Sunday, 3 May 2015

Confusing Ideational Denotation With Textual Reference

Martin (1992: 121):
Predisposition [sic] to different aspects of context have already been noted in 3.3.2 above with respect to reminding and relevance phoricity as far as participant identification is concerned.  Demonstratives for example point to the non-verbal context more regularly than does the definite article which has evolved from them.  Similarly, interlocutor (i.e. 1st and 2nd person) pronouns more typically refer outside the text than in; and it would be very unusual to find the attributive so + adjective presuming information from the co-text.  Proper names differ from all of these in that they are commonly used to refer to participants that are present in neither the co-text nor the immediate situation; they simply assume that interlocutors know who is being referred to, whether they are around in any material sense or not.  These phoric orientations to different aspects of the context are set out below.

this, that, these, those
Attribute: so + adjective
Attribute: that + adjective

proper names

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is a bare assertion unsupported by argument or evidence.  Moreover, there are reasons to think that the exact opposite is true. Importantly, the frequencies of such instances vary with the different instantiation probabilities of different registers, but, across registers, the potential to make specific reference (this/these, that/those) to the environment of text more limited than the potential to make non-specific reference (the), the latter additionally used for homophoric reference as well as exophoric.

[2] This confuses reference in the sense of ideational denotation with reference in the sense it is used in SFL theory as a textual cohesive strategy; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 623).  In the SFL sense, pronouns defined by the act of speaking (1st & 2nd person) do not function as reference items.

[3] This, again, is the exact opposite of what is true, as demonstrated by instances like
  • The enormous dinosaur skeleton was finally installed in the main hall of the museum. Before the renovations, so large an exhibit could not have been accommodated.
[4] This, again, confuses reference in the sense of ideational denotation with reference in the sense it is used in SFL theory as a textual cohesive strategy.  In the SFL sense, proper names do not function as reference items; they do not present an item as identifiable — they present the identity itself.

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