Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Rebranding Grammar As Discourse Semantics

Martin (1992: 185):
External temporal relations are strongly oriented to the activity sequences constituting fields.  Most of these relations (excepting co-extensive simultaneous ones) have the experiential structure Anterior · Posterior, where Anterior names the event which begins before the Posterior.
At primary delicacy the opposition is between [successive] relations, where the Anterior does not continue beyond the beginning of the Posterior, and [simultaneous] relations, where the two events overlap to some extent.  This is the opposition between after and while in [4:24] and [4:25]:
[4:24] After we walk the ring with our dog,
          we just wait. 
[4:25] While the judge is handling the dog,
          we hope that it will stand nice and steady.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Here an experiential structure is proposed for a logical structure — a clause nexus.

[2] The temporal relations exemplified are between clauses in clause complexes.  The grammatical categories are:
  • same time                     A meanwhile B
  • different time: later        A subsequently B
  • different time: earlier     A previously B

In modelling logical relations between clauses, this is simply rebranding Halliday's grammar as Martin's discourse semantics.