Thursday, 7 May 2015

Giving Priority To Structure And Form Instead Of System And Function

Martin (1992: 135):
This distribution of phoric items across different elements of nominal group structure makes it very difficult to capture the relevant textual generalisations at the level of grammarThe structure of pronominal, proper and common nominal groups is very divergent (cf. he, Professor Emeritus J C Smith, that fellow I met last week) for good experiential and interpersonal reasons.  But all three types of group may be presuming in the same way and need to be classed together as far as textual meaning is concerned.  The same point can be made with respect to relevance phoricity: Deictics, Numeratives and Epithets are generated by quite different nominal group systems, but from the point of view of textual meaning all can presume supersets.

Blogger Comments:

[1] On the one hand, the "distribution of phoric items across different elements of nominal group structure" is irrelevant to "textual generalisations at the level of grammar" since reference is not a system of the nominal group.  On the other hand, viewing the grammar in terms of structure is at odds with SFL theory, in which priority is given to the view from above, which, in terms of axis, is to system rather than structure.

[2] Given that Martin's model is concerned with 'reference as semantic choice', and that reference is a grammatical system, "the relevant generalisations at the level of grammar" are already provided the theorists whose work Martin sources; see, for example, Halliday (1985).

[3] Here again Martin gives priority to the view 'from below' in terms of axis, structure over system, and supplements this with the view 'from' below' in terms of the rank scale, by classifying nominal groups in terms of the word classes that realise them (pronoun, proper noun, common noun).  That is, Martin's view is neither systemic not functional, being concerned instead with structure and form.

[4] Here again Martin confuses reference items with one of the grammatical domains in which they occur, the nominal group, and completely ignores the other grammatical domain: the adverbial group.

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