Saturday, 31 October 2015

Misconstruing Elaboration As Extension And Extension As Elaboration

Martin (1992: 319-21):
Halliday (1985: 307) treats intensive relationals as elaborating, possessives as extending and circumstantials as enhancing… .  This interpretation can be adopted here with two reservations.  First, descriptive intensive attributive clauses need to be distinguished from classifying ones:
Ben is fast : Ben is a champion ::
Ben isn't vain : Ben isn't a Jamaican now ::
Ben was eager : Ben was a go-getter ::
Ben is guilty : Ben's just a victim
The descriptive type will be treated as extending here, since they assign qualities to participants in the same way that Epithet°Thing structures do.  The classifying type relates subclasses to their superordinates and is better left as elaborating since its function is similar to that of Classifier°Thing structures in the nominal group.
Second, possessive clauses which have to do with part/whole relations rather than ownership will be treated as elaborating because of their taxonomic focus.  Their function is similar to that of the classifying intensives in that they assign parts, building up composition taxonomies for a given field.  In this respect they resemble the Pre-Deictic, Pre-Numerative and possessive Deictic structures discussed above.
Ben has a dog : Ben has strong legs ::
Ben has a house : the house has ten rooms ::
Ben owns a car : the car has four doors ::
the suit belongs to Flo : the suit has only one leg

Blogger Comments:

[1] As the term 'descriptive' suggests, the expansion type here is elaboration, not extension — just as it is in the case of Epithet and Thing.  See previous critique here.

[2] Part/whole relations — meronymy — are a manifestation of extension, not elaboration.  Extension has three main subtypes: composition (meronymy), possession and association (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 146), and these are fractal types that are manifested at various scales and domains throughout the linguistic system.  To classify composition as elaboration is not only a misunderstanding of the concepts involved; it creates an inconsistency in the model that resonates through the entire system.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Misunderstanding 'Instantiate'

Martin (1992: 319):
It remains to consider relational clauses, which function to instantiate (Hasan 1985: 82) the relationships of elaboration, extension and enhancement just considered; with relational clauses the grammar works to positively construct the relationships involved rather than simply realising them.  Halliday (1985: 307) treats intensive relationals as elaborating, possessives as extending and circumstantials as enhancing:

Ben is a champion
Ben is the champion
Ben has the gold medal
Ben’s is the gold medal
Ben is in the starting blocks
Ben occupies the starting blocks

Blogger Comments:

[1] The sense in which relational clauses "instantiate" the three types of expansion is as instances of that potential. The theoretical relation between the meanings (elaboration, extension and enhancement) and the wordings (intensive, possessive and circumstantial relational clauses) is the stratal relation of realisation.

[2] The citation does not relate to the proposition.  Hasan (1985: 81) distinguishes general lexical cohesive devices from those that are 'specific to a single text', and terms the latter 'instantial'.

[3] This is a false opposition.  "Working positively to construct the relationships involved" is a metaphorical gloss of logogenesis, whereas "realising them" is stratification.  Both dimensions are relevant.  See previous posts on the confusion of semogenesis and stratification (e.g. here, here, and here).  Given the opposition with realisation, it appears that "working positively to construct the relationships involved" is an attempt to gloss 'instantiate'.

[4] To be clear, although this is a possessive identifying clause, the Process is intensive, and thus realises the expansion relation of elaboration, not extension.  The possessive relation is realised by the possessive nominal group.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 245-7).

[5] To be clear, although this is a circumstantial attributive clause, the Process is intensive, and thus realises the expansion relation of elaboration, not enhancement.  The circumstantial relation is realised by the preposition.  See Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 240-1).

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Misconstruing Experiential Nuclearity As Logical Expansion Type

Martin (1992: 318-9):
The notion of peripherality is extended to nominal and verbal groups in Table 5.14.

Table 5.14. An alternative model of nuclearity

Process = Range:process
+ Medium
+ Range:entity
+ x Agent
+ x Beneficiary
x Circumstance

Classifier = Thing
+ Epithet
(+ x Numerative?)
x Qualifier

Event = Particle
+ Event
(event complex)
(+ x causative?)
x Manner adverb

Blogger Comments:

[1] In this alternative model of nuclearity, the 'nucleus' is construed as non-nuclear — as peripheral to the 'centre'.  In combination with this, the terminology does not reflect a cline of values — 'centre' and 'nucleus' are synonyms, as are 'margin' and 'periphery'.

[2] As the table makes clear, this alternative model of nuclearity confuses experiential nuclearity with logical expansion type — construing elaboration at the centre, extension further out at the nucleus, and enhancement at the periphery.  See previous posts (since 10/10/15) for details on the misapplications of expansion types as represented in this table.

[3] In SFL theory, units on the rank scale — clauses, group/phrases, words, morphemes — form (logical) complexes, whereas elements of function structure, such as the Event of a verbal group, do not.

[4] This construes a 'Manner adverb' as an element of verbal group function structure.  See critique in previous post here.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Presenting Theoretical Misunderstandings As An 'Alternative Perspective'

Martin (1992: 318):
Matthiessen (1922) sums up the semantic continuity between participants and circumstances as outlined in Fig. 5.22, which also brings out their nuclearity with respect to the Process:
Figure 5.22. Nuclearity: participants and circumstances (following Matthiessen 1992) 
The elaboration, extension and enhancement analysis presented above provides an alternative perspective on peripherality.  Matthiessen's diagram can be amended in line with this perspective by treating Process°Range:process structures as more nuclear than Process°Medium ones.  Range:entities could be left as more peripheral than Mediums since like Agent and Beneficiaries they have both prepositional and non-prepositional realisations… .  

Blogger Comments:

[1] In the context of this discussion, the label 'Process + Medium' in Martin's representation of Matthiessen's diagram implies an extension relation between the two functions. In SFL theory, the relation between Process and Medium is construed as one of complementarity within the Nucleus (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 154).

[2] This "alternative perspective" has been shown in previous posts to be one that only arises through multi-dimensional misunderstandings of SFL theory.

[3] amend verb 'make minor changes to (a text, piece of legislation, etc.) in order to make it fairer or more accurate, or to reflect changing circumstances'. "Amending" Matthiessen's diagram would not make it more accurate, but it would 'reflect changing circumstances', namely: not understanding SFL theory.

[4] In SFL theory, the complementarity of Process and Medium forms the Nucleus to which other functions are related by expansion or projection — the latter being omitted from this alternative perspective. To construe Process°Range: process as 'more nuclear' than the Nucleus betrays a misunderstanding of nuclearity, as demonstrated in previous posts.

[5] A further inconsistency introduced here is the notion that structures are located on the cline of nuclearity. The cline orders participants and circumstances in terms of nuclearity.

[6] As explained in a previous post, the ±prepositional realisations are motivated by the textual metafunction and do not bear on the experiential dimension of nuclearity. Moreover, the perspective taken is that of formal not functional theory, namely categorising according to form rather than function.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Classifying Expansion Type On The Basis Of Form

Martin (1992: 317-8):
At clause rank, the TRANSITIVITY roles which have not been considered are Agent and Beneficiary (including Client, Recipient and Receiver).  These roles are intermediate between extensions and enhancements, and are accordingly realised both with and without prepositions in clause structure:
Agent:         +preposition   The ship was stolen by Ford.
                    –preposition   Ford stole the ship. 
Client:         +preposition   He bought the present for Trillian.
                    –preposition   He bought Trillian the present. 
Recipient:   +preposition   He gave the drink to Zaphod.
                    –preposition   He gave Zaphod the drink. 
Receiver:    +preposition   He told the story to Arthur.
                    –preposition   He told Arthur the story.
In line with the proposals developed above, the prepositional realisations of these intermediate roles can be taken as enhancing and the non-prepositional realisations as extending.

Blogger Comments:

 [1] No argument is provided as to why Agent and Beneficiary rôles are "intermediate between extensions and enhancements" — it is merely asserted as a fact.  In SFL theory, the expansion relation between the Nucleus and both the Agent and the Beneficiary is enhancement, not extension (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 175, 219), not least because
  • the participant Agent (external cause) is agnate with the circumstance Manner: means;
  • the participant Client is agnate with the circumstance Cause: behalf;
  • the participants Recipient and Receiver are agnate with the circumstance Location: directional.
[2] The reason for the variation in participant realisation — as prepositional phrases or nominal groups — has nothing whatsoever to do with expansion type.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 295-6):
… the choice of ‘plus or minus preposition’ with Agent, Beneficiary and Range … serves a textual function. … The principle is as follows. If a participant other than the Medium is in a place of prominence in the message, it tends to take a preposition (i.e. to be construed as ‘indirect’ participant); otherwise it does not. Prominence in the message means functioning either
(i) as marked Theme (i.e. Theme but not Subject) or
(ii) as ‘late news’ — that is, occurring after some other participant, or circumstance, that already follows the Process.
In other words, prominence comes from occurring either earlier or later than expected in the clause; and it is this that is being reinforced by the presence of the preposition. The preposition has become a signal of special status in the message.
Again, function is here being classified according to form (the view 'from below' of formal linguistics) instead of form being classified according to function (the view 'from above' of functional linguistics). 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Misconstruing Enhancement As Elaboration And Elaboration As Extension

Martin (1992: 317):
This interpretation of the experiential grammar in terms of the general logico-semantic relations of elaboration, extension and enhancement is summarised in Table 5.13.

Table 5.13. Elaboration, extension and enhancement across clauses and groups
process = range
process + medium
+ range:entity
process x circumstance
take shot
(take a shot)
shoot deer
(shoot the deer)
shoot field
(shoot in the field)

classifier = thing
epithet + thing
thing x qualifier
parking lot
(a parking lot)
new car
(a new car)
car park
(the car in the park)

event = particle
event + event
event x quality
shoot up
(shoot up)
try shoot
(try to shoot)
shoot carefully
(shoot carefully)

Blogger Comments:

As this table is a summary of the preceding discussion, see previous posts for more detailed arguments.

[1] The relation between the Classifier parking and the Thing lot is enhancement, not elaboration.  It is a lot for the purpose of parking.

[2] To the extent that the preposition up construes direction, the relation between the verb shoot and the preposition within the phrasal verb is enhancement: location, not elaboration.

[3] Expansion relations obtain between the Nucleus (Process/Medium) and other participants and circumstances, not between the Process and Medium.

[4] The relation between the Epithet new and the Thing car is elaboration, not extension.  The Epithet provides further detail about the Thing.

[5] The expansion relation obtains between the Nucleus and the circumstance of Manner: quality, not  within a verbal group between Event and "Quality".

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Misconstruing Projection As Enhancement

Martin (1992: 317):
The same prepositional phrases used to enhance Processes can also be used to enhance Things, functioning as Qualifiers in nominal groups:
the restaurant at the end of the universe
the race through the galaxy
the noise from the engine room
the ship like Ford's
the present for Zaphod
the story about Trillian

 Blogger Comment:

The relation between the Thing and Qualifier is projection: matter, not enhancing expansion.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Reclassifying Function According To Form

Martin (1992: 316-7):
It is sometimes argued that Manner adverbs should be treated as circumstances in light of the fact that they all have alternative prepositional phrase realisations.  Note however that in order to be expressed as a prepositional phrase, these qualities of events must be nominalised, making the circumstantial realisation the marked one:
Ben ran quickly : Ben ran with considerable speed ::
Ben won easily : Ben won with ease ::
Ben slept fitfully : Ben slept in fits and starts :
Ben winced painfully : Ben winced in great pain
The prepositional realisations will be taken here as enhancing Processes, and the adverbial realisations as enhancing Events.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, priority is given to the view 'from above', the meaning realised by the wording, not to the view 'from below', how the wording is realised at lower ranks.  Here function is being classified according to form, rather than form classified according to function.  That is, the account is formal rather than functional.

[2] The argument here is that a "marked" realisation of a circumstance of Manner: quality (a prepositional phrase) is reason to treat the "unmarked" realisation (an adverbial group) as something different — as an element of the verbal group.  By the same logic, a "marked" realisation of Theme is reason to treat an "unmarked" realisation of Theme as something other than Theme.

See yesterday's post for a theoretical explanation for the different realisations of Manner: as adverbial group or prepositional phrase.

[3] This continues the earlier confusion of markedness and congruence.  See previous clarification  (30/4/15) here.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Relocating A Subset Of Manner Circumstances To The Verbal Group

Martin (1992: 316):
Adverbial realisations of manner are probably better treated as enhancements of events (at verbal group rank) rather than of processes (clause rank).  This brings out the semantic continuity at group rank between modifying nouns and modifying verbs:
careful player : play carefully ::
hungry child : eat hungrily ::
fast track : run fast ::
intense pressure: write intensely

Blogger Comment:

The proposal here is to treat meaning differently on the basis of how it is realised in wording.  That is, it is theorising that gives priority to the view 'from below'.  In SFL theory, priority is given to the view 'from above': the meaning being realised in wording.

As might be expected, it creates a host of theoretical inconsistencies, as well as making the theory less parsimonious.  Two examples:
  • while 'manner' realised by adverbial groups — quality, comparison and degree — is treated as realised in the function structure of the verbal group, 'manner' realised by prepositional phrases — means, quality, comparison and degree — is treated as realised in the function structure of the clause, despite the fact that they all 'construe the way in which the process is actualised' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 267);
  • the experiential structure of the verbal group is made more complicated, just for this subset of instances, adding an extra element — one that is realised by a rank-shifted adverbial group embedded in the structure of the verbal group.
Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 267) explain the reason for the different realisations of Manner as follows:
Manner comprises four subcategories: Means, Quality, Comparison, Degree … Means is close to the participant rôle of Agent and Comparison is like a participant in a clause with the same type of process, whereas Quality and Degree are like features of the process itself. These differences in status are reflected in realisational tendencies: Means and Comparison tend to be realised by prepositional phrases, whereas Quality and [Degree] tend to be realised by adverbial groups.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Reducing All Verbal Group Complex Relations To Extension

Martin (1992: 315-6):
With verbal groups, extension combines events.  Halliday (1985: 255-69) categorises a wide variety of verbal group complexes with respect to both expansion and projection.  He reserves the category of extension for conation… 
For purposes of lexical cohesion analysis however, all verbal group complexes will be treated as involving extension here, in order to bring out proportionalities of the following kind:
(phrasal verb : verbal group complex : event x quality ::)
look into : keep looking : look carefully ::
run into : attempt to run : run quickly ::
see through : happen to see : see clearly ::
go over : promise to go : go reluctantly

Blogger Comments:

[1] Extension — in common with projection, elaboration and enhancement — relates verbal groups logically in a verbal group complex.

[2] The logical grammatical structure of verbal group complexes is not a factor in analysing cohesive (textual nonstructural) relations between lexical items.

[3] To treat all verbal group complexes as involving extension — for whatever reason — is to miscategorise the instances that do not involve extension, and to misrepresent the category 'extension'.  Three of the four examples do not involve extension, and one does not even involve expansion:
  • keep looking is elaboration: phase: time: durative
  • happen to see is enhancement: modulation: cause: reason
  • promise to go is projection: proposal: locution

[4] Any proportionalities that depend on a falsehood are themselves false.  Moreover, no argument is provided for the value of cross-categorising types of expansion with phrasal verbs, verbal group complexes, and clause fragments.

[5] As related by enhancement, these examples are each Process and Manner circumstance within a clause realising a figure.

General Observations:
  • The concern here is purported to be discourse semantics, but the focus is merely on (rebranding) the grammar.
  • The concern here is purported to be the experiential metafunction, but the focus is on (rebranding) logical relations.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Misconstruing Elaboration As Extension

Martin (1992: 315):
Similarly, whereas Classifiers elaborate the Thing, Epithets add qualities.  These may be of an experiential or attitudinal kind:

Table 5.12. Extension in the nominal group












 Blogger Comments:

[1] In every case, the expansion relation between the Epithet and Thing is elaboration, not extension.  This is demonstrated by the agnate relational clauses, all of which are intensive (elaborating), not possessive (extending): the car is red/ugly, the lunch is big, the ball is round etc.

[2] This is a Classifier, not an Epithet, as shown by the fact that, unlike Epithets, it can't be intensified as a very speeding bullet.