Monday, 30 November 2015

Construing A Scale From Hyponym To Ellipsis (Via Word Classes)

Martin (1992: 373-4):
While message parts are not in themselves phoric, they may be realised phorically, through the systems of SUBSTITUTION and ELLIPSIS at group rank in lexicogrammar.  These systems have been presented in detail in Halliday and Hasan (1976) and their discussion has been assumed throughout English Text.  It is important to review here however the continuity between nominal and verbal ellipses and substitutes and the taxonomic cline from general superordinate to more specific hyponymic items.  This grading is outlined in Table 5.27 and illustrated for nominal and verbal realisations of message parts below (see especially Halliday and Hasan 1976: 106 & 129).  Hasan (1985: 74) generalises these relationships under the heading co-classification.

Table 5.27. General to specific grading of substitution, ellipsis and taxonomic relations

one, ones
do, do so
one, thing
do, happen
general noun/verb
thing, person, stuff etc.
do, take, make etc.
ship (air/space/sailing)

Blogger Comments:

[1] The claim here is that units of the experiential metafunction on the discourse semantics stratum, message parts, can be realised on the lexicogrammatical stratum, at group rank, as phoric, by the system of substitution–&–ellipsis, one of the types of cohesion, a resource of the textual metafunction.  That is, experiential semantics is realised "phorically" by textual lexicogrammar, by a system does not involve phoricity.  Phoricity is an aspect of another system of textual cohesion: reference.

[2] This confuses two distinct resources of textual cohesion: substitution–&–ellipsis and lexical cohesion.  The former is the textual deployment of interpersonal relations, the latter is the textual deployment of experiential relations.

[3] This is not a grading from general to specific.  An omitted element is not more general that a substituted element, etc.  Moreover, the grades are not ranks on a one-dimensional scale, but are a mixture of categories of different types, with classes of grammatical form, noun and verb, wedged in between two different types of cohesive relations: substitution–&–ellipsis and a type of lexical cohesion (hyponymy), with the latter relation forming part of the scale.

[4] Halliday and Hasan (1976: 106) is Table 5: The forms of one, and related items in a section on nominal substitution; and Halliday and Hasan (1976: 129) is Table 6: The forms of do in a section on verbal substitution.  Neither supports Martin's claim for a grading from ellipsis to hyponym.

[5] In discussing cohesive devices (textual metafunction), Hasan (1985: 74) distinguishes co-classification from co-referentiality (identity of reference) as follows:
In this type of meaning relation, the things, processes, or circumstances to which A and B refer belong to an identical class, but each end of the cohesive tie refers to a distinct member of this class. 

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