Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Notion Of "Grammatical Metaphor Functioning As A Kind Of Discourse Process"

Martin (1992: 139-40):
The responses in [3:77] can be read as scaled according to the degree of "participanthood" the reference items entail.  So respects clausehood; but in reconstructing the meanings made in She saw them building a new school as reported locutions or ideas, facts and acts that and it are transforming text into thing.  This is another instance of grammatical metaphor, this time functioning as a kind of discourse process.  This point will be taken up again below in connection with internal conjunction (Chapter 4) and metalinguistic lexis (Chapter 5).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This confuses the experiential metafunction (degree of "participanthood") with the textual metafunction (reference items).  For what 'degree of participanthood' means in SFL theory, see Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 167-72).

[2] The wording "respects clausehood" is chosen to mislead, since it disguises a theoretical inconsistency.  In SFL theory, these instances of so substitute for a clause — they do not refer to it (or "respect clausehood").  As previously explained, Martin misunderstands substitution as a type of reference, rebranding the misunderstanding "redundancy phoricity", and relocating it from the stratum of lexicogrammar to his stratum — misunderstood as a module — of discourse semantics.

[3] To be clear, the reference items that and it do not "reconstruct the meanings", they simply refer to them.

[4] As previously noted, in Martin's example, [3:77ii], the experiential functions of the reference item that are Verbiage and Phenomenon, not locution and idea.

[5] To be clear, the reference items that and it do not "transform text into thing"; they simply refer to referents that resolve their identity.

[6] To be clear, grammatical metaphor is a mismatch between strata, semantics and lexicogrammar, such that two meanings are made at once, one metaphorically and one congruently.  Martin's characterisation of grammatical metaphor as a "discourse process" not only misunderstands grammatical metaphor, but is also inconsistent with his own later (p401, Chapter 6) misunderstanding of grammatical metaphor as a 'texturing interface' between strata, the latter misunderstood as modules.

[7] This point was not taken up again: neither in the 111 pages of Chapter 4 nor the the 108 pages of Chapter 5, which is why Martin provides no page numbers or chapter subheadings.

In the text examined in this and the previous post, Martin has done his best to make his theoretical misunderstandings and inconsistencies unintelligible, the two main techniques being:
  • presenting the text examples and the discussion of them in reverse order, and
  • switching from the experiential functions of reference items in (i) and (ii) to experiential functions of the referents in (iii-v).

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