Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Misconstruing Textual Clarification As Text Emendation

Martin (1992: 213):
Where an understatement or overstatement has been made, but a speaker wishes to adjust the meaning without specifying whether too much much or too little was meant, then conjunctions such as in fact or actually can be used.  These can be substituted for either at least or indeed (for example in [4:123] and [4:124] above), and so neutralise the [augment/diminish] system just introduced.  In [4:125] in fact is used in a context where indeed could have been used to make the understatement in the first formulation explicit.
[4:125] The way in which Liz addresses Mary is also significant: she feels perfectly free to use her first name, whereas Mary does not once use Liz's name. 
In fact, Mary does not address Liz by any name.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This continues the misconstrual of the conjunctive relation of clarification as a repair strategy by providing practical advice as to which wordings a writer can use.

[2] In SFL theory, the conjunctive relation served by in fact is verifactive clarification, a type of elaboration (see Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 542).  Here it is relocated to within similarity — i.e. comparison, a type of enhancement.

The lack of interpersonal "amplification" here is due to in fact being less likely than indeed to be realised with the KEY feature of 'insistent statement' (see yesterday's posting).