Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Text [3:1] — Problems With Martin's 'Semantics Of Reference' Analysis [8]

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)
a baby gorilla
my (mum)*    

viii. My mum, like other nominal groups with a possessive Deictic, realises two participants (see discussion in 3.4.1 below); however the possessive functions as the deixis for the participant it modifies, and so reference and retrieval are coded only once, for my.

Blogger Comments:

[1] 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.

[2] This again mistakes interpersonal deixis for textual reference. To be clear, only non-interactant (3rd person) pronouns and determiners function as personal reference items, since these alone mark identifiability. The identities of the interactants (1st & 2nd person) are given by their rôles in the speech event (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 606). The confusion is one of metafunction.

[3] To be clear, in SFL theory, my mum realises one participant, Sayer.  The interpersonal possessive Deictic my indicates the subset of the Thing of the nominal group realising the participant.

[4] See the critique of this discussion, 'Participants and nominal groups' (pp129-34), for the misunderstandings on which the preceding claim is made.

[5] This demonstrates the confusion between interpersonal deixis and textual reference that runs through this entire chapter.  The confusion is one of metafunction.

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