Saturday, 2 May 2015

Misconstruing Ellipsis–&–Substitution As Reference And Rebranding It As "Redundancy Phoricity"

Martin (1992: 99-100):
Finally, [the third type of information that needs to be recovered from the context] redundancy phoricity is concerned not with tracking the identity of participants but with signalling (in the context of nominal groups) that experiential meaning needs to be recovered from the context. This is realised through substitution and ellipsis (for a full account see Halliday & Hasan 1976: 91-111 & 147-166):
REDUNDANCY PHORICITY ('you know my experiential content')
[3:5]  The boy found his frog
          and brought home a baby one too.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This again confuses the recoverable identity ("types of information") with a purported type of reference ("redundancy phoricity").

[2] This again confuses tracking participants with the presentation of elements as identifiable (reference).

[3] This characterisation of "redundancy phoricity" is indistinguishable from the characterisation of "reminding phoricity" (Halliday's co-reference), since it is merely a restatement of the latter in which 'experiential meaning' has been substituted for 'identity':
It signals that the identity of the participant being realised is recoverable. (p99)
[4] This misconstrues ellipsis–&–substitution as a type of reference and rebrands it as "redundancy phoricity".  That is, Martin confuses two distinct types of cohesion.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 635) explain the difference between the two types:
Another form of anaphoric cohesion in the text is achieved by ELLIPSIS, where we presuppose something by means of what is left out. Like all cohesive agencies, ellipsis contributes to the semantic structure of the discourse. But unlike reference, which is itself a semantic relation, ellipsis sets up a relationship that is not semantic but lexicogrammatical — a relationship in the wording rather than directly in the meaning. … Ellipsis marks the textual status of continuous information within a certain grammatical structure. … Sometimes an explicit indication may be given that something is omitted, by the use of a substitute form;
To be clear, Martin provides no example of ellipsis realising "redundancy phoricity".

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