104-5):
Thus the question which element of the clause is typically chosen as Theme depends on the choice of mood.  The pattern can be summarised as shown in Table 3-2.  When some other element comes first, it constitutes a ‘marked’ choice of Theme; such marked Themes usually either express some kind of setting for the clause or carry a feature of contrast. Note that in such instances the element that would have been the unmarked choice as Theme is now part of the Rheme.




Blogger Comment:

Note that this means that when a clause has a marked Theme, it does not have an unmarked Theme as well.  The misunderstanding that a clause can have both a marked and unmarked Theme — along with many other theoretical misunderstandings — can be traced to Martin (1992).

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Adjunct As Marked Theme In Imperative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 103, 104):
Imperative clauses may have a marked Theme, as when a locative Adjunct is thematic in a clause giving directions … The adjunct part of a phrasal verb may serve as marked Theme in an imperative clause with an explicit Subject, as in Up you get! … .

Monday, 3 April 2017

Predicator As Theme

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 103):
The imperative is the only type of clause in which the Predicator (the verb) is regularly found as Theme. This is not impossible in other moods … but in such clauses it is the most highly marked choice of all.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Unmarked & Marked Theme In Negative & Positive Imperative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 103):
… the principle is the same as with yes/no interrogatives: the unmarked Theme is don’t plus the following element, either Subject or Predicator. Again there is a marked form with you, … where the Theme is don’t you. There is also a marked contrastive form of the positive, … where the Theme is do plus the Predicator … .

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Unmarked Theme In ‘You’ Imperative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 103):
… although the ‘you’ can be made explicit as a Theme … this is clearly a marked choice; the more typical form is … with the verb in thematic position. … here, therefore, it is the Predicator that is the unmarked Theme.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Unmarked Theme In ‘You-&-Me’ Imperative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 103):
… here, let’s is clearly the unmarked choice of Theme.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Interrogative Themes & Markedness

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 103):
Thus in both kinds of interrogative clause the choice of a typical ‘unmarked’ thematic pattern is clearly motivated, since this pattern has evolved as the means of carrying the basic message of the clause. Hence there is a strong tendency for the speaker to choose the unmarked form, and not to override it by introducing a marked Theme out in front. But marked Themes do sometimes occur in interrogatives.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Thematic WH- Elements Not Directly Part Of The Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 102):
If the WH- word is, or is part of, a nominal group functioning as Complement in a prepositional phrase, this nominal group may function as Theme on its own, e.g. what in what shall I mend it with?, which house in which house do they live in? If the WH- element serves in a projected clause, it may serve as the Theme of the projecting clause, as in Who do you think pays the rent?, which is the interrogative version of you think somebody pays the rent.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Interrogative Clause Structure Embodies The Thematic Principle

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101-2):
Interrogative clauses, therefore, embody the thematic principle in their structural make-up. It is characteristic of an interrogative clause in English that one particular element comes first; and the reason for this is that that element, owing to the very nature of a question, has the status of a Theme. The speaker is not making an instantial choice to put this element first; its occurrence in first position is the regular pattern by which the interrogative is expressed. It has become part of the system of the language, and the explanation for this lies in the thematic significance that is attached to first position in the English clause. Interrogatives express questions; the natural theme of a question is ‘I want to be told something’; the answer required is either a piece of information about an element of the clause or an indication of polarity. So the realisation of interrogative mood involves selecting an element that indicates the kind of answer required, and putting it at the beginning of the clause.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Theme In WH- Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101):
In a WH- interrogative, which is a search for a missing piece of information, the element that functions as Theme is the element that requests this information, namely the WH- element.  It is the WH- element that expresses the nature of the missing piece: who, what, when, how, etc. So in a WH- interrogative the WH- element is put first no matter what other function it has in the mood structure of the clause, whether Subject, Adjunct or Complement. The meaning is ‘I want you to tell me the person, thing, time, manner, etc.’.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Theme In Polar Interrogative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101, 102):
In a yes/no interrogative, which is a question about polarity, the element that functions as Theme is the element that embodies the expression of polarity, namely the Finite verbal operator. … but, since that is not an element in the experiential structure of the clause, the Theme extends over the following Subject as well.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Theme In Exclamative Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 101):
There is one sub-category of declarative clause that has a special thematic structure, namely the exclamative. These typically have an exclamatory WH-element as Theme … .

Friday, 24 March 2017

A General Principle Of Marking

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 100):
… while a given term may be marked globally in the language, it may be locally unmarked because it is motivated by register-specific considerations.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The ‘Most Marked’ Type Of Theme In A Declarative Clause: Complement

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 99):
The ‘most marked’ type of Theme in a declarative clause is thus a Complement: for example this responsibility in this responsibility we accept wholly. This is a nominal element that, being nominal, has the potentiality of being Subject; which has not been selected as Subject; and which nevertheless has been made thematic. Since it could have been Subject, and therefore unmarked Theme, there must be very good reason for making it a thematic Complement – it is being explicitly foregrounded as the Theme of the clause.* 
* It is also likely to be given the status of New information within its own unit of information. At the same time, some element other than the Complement will be a candidate for the status of New within the Rheme of the clause, as in this they should refuse.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Negative Adjunct Or Complement As Theme —> Finite^Subject


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 98-9):
Marked Adjunct and Complement Themes are followed by the Subject in Modern English — a[n] historical departure from the general principle in Germanic languages that the Theme is followed by, and thus marked off by, the Finite in a declarative clause. The general exception to this departure in Modern English is a clausal negative item as Theme — an Adjunct or Complement with a negative feature that pertains to the clause.*  Such negative Themes are followed by the Finite.

* This applies to circumstantial Adjuncts with a negative feature, e.g. nowhere as a locative Adjunct; and it also applies to modal Adjuncts with a negative (or quasi-negative) feature, e.g. never, hardly.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Marked Themes In Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 98, 100):
A Theme that is something other than the Subject, in a declarative clause, we shall refer to as a marked Theme. The most usual form of marked Theme is an adverbial group … or prepositional phrase … functioning as Adjunct in the clause. Least likely to be thematic is a Complement, which is a nominal group that is not functioning as Subject — something that could have been a Subject but is not … . Sometimes even the Complement from within a prepositional phrase functions as Theme … .

Monday, 20 March 2017

Unmarked Theme In Declarative Clauses

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 97):
In a declarative clause, the typical pattern is one in which Theme is conflated with Subject; … We shall refer to the mapping of Theme on to Subject as the unmarked Theme of a declarative clause. The Subject is the element that is chosen as Theme unless there is good reason for choosing something else.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mood Selection

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 97):
Every free clause selects for mood. … A free major clause is either indicative (giving or demanding information) or imperative (demanding goods-&-services) in mood; if indicative, it is either declarative (giving information) or interrogative (demanding information); if interrogative, it is either ‘yes/no’ interrogative or ‘WH-’ interrogative.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Mood: The Major Interpersonal System Of The Clause

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 97):
MOOD is the major interpersonal system of the clause; it provides interactants involved in dialogue with the resources for giving or demanding a commodity, either information or goods-&-services – in other words, with the resources for enacting speech functions (speech acts) through the grammar of the clause: statements (giving information), questions (demanding information), offers (giving goods-&-services), and commands (demanding goods-&-services).

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Meaning Of Thematic Equatives

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 95):
The thematic equative actually realises two distinct semantic features, which happen to correspond to the two senses of the word identify. On the one hand, it identifies (specifies) what the Theme is; on the other hand, it identifies it (equates it) with the Rheme. The second of these features adds a semantic component of exclusiveness: the meaning is ‘this and this alone’.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thematic Equatives: Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 93, 95): 
In a thematic equative, all the elements of the clause are organised into two constituents; these two are then linked by a relationship of identity, a kind of ‘equals sign’, expressed by some form of the verb be. …
A thematic equative (… a ‘pseudo-cleft sentence’ …) is an identifying clause which has a thematic nominalisation in it. Its function is to express the Theme–Rheme structure in such a way as to allow for the Theme to consist of any subset of the elements of the clause. This is the explanation for the evolution of clauses of this type: they have evolved, in English, as a thematic resource, enabling the message to be structured in whatever way the speaker or writer wants.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Theme–Rheme & Information

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 92):
… if a clause is organised into two information units, the boundary between the two is overwhelmingly likely to coincide with the junction of Theme and Rheme.

Blogger Comment:

This might be true if we ignore conjunctive Adjuncts as textual Themes and comment Adjuncts as interpersonal Themes:
// However // information boundaries are highly likely between textual and experiential Themes //
// Actually // information boundaries are highly likely between interpersonal and experiential Themes //

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Theme–Rheme Vs Topic–Comment

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 89n):
Some grammarians have used the terms Topic and Comment instead of Theme and Rheme. But the Topic–Comment terminology carries rather different connotations. The label ‘Topic’ usually refers to only one particular kind of Theme, the ‘topical Theme’; and it tends to be used as a cover term for two concepts that are functionally distinct, one being that of Theme and the other being that of Given. It seems preferable to retain the earlier terminology of Theme–Rheme.  In the generative linguistic literature, Gruber (1976: 38) introduced the term ‘theme’ in an experiential (rather than textual) sense for a kind of participant role, a ‘theta role’ in generative terms. In work drawing on Fillmore’s (1968) ‘case grammar’, the term ‘theme’ has also been used as a label for deep case, or semantic case. In a different context, ‘theme’ is also used as the name of a stratum in verbal art: see Hasan (1985b: 96).

Monday, 13 March 2017

Theme: Function

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 89):
The Theme is the element which serves as the point of departure of the message; it is that which locates and orients the clause within its context.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Clause As Message

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 88):
The structure which carries this line of meaning is known as thematic structure. … a form of organisation whereby it fits in with, and contributes to, the flow of discourse.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Clause As Three Meanings Realised In One Wording

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 88):
… we introduced the notion of a clause as a unit in which meanings of three different kinds are combined. Three distinct structures, each expressing one kind of semantic organisation, are mapped on to one another to produce a single wording.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Constituency: Simplest & Prototypical Type Of Structure

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 85):
It is the segmental kind of structure, with clearly separated constituent parts organised into a whole, that has traditionally been taken as the norm in descriptions of grammar; the very concept of ‘structure’, in language, has been defined in constituency terms. This is partly because of the kind of meaning that is expressed in this way: experiential meaning has been much more fully described than meaning of the other kinds. But there is also another reason, which is that constituency is the simplest kind of structure, from which the other, more complex kinds can be derived; it is the natural one to take as prototypical — in the same way as digital systems are taken as the norm from which analogue systems can be derived, rather than the other way round.

Blogger Comment:

Really?