Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Confusing Metafunctions And ConfusingTypes Of Cohesion

Martin (1992: 139):
To illustrate this [i.e. "constructing participants by referring to them"] consider the range of responses possible in [3:77]:

She saw them building a new school

— If you say so.
— Do you think so?
— Who told you that?
— I can't believe that.
That's impossible / It's not possible.
That's hard work / It's hard work.
That's what we needed / It's what we needed.
Response v illustrates the pattern considered to this point: reference between participants — that and it presume a phenomenon, realised earlier as a new school.  In response iv however, that and it presume a macro-phenomenon — the act of building a new school…  .  Response iii takes this one step further, presuming a metaphenomenon — the fact that she saw them building a new school: cf. It's not possible [[that she saw them building a new school]]In ii that also presumes she saw them building a new school as a metaphenomenon — but this time as a projected locution or idea, not a fact.  That contrasts with so in i; as Halliday (1985:234) points out, with verbal processes the distinction is between quoting (that) and reporting (so), whereas with mental processes the opposition is between assertion (that) and postulation (so).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This confuses the experiential function of that and it (participant) with the textual function of that and it (reference item).  The reference relation obtains between the reference item and the referent.

[2] To be clear, the reference items that and it do not refer to the referent whose experiential function is Thing (school), but to that which functions as the Goal (a new school) of an embedded clause serving as Phenomenon: macrophenomenon.

[3] Here Martin creates an inconsistency by switching from the experiential function of the referent to the experiential function of the reference item.  In doing so, he misconstrues the function of each referent, Verbiage and Phenomenon, as projected clauses, locution and idea, respectively.

[4] Here Martin mistakes an instance of substitution (so) for a reference item, and analyses the ideational function of the substitute, rather than what he believes to be the referent.

[5] This is misleading, since, as Halliday (1985: 234) points out, the distinction is between that and so is the distinction between reference and substitution, respectively.  He then goes on to explain why reference is typically used for quotes, and why substitution is used for reports, before concluding:
In verbal processes, therefore, he said that simply attests to his production of the wording, whereas he said so raises the issue of whether what he said is in fact the case.
[6] To be clear, what Halliday (1985: 234) actually wrote was as follows:

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