Sunday, 3 May 2015

Confusing Ideational Denotation With Textual Reference

Martin (1992: 121):
Predisposition [sic] to different aspects of context have already been noted in 3.3.2 above with respect to reminding and relevance phoricity as far as participant identification is concerned.  Demonstratives for example point to the non-verbal context more regularly than does the definite article which has evolved from them.  Similarly, interlocutor (i.e. 1st and 2nd person) pronouns more typically refer outside the text than in; and it would be very unusual to find the attributive so + adjective presuming information from the co-text.  Proper names differ from all of these in that they are commonly used to refer to participants that are present in neither the co-text nor the immediate situation; they simply assume that interlocutors know who is being referred to, whether they are around in any material sense or not.  These phoric orientations to different aspects of the context are set out below.

this, that, these, those
Attribute: so + adjective
Attribute: that + adjective

proper names

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is a bare assertion unsupported by argument or evidence.  Moreover, there are reasons to think that the exact opposite is true. Importantly, the frequencies of such instances vary with the different instantiation probabilities of different registers, but, across registers, the potential to make specific reference (this/these, that/those) to the environment of text more limited than the potential to make non-specific reference (the), the latter additionally used for homophoric reference as well as exophoric.

[2] This confuses reference in the sense of ideational denotation with reference in the sense it is used in SFL theory as a textual cohesive strategy; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 623).  In the SFL sense, pronouns defined by the act of speaking (1st & 2nd person) do not function as reference items.

[3] This, again, is the exact opposite of what is true, as demonstrated by instances like
  • The enormous dinosaur skeleton was finally installed in the main hall of the museum. Before the renovations, so large an exhibit could not have been accommodated.
[4] This, again, confuses reference in the sense of ideational denotation with reference in the sense it is used in SFL theory as a textual cohesive strategy.  In the SFL sense, proper names do not function as reference items; they do not present an item as identifiable — they present the identity itself.

Strategically Misrepresenting Halliday & Hasan (1976: 145)

Martin (1992: 121):
Phoricity systems, as defined above relate phoric items to their context by way of presumed information.  The ways in which they do this depends on the type of phoricity involved and within different systems on the particular options selected.  Halliday & Hasan (1976: 145) point out for example that redundancy phoricity is essentially a textual relation: it exists primarily as an anaphoric (or occasionally cataphoric) device, and in its rare exophoric use it tends to give an effect of "putting the words in the other person's mouth".

Blogger Comments:

[1] This misunderstands both systems and reference.  On the one hand, in their own terms, phoricity systems do not relate phoric items to anything; a system represents the range of potential choices, given a specific entry condition.  On the other hand, reference items are not related to their context by way of presumed information.  Reference items presume that meaning is recoverable, either from the co-text (endophoric), or elsewhere (exophoric).

[2] To be clear, the definition of phoricity was provided by Martin (p98) as follows:
The nominal groups in [3:1] have been organised semantically into phoric and non-phoric classes according to whether their grammar signals the identity of participant they realise as recoverable or not.
See the previous critique here.

[3] This is very misleading, since it gives the false impression that Martin's 'redundancy phoricity' is either acknowledged by Halliday & Hasan (1976) or consistent with their model.  Either way, having taken their ideas, misunderstood them, and rebranded the misunderstandings as his own ideas, Martin now misrepresents Halliday & Hasan as endorsing his system.

[4] This is a very humorous misunderstanding of Halliday & Hasan (1976: 145):

Fig. 3.9 The System Of Identification

Martin (1992: 120):
The network contrasts the [neutralised] reference of little texts with that in registers where deixis is fully effected; then [effected] reference is broken down into [generalised] reference to no one in particular and [specified] reference to classes or participants or their members.  The feature [specified] open [sic] up options in three simultaneous systems: the [generic/specific] opposition, the [presenting/presuming] opposition which makes reminding phoricity available and the [comparison/–] one which opens up the possibility of relevance phoricity as well.  Then a breakdown is provided for [presuming] reference leading through the features [variable], [nominal] and [undirected] to the possibility of presuming a superset, invoking relevance phoricity once again.
Since proper names and pronouns are not modified with comparative adjectives or quantifiers in English, the feature comparison cannot be co-selected with them.  The I/T superscript notation blocks this combination. 

Blogger Comments:

For the theoretical misunderstandings and internal inconsistencies that invalidate this network, see the critiques of this chapter here.  Note that the network provides no realisation statements that specify how these features are realised syntagmatically, or lexicogrammatically.

Strategically Confusing Delicacy And Realisation

Martin (1992: 119-20):
The second way of avoiding the reference systems outlined above is to use [generalised] reference (Halliday & Hasan 1976: 53-54).  The relationship of these "out" options to the principal reference systems is formulated systemically in Fig. 3.9.  For more delicate realisations of the features [presenting], [undirected] and [comparison] see the networks presented in the course of the description above.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, as Halliday & Hasan (1976: 53-4) point out, this is generalised exophoric reference, and as such, makes no contribution to the cohesion of a text.  More importantly, Martin violates the principle of stratification by relocating Halliday & Hasan's generalised reference from lexicogrammar to his own discourse semantics, without regard to the different levels of symbolic abstraction that the strata represent.

[2] This strategically confuses two distinct dimension of SFL theory, delicacy and realisation.  More delicate features are not realisations of less delicate features.  Systemic delicacy is a scale of generality (intensive attribution) at one level of symbolic abstraction (stratum), whereas realisation is a relation (intensive identification) between two levels of symbolic abstraction, as between strata, or between axes, or between function and form; see e.g. Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 144-5).  The confusion is strategic because it falsely implies that Martin has specified how these features are realised.

Misconstruing Homophoric Reference As Not Phoric

Martin (1992: 119):
… two ways of avoiding the options above need to be taken into account.  One has to do with "the grammar of little texts" (Halliday 1985: 372-377), as found in headlines, telegrams, titles, labels, diagrams, instructions, notices, billboards, notes and so on.  In these registers requirements of space may mean that parts of the grammar which are not absolutely essential will actually be turned off.  When this includes turning off deixis in nominal group structure, the network of proportionalities systemicised above will simply not be relevant.  The only Deictic found in the following list for example is the, which cannot be left out of flash in the pan, and because of the idiom is not in fact phoric (formatting as in original texts):
Flash in the pan fizzles
agenda planning diary

Home address:
Blood type:
Curbs to be eased on loan sharks

Blogger Comments:

[1] This again confuses the interpersonal system of deixis realised in nominal group structure with the textual system of reference.

[2] This is untrue, since in terms of reference, the determiner the in this instance is homophoric, (self-specifying); see Halliday & Hasan (1976: 71) or Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 631).

[3] To be clear, the formatting is irrelevant to any of the claims being made, and so merely an attempt at obfuscation.

Some Of The Problems With Martin's Comparison Systems

Martin (1992: 118-9):
Comparison systems are formulated systemically in Fig. 3.8.  The feature [comparison] is cross-classified with respect to two systems: the [general/experientialised] comparison system which distinguishes between making the dimensions of quantity or quality explicit or not, and the [semblance/difference] system which opposes comparison in terms of how they are unalikeThe feature [experientialised] is then itself cross-classified according to whether the dimension of quantity or quality is relevant and whether another participant or a proposal is presumed (again, the recursivity of the [quality] feature is not shown).

Blogger Comments:

[1] As a network, the system in Figure 3.8 is presented as a portion of the overall system of IDENTIFICATION, 'reference as semantic choice', which is said by Martin to be realised structurally rather than non-structurally — the latter being the case with the lexicogrammatical analogue.  Despite this, it provides no realisation statements that specify how its features are realised structurally at the level of discourse semantics, nor any realisation statements that specify how these features are realised at the level of lexicogrammar.

Moreover, as explained in previous posts, the theorising on which the system is based is invalidated by its many theoretical misunderstandings and inconsistencies, including (but not limited to):
  • mistaking nominal groups for reference items,
  • mistaking the system of nominal group deixis for the system of reference,
  • mistaking construing experience for textual reference,
  • mistaking interpersonal functions of the nominal group for textual functions,
  • not accounting for comparative reference realised in the domain of adverbial groups.

[2] As previously explained here, Martin's opposition of general vs experientialised is a misunderstanding and rebranding of Halliday's comparative reference opposition of general vs particular on the grammatical stratum as a discourse semantic opposition. 

[3] As previously explained here, the similarity vs difference opposition — with similarity rebranded by Martin as semblance — is not the basis of all comparative reference, merely the general (vs particular) type. More importantly, Martin misleadingly presents these ideas as if they are his own; see Halliday & Hasan (1976: 76).

[4] As previously explained hereMartin's "experientialised" comparison is a rebranding of Halliday & Hasan's (1976: 76) 'particular (non-deictic)' comparison, and Martin's 'quantity' vs 'quality' opposition is a rebranding of their 'numerative' vs 'epithet' opposition, with these grammatical distinctions rebranded as discourse semantics. Most importantly, Martin misleadingly presents these ideas as if they are his own.

[5] To be clear, the participant vs proposal opposition is incongruously labelled ' –' vs 'purposive' in Figure 3.8.  As previously explained here and here, the latter of these options mistakes interpersonal functions of the nominal group for comparative reference, mistakes propositions for proposals and presents a comparative relation between items where there is none.

[6] As previously explained here, this mistakes logical modification in the nominal group for textual reference.

Misconstruing Comparative Reference

Martin (1992: 118):
Where the proposal presumed is not structurally embedded as a Qualifier, it has to be recovered from the context.  This is illustrated in [3:44] to [3:45].  Enough functions as a Numerative as far as assessing quantity is concerned, whereas too submodifies:

He promised that he would pay

if he had enough money.

He asked them to water the garden

if there was too little time.
Both too and enough function as submodifiers when assessing quality:

The boy felt the need to take the frog home;

but it was too young.

His brief was to find his frog;

but was he clever enough?

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, by 'context' Martin means co-text — as opposed to his other meanings, such as: material setting, context of situation, register or genre — and the co-text includes any Qualifiers.  That is to say, the opposition co-text vs Qualifier is nonsensical.

[2] To be clear, [3:45] features a projected proposition (question), not a projected proposal, as the projecting verbal Process asked makes plain.

[3] To be clear, in [3:44], enough does not function as a Numerative since it is neither quantitative or ordinative in function.  Instead, it functions as a post-Deictic of modulation (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 374), as demonstrated by its agnates (the) required, (the) necessary.

[4] This confuses functional elements of nominal group structure with comparative reference items.

[5] One the one hand, this mistakes a nominal group (enough money) for a comparative reference item, while on the other hand, enough does not function as a comparative reference item because it makes no comparison of money with the projected proposal (offer) that he would pay.

[6] One the one hand, this mistakes a nominal group (too little time) for a comparative reference item, while on the other hand, too little does not function as a comparative reference item because it makes no comparison of time with the projected non-finite proposition (question) to water the garden.  Note also that them is not part of the projected proposition, but the Receiver of the projecting clause; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 526) for the reasoning involved.

[7] One the one hand, this mistakes a nominal group (too young) for a comparative reference item, while on the other hand, too does not function as a comparative reference item because it makes no comparison of young with the Qualifier to take the frog home.

[8] One the one hand, this mistakes a nominal group (clever enough) for a comparative reference item, while on the other hand, enough does not function as a comparative reference item because it makes no comparison of clever with the Token to find his frog.