Thursday, 30 April 2015

Misrepresenting Structure, Metafunction And Stratum

Martin (1992: 56):
In a model of discourse structure such as that proposed by the Birmingham school, all aspects of text structure have to be incorporated into a single rank scale such as act-move-exchange-transaction-lesson.  This naturally puts a great deal of pressure on move structure to capture cohesive relations as multivariately structured act sequences.  Here on the other hand, identification, conjunction and ideation will be treated separately from negotiation as discourse structures in their own right.

Blogger Comments:

Cohesive relations cannot be "captured" by move structure as multivariately structured act sequences — whatever the pressure — for three reasons.
  • First, cohesive relations are not structures, multivariate or otherwise.
  • Second, cohesive relations are textual in metafunction, whereas act sequences are presented as interpersonal.
  • Third, cohesive relations are lexicogrammatical in terms of level of symbolic abstraction, whereas act sequences are presented as semantic.

Confusing Unmarkedness And Congruence

Martin (1992: 58-9):
Halliday's (1985) notion of congruence bears on the problems encountered here.  Just as one can argue that there is an unmarked relationship between grammar and phonology whereby tone groups are associated with a single clause, so one might suggest that a similar unmarked relationship holds between a move and a clause complex: generally speaking a move in the exchange will be realised by a clause and its dependents.

Blogger Comment:

This is not congruence.  In SFL theory, congruence refers to a non-metaphorical relation of meaning (semantics) to wording (lexicogrammar).

On the other hand, the unmarked option is 'the form we tend to use if there is no prior context leading up to it, and no positive reason for choosing anything else' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 58), in contradistinction to marked, which means that the option is less frequent and 'carries a special interpretation' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 207).

The realisation of a single clause as a single tone group is unmarked tonality — where tonality refers to the selection of the number and boundaries of tone groups (Halliday 1970).