Thursday, 24 September 2015

Misconstruing Meronymy As Hyponymy

Martin (1992: 297):
Composition taxonomies organise people, places and things in a given field with respect to part/whole rather than class/subclass relations.  An illustrative taxonomy is outlined in Fig. 5.13, drawing once again on the field of music.  The less delicate systems [Fig. 5.13] focus on the organisation of the swing bands… .  The more delicate systems [Fig. 5.14] break down the players into sections as they were typically organised on stage.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Figure 5.13 starts out as a composition taxonomy — e.g. 'management' and 'personnel' are parts of the whole 'swing band' — but then construes 'female' and 'male' as parts of the whole 'vocalists'; and 'vocalists' and 'players' as parts of the whole 'members'.  That is, it misconstrues hyponyms (types of x) as meronyms (parts of x).

The continuation of the taxonomy in Figure 5.14 is entirely hyponymic — despite being presented as meronymic; e.g. 'rhythm', 'horns' and 'reeds' are misconstrued as parts of the whole 'players'.

[2]  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 92):
While the choice of ‘level’ in hyponymic elaboration is the choice in delicacy of categorisation, the choice of level in a meronymic taxonomy is the choice in delicacy of focus.  The focus is typically on the whole (i.e. the most inclusive region within the meronymy) even if a specific part is particularly important.

[3] This misconstrues (what is not) a composition taxonomy as a system network.

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