Sunday, 3 May 2015

Strategically Confusing Delicacy And Realisation

Martin (1992: 119-20):
The second way of avoiding the reference systems outlined above is to use [generalised] reference (Halliday & Hasan 1976: 53-54).  The relationship of these "out" options to the principal reference systems is formulated systemically in Fig. 3.9.  For more delicate realisations of the features [presenting], [undirected] and [comparison] see the networks presented in the course of the description above.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, as Halliday & Hasan (1976: 53-4) point out, this is generalised exophoric reference, and as such, makes no contribution to the cohesion of a text.  More importantly, Martin violates the principle of stratification by relocating Halliday & Hasan's generalised reference from lexicogrammar to his own discourse semantics, without regard to the different levels of symbolic abstraction that the strata represent.

[2] This strategically confuses two distinct dimension of SFL theory, delicacy and realisation.  More delicate features are not realisations of less delicate features.  Systemic delicacy is a scale of generality (intensive attribution) at one level of symbolic abstraction (stratum), whereas realisation is a relation (intensive identification) between two levels of symbolic abstraction, as between strata, or between axes, or between function and form; see e.g. Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 144-5).  The confusion is strategic because it falsely implies that Martin has specified how these features are realised.

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