Saturday, 2 May 2015

Misidentifying Both The Reference Item And The Referent

Martin (1992: 100-1):
Aside from nominal groups, systems depending items [sic] on their context in terms of recoverable information are found throughout the grammar, and can be itemised as follows … :
Reminding Phoricity – 
[3:8]   The boy reached the pond.
           There he found his frog. 
[3:9]   The boy couldn't find his frog.
           It worried him that he couldn't.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This continues the confusion of reference items with the nominal groups in which they occur.

[2] This continues the misrepresentation of a textual relation (reference) as a logical relation (dependency).

[3] This continues the confusion between co-text (Martin's "context") and context (the culture as a semiotic system with language as its expression plane).

[4] To be clear, the recoverable 'information' is the identity presented as recoverable by the reference item.

[5] Note that, despite this, when Martin argues for the stratal location of his system of IDENTIFICATION, he only considers nominal groups.

[6] Note that both examples are Martin's constructions.  Neither features in text [3:88].

[7] To be clear, "reminding phoricity" is Martin's rebranding of Halliday's co-reference.

[8] This confuses the experiential domain (Location) of a reference item with the textual function of a reference item.

[9] This confuses the experiential domain (fact) of a reference item with the textual function of a reference item.  But more importantly, it misidentifies both the reference item and the referent.  The reference item is it, not it … that he couldn't and the referent is that he couldn't, not the boy couldn't find his frog.  Moreover, the reference is cataphoric and structural, and so neither anaphoric nor cohesive; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 625ff).

reference item
It … that he couldn't
The boy couldn't find his frog
that he couldn't

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