Sunday, 3 May 2015

On Knowledge Of Language As Context

Martin (1992: 103, 104):
Generic groups in other words do not depend on their context in the way that specific groups do; unless their realisation involves demonstratives or pronouns (e.g. they and these desert water-tanks in [3:17] below), their context is in effect simply that of knowledge of the language being used.
The cacti have extensive root systems spreading in all directions — sideways and downwards — to soak up as much water as possible when it rains. They are able to swell to store water, and they then use this water over long periods of drought. A thick waterproof covering protects these desert water-tanks with their soft pulpy cells, and their leaves are often reduced to thorns to cut down on water-loss and protect the plant from animals that might otherwise eat it for its moisture.

Blogger Comments:

[1] As explained in previous posts, the term 'generic groups' confuses both the referent ('generic') and the nominal group featuring the reference item ('group') with the reference item itself.

[2] As explained in previous posts, 'depend on' misconstrues the textual relation between reference item and referent as a logical relation of dependence. The inconsistency is one of metafunction.

[3] To be clear, in text [3:17], the personal reference item they and the demonstrative reference item these both mark anaphoric co-reference to the cacti.  To be clear, the cacti construes the members ("manifestations") of the class 'cactus', not the "generic" class itself.

[4] To be clear, nominal groups that do not include a co-reference item, personal or demonstrative, do not include a reference to an identity that needs to be recovered from the co-text.

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