Monday, 14 December 2015

Misrepresenting Hasan And Confusing Strata And Metafunctions

Martin (1992: 382-4):
Hasan's more delicate classification of texture creating resources is summarised in Table 6.2 (Table 5.1 from Hasan 1985: 82).  Grammatical parallelism is added to Halliday's structural resources, alongside THEME and INFORMATION systems. … Hasan's table provides a useful point of comparison for the model of text forming resources proposed in English Text.  These resources are outlined by strata in Table 6.3.  The fact that English Text assumes a stratified content plane accounts for most of the difference in categorisation.
Table 6.3. English Text’s organisation of text forming resources in English
Discourse Semantics
substitution & ellipsis


conjunction & continuity

tone concord & tone sequence


Blogger Comments:

[1] This is manifestly untrue, not least because Hasan, along with Halliday, long ago stratified the content plane into semantics (meaning) and lexicogrammar (wording).  Halliday & Hasan (1976: 5):
Language can be explained as a multiple coding system comprising three levels of coding, or 'strata': the semantic (meanings), the lexicogrammatical (forms) and the phonological and orthographic (expressions).
[2] In SFL, the 'text forming resources' are those of the textual metafunction.  Martin's negotiation is a system of the interpersonal metafunction, Martin's conjunction & continuity is a system of the logical metafunction, and Martin's ideation is a system of the experiential metafunction.  The confusion is complexified considerably by
  • the fact that Martin's (experiential) ideation is partially a relocation of lexical cohesion (textual metafunction) from lexicogrammar to discourse semantics;
  • the fact that Martin's (logical) conjunction & continuity is partially a relocation of cohesive conjunction (textual metafunction) from lexicogrammar to discourse semantics, and partially a relocation of clause complexing (logical metafuction) from lexicogrammar to discourse semantics; and
  • the fact that Martin's (textual) identification, while partially being a relocation of cohesive reference (textual metafunction) from lexicogrammar to discourse semantics, involves units (participants) that are of the experiential metafunction. 

[3] In SFL, substitution–&–ellipsis is a (cohesive) resource of the textual metafunction.  Here it is aligned with negotiation, a system of the interpersonal metafunction.

[4] In SFL, collocation is a (lexically cohesive) resource of the textual metafunction.  Here it is aligned with ideation, which for Martin, is a system of the experiential metafunction.

[5] In SFL, information is a textual system of the lexicogrammatical stratum.  Here it is misconstrued as an interpersonal system of the phonological/graphological stratum.  That is, it is misconstrued in terms of both metafunction and stratification, and in the latter case, misconstrued as expression rather than content.  This adds a new level to the ongoing misunderstanding of stratification.

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