Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Confusing Textual Conjunction With Logical Relations

Martin (1992: 264-5):
The realisation of conjunctive relations within clauses causes problems for the definition of messages provided in 4.6 above where ranking, non-projected clauses were proposed as constituting the event-line in reticula.  The following messages from [4:199] can be used to illustrate the problem (nominalisations in bold-face).
[4:199] j. Let's be clear: I personally favour the initiative
            k. and ardently support disarmament negotiations to reduce the risk of war.
It may be argued that the conjunctive relations in [4:1999j-k] are too deeply buried to worry about.  But this objection will not hold for [4:204] where they are explicitly realised through circumstantial relations (through and resulting from) in clause structure. …
[4:204] a.  Government and police sources agreed that the force's problem is lack of morale through a lack of discipline resulting from the absence of a strong figurehead.
The projection in this text is just a clause long in its written form, but can be unpacked into a three message clause complex as follows:
[4:205] (= SPOKEN PARAPHRASE of the projection in [4:204])
a.  the police force has problems
b.  because they aren't being disciplined
c.  because the force doesn't have a strong commissioner.
As can be seen from these examples, unpacking the grammatical metaphors characteristic of written text will have dramatic consequences for any text's conjunctive structure.  But not unpacking them means that a good deal of the logical structure of many texts will be missed. …
As suggested above, Rhetorical Structure Theory does not appear to have addressed this issue.  In practice, relational propositions which are realised within clauses through TRANSITIVITY relations are simply ignored. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] This confuses conjunction with logical semantic relations.  In SFL theory, conjunctive relations are the non-structural deployment by the textual metafunction of the logical semantic system of expansion.  It is merely one of the many manifestations the transphenomenal fractal types, expansion and projection, in the system.  Conjunctive relations don't obtain within a clause, but logical semantic relations do, as in the relations between the clause nucleus and other participants and circumstances.

[2] In terms of SFL theory, there is no conjunctive relation in [4:199] — there is neither a conjunction nor a conjunctive Adjunct — linking the clause complex to the opening simplex.

[3] Unpacking a metaphorical clause into a more congruent clause complex is irrelevant to the conjunctive relations in a text, because, in SFL theory, there are no conjunctive relations obtaining either in a clause or in a clause complex.

[4] The issue is ignored because it only arises because of a misunderstanding of SFL theory.

[5] Logical relations are not relational propositions.  A proposition is a speech function (interpersonal semantics) that is realised in clause mood.

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