Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Text [3:1] — Problems With Martin's 'Semantics Of Reference' Analysis [4]

Martin (1992: 127, 128):
The nominal groups in [3:1] are listed below. Each is coded for the IDENTIFICATION choices made and the type of reference to the context where these choices are phoric. The analysis will be annotated for purposes of discussion, rather than presented in detail.

(terminal features)
(where phoric)
this man
presentingmajor role*
iv. Since the man does not play an ongoing role in the story, taking this man as the realisation of [major role] is perhaps generous here; it should perhaps be alternatively analysed as [presuming…directed:proximate] and involving addition.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The demonstrative reference made by this can be interpreted as anaphoric to the title at the zoo.

[2] As previously explained, Martin's 'presenting' reference is neither reference nor textual; instead, it labels the first instantiation of an experiential participant in a text. The confusion is one of metafunction.

[3] The characterisation of one-off participant as playing a 'major rôle' — the only possible categorisation of this instance under 'presenting' reference (p107) — seriously misrepresents the data, and so demonstrates another serious flaw in a model invalidated by fundamental theoretical misunderstandings.

[4] This is merely Martin's rebranding of Halliday & Hasan's (1976: 57-76) demonstrative reference, misunderstood and relocated from lexicogrammar to discourse semantics.  The theoretical inconsistency created is in terms of stratification.

[5] As previously explained, this sense of "addition" is derived from confusing experiential participants with textual reference items. The theoretical inconsistency is one of metafunction. This leads to the absurdity of reference with "no referent".  This might be compared with presenting "reference" which 'signals that the identity of the participant in question cannot be recovered from the context' (p102).

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