Monday, 18 May 2015

Why The Argument For A Discourse Semantics Of Logical Relations Is Invalid

Martin (1992: 162-3):
The following clauses in particular do not make use of clause complex resources to encode causal or temporal relations:
That's because it's a low dog.
That is so the judge can get the hind movement of your dog.
After that he usually tells you…
He proceeds to do that with every dog.
Each of these uses a combination of IDENTIFICATION and TRANSITIVITY to make the necessary logical connections between parts of the text.  The first two are causal and involve text reference; anaphoric that functions as Carrier in an attributive relational clause with cause and purpose clauses embedded in the Attribute. …
The temporal examples also make use of that, but in the context of extended rather than text reference.  In After that, that functions as part of a Circumstance of Location in time, with the temporal connection coded as a preposition.  In the last example, that functions as a Range for the general process do and temporal succession is coded through the process proceed.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The reason why the clauses 'do not make use of clause complex resources to encode causal or temporal relations' is that they are not clause complexes.  Of the four clauses, only one actually realises any causal or temporal relation — non-structurally through conjunctive cohesion — as will be demonstrated below.

[2] In SFL theory, the first two clauses are related cohesively to their respective previous text through anaphoric demonstrative reference marked by that.  Neither clause realises a causal relation to the preceding text.  Instead, in the first, an attributive reason is ascribed, via the reference item, to a referent:

that
’s
[[because it’s a low dog]]
Carrier
reference: demonstrative: anaphoric
Process: relational
Attribute: reason
because
it
’s
a low dog

Carrier
Process: relational
Attribute

and in the second, a mental purpose is ascribed, via the reference item, to a referent:

that
is
[[so the judge can get the hind movement of your dog]]
Carrier
reference: demonstrative: anaphoric
Process: relational
Attribute: purpose
so
the judge
can get
the hind movement of your dog

Senser
Process: mental
Phenomenon

[3] Contrary to the claim, the second "temporal" example does indeed make use of "text" reference (anaphoric demonstrative), and on Martin's analysis of the first example, it does as well (but see point [4] below).

[4] In SFL theory, after that functions as a conjunctive Adjunct, rather than a circumstantial Adjunct, and functions cohesively to mark a temporal conjunctive relation with a previous message.

after that
he
usually
tells
you
conjunctive Adjunct
Subject
mood Adjunct: modality
Finite
Predicator
Complement


[5] This confuses temporal relations between messages with the time-phase elaboration of a Process.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 499-501).

he
proceeds to do
that
with every dog
Actor
Process: material
proceeds
to do
a
=b
Goal
reference: demonstrative: anaphoric
Accompaniment


[6] The Process is realised by the elaborating verbal group complex proceeds to do.


Postscript

These clause simplex examples are presented as the motivation for theorising a discourse semantics of logical relations (p163), and it is later (p262) claimed that these examples 
cause problems for the clause complex analysis, in spite of the fact that Halliday's system was specifically designed to handle the dynamics of clause combining.

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