Monday, 7 September 2015

Misconstruing The Agency Of Identifying Clauses

Martin (1992: 285):
Alternatively, be could have been specified as an optional lexicalisation of the feature [single agency], which if taken up would have to be as foreclosing choices in more delicate systems.  The network could then have been simplified as in Fig. 5.8, with the choice between [exemplifying] and [exhausting] dependent on [single agency] not being realised through be.

Blogger Comment:

The proposed network is undermined by the incorrect assumption that all unassigned identifying clauses have single agency, and all assigned clauses have double agency.  In fact:
  • both unassigned encoding clauses and assigned decoding clauses have single agency,
  • only operative* assigned encoding clauses have double agency, and
  • unassigned decoding clause have no agency at all.


direction of coding
0 Agent
1 Agent (Assigner)
1 Agent (Token/Identifier)
*2 Agents (Token/Identifier, Assigner)

The verb be serves as identifying Process in unassigned clauses only, both encoding and decoding, which means it serves in clauses with both single agency and no agency at all.

Moreover, there are identifying clauses with single agency in which the verb be does not serve as Process: assigned decoding clauses.