Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Notion Of "Grammatical Metaphor Functioning As A Kind Of Discourse Process"

Martin (1992: 139-40):
The responses in [3:77] can be read as scaled according to the degree of "participanthood" the reference items entail.  So respects clausehood; but in reconstructing the meanings made in She saw them building a new school as reported locutions or ideas, facts and acts that and it are transforming text into thing.  This is another instance of grammatical metaphor, this time functioning as a kind of discourse process.  This point will be taken up again below in connection with internal conjunction (Chapter 4) and metalinguistic lexis (Chapter 5).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This confuses the experiential metafunction (degree of "participanthood") with the textual metafunction (reference items).  For what 'degree of participanthood' means in SFL theory, see Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 167-72).

[2] The wording "respects clausehood" is chosen to mislead, since it disguises a theoretical inconsistency.  In SFL theory, these instances of so substitute for a clause — they do not refer to it (or "respect clausehood").  As previously explained, Martin misunderstands substitution as a type of reference, rebranding the misunderstanding "redundancy phoricity", and relocating it from the stratum of lexicogrammar to his stratum — misunderstood as a module — of discourse semantics.

[3] To be clear, the reference items that and it do not "reconstruct the meanings", they simply refer to them.

[4] As previously noted, in Martin's example, [3:77ii], the experiential functions of the reference item that are Verbiage and Phenomenon, not locution and idea.

[5] To be clear, the reference items that and it do not "transform text into thing"; they simply refer to referents that resolve their identity.

[6] To be clear, grammatical metaphor is a mismatch between strata, semantics and lexicogrammar, such that two meanings are made at once, one metaphorically and one congruently.  Martin's characterisation of grammatical metaphor as a "discourse process" not only misunderstands grammatical metaphor, but is also inconsistent with his own later (p401, Chapter 6) misunderstanding of grammatical metaphor as a 'texturing interface' between strata, the latter misunderstood as modules.

[7] This point was not taken up again: neither in the 111 pages of Chapter 4 nor the the 108 pages of Chapter 5, which is why Martin provides no page numbers or chapter subheadings.

In the text examined in this and the previous post, Martin has done his best to make his theoretical misunderstandings and inconsistencies unintelligible, the two main techniques being:
  • presenting the text examples and the discussion of them in reverse order, and
  • switching from the experiential functions of reference items in (i) and (ii) to experiential functions of the referents in (iii-v).

Confusing Metafunctions And ConfusingTypes Of Cohesion

Martin (1992: 139):
To illustrate this [i.e. "constructing participants by referring to them"] consider the range of responses possible in [3:77]:

She saw them building a new school

— If you say so.
— Do you think so?
— Who told you that?
— I can't believe that.
That's impossible / It's not possible.
That's hard work / It's hard work.
That's what we needed / It's what we needed.
Response v illustrates the pattern considered to this point: reference between participants — that and it presume a phenomenon, realised earlier as a new school.  In response iv however, that and it presume a macro-phenomenon — the act of building a new school…  .  Response iii takes this one step further, presuming a metaphenomenon — the fact that she saw them building a new school: cf. It's not possible [[that she saw them building a new school]]In ii that also presumes she saw them building a new school as a metaphenomenon — but this time as a projected locution or idea, not a fact.  That contrasts with so in i; as Halliday (1985:234) points out, with verbal processes the distinction is between quoting (that) and reporting (so), whereas with mental processes the opposition is between assertion (that) and postulation (so).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This confuses the experiential function of that and it (participant) with the textual function of that and it (reference item).  The reference relation obtains between the reference item and the referent.

[2] To be clear, the reference items that and it do not refer to the referent whose experiential function is Thing (school), but to that which functions as the Goal (a new school) of an embedded clause serving as Phenomenon: macrophenomenon.

[3] Here Martin creates an inconsistency by switching from the experiential function of the referent to the experiential function of the reference item.  In doing so, he misconstrues the function of each referent, Verbiage and Phenomenon, as projected clauses, locution and idea, respectively.

[4] Here Martin mistakes an instance of substitution (so) for a reference item, and analyses the ideational function of the substitute, rather than what he believes to be the referent.

[5] This is misleading, since, as Halliday (1985: 234) points out, the distinction is between that and so is the distinction between reference and substitution, respectively.  He then goes on to explain why reference is typically used for quotes, and why substitution is used for reports, before concluding:
In verbal processes, therefore, he said that simply attests to his production of the wording, whereas he said so raises the issue of whether what he said is in fact the case.
[6] To be clear, what Halliday (1985: 234) actually wrote was as follows:

Confusing Ideational Construal With Textual Reference

Martin (1992: 139):
Alongside these grammatical resources for constructing participants, discourse semantics can also be used to turn non-participant meanings into things. It does this by using it, this and that to refer to text. This is discussed by Halliday and Hasan (1976: 52-3, 66-7) under the headings of extended reference (to text as act) and text reference (to text as projection). They point out that this is the main use made of demonstratives in most registers of English. Instead of nominalising non-participants to treat them as participants, it, this and that simply construct them by referring to them.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here, as elsewhere, Martin confuses the ideational metafunction ('constructing participants', 'turning non-participants into things') with the textual metafunction ('referring to them').

[2] This is misleading.   For Halliday and Hasan (1976), as well as Halliday ± Matthiessen (1985, 1994, 2004, 2014), reference is a textual resource of the grammar.  Martin here leaves the naïve reader with the impression that Halliday and Hasan endorse Martin's relocation of their extended and text reference to his discourse semantics.