Monday, 11 May 2015

Misunderstanding Nominalisation And Reference

Martin (1992: 138-9):
The following text, villified [sic] as "superb balderdash" by Tarzie Vittachi (1989:11), creates numerous generic participants of this kind (nominalised participants in bold face).  None of the participants the grammar constructs are presumed in [3:76], but all have the potential to provide referents for subsequent phoric nominal groups.
The implementation of key targets as operational components of the new strategy — and hence also of the process of negotiation — may be conceived in the time frame of a decade but only in the form of a dynamic process, with different time frames for different components, and with an inbuilt and effective mechanism for review and reappraisal, leading to adjustments and correctives whenever the strategy is seen to deflect from the goals and objectives of development for which it was devised. It should be in the form not of a 'plan of action' but rather of a manifesto, which provides the framework of a sustained commitment to, and implementation of, developmental goals and their operational components, and embodies institutional mechanisms for continuous negotiation, monitoring, appraisal, criticism and modification.

Blogger Comments:

[1] As previously explained, Martin''s generic vs specific distinction is a confusion of composition (extending: part-whole) and instantiation (elaborating: token-type).  In terms of SFL theory, the relevant dimension here is countability;  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 385):
We could think in terms of a cline of countability, ranging from those nouns (and pronouns) which construe things as fully itemised, at one end, to those which treat them as totally unbounded at the other. Typically, living beings and concrete objects are itemised, abstract entities (and nominalised processes and qualities) are unbounded, with institutions and collectives falling in between.
[2] To be clear, Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 729) describe nominalisation as follows:
Nominalising is the single most powerful resource for creating grammatical metaphor. By this device, processes (congruently worded as verbs) and properties (congruently worded as adjectives) are reworded metaphorically as nouns; instead of functioning in the clause, as Process or Attribute, they function as Thing in the nominal group.
On this basis, operational, developmental, strategy, mechanism and goal are not nominalisations because they are not processes or qualities (properties) reworded as nouns.

[3] This is manifestly untrue.  For example, of the four highlighted reference items:
  • the makes anaphoric demonstrative co-reference to the first mention of strategy;
  • it makes anaphoric personal co-reference to the second mention of strategy;
  • It makes anaphoric personal co-reference to implementation; and
  • their makes anaphoric personal co-reference to developmental goals.
Martin's rebranding of (his misunderstanding of) Halliday & Hasan's (1976) demonstrative and personal co-reference is "reminding phoricity".

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