Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Misunderstanding The Interpersonal Function Of Embedding

Martin (1992: 123):
Esphora is a very common way of introducing participants to a text; … Du Bois (1980:224-225) suggests that this strategy is used when a Qualifier gives enough information to identify a participant and when that information is "not particularly noteworthy" (i.e. not worth negotiating and so embedded; see Chapter 2 above).

Blogger Comments:

[1] The claim Du Bois (1980: 223-224) makes is:
One cannot introduce an unknown woman into a conversation with the sentence
(55) The woman Bill married last night was nasty to him
in part because the new information contained in the relative clause is too noteworthy to be presupposed.
To be clear, this is a bare assertion, unsupported by evidence from corpora, and more prescription than description.

[2] On the one hand, Martin here misunderstands 'noteworthy' as "negotiation worthy", and on the other hand, he misunderstands the interpersonal function of embedding rank units, which is to remove them from the line of negotiation (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 171), not to present them as not worth negotiating.

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