Friday, 20 November 2015

Misconstruing Mode As Genre

Martin (1992: 338, 352):
The first text to be considered is text [4:2] which was the point of departure for the CONJUNCTION analyses developed in Chapter 4.  The text is a relatively iconic one, focussing step by step on the showing area activity sequence in the field of dog showing.  Generically, the text is a procedure; its function is to explain how things are done in a given field. 
The second text to be considered, text [5:36] is The Sydney Morning Herald's account of Australia's historic victory in the 1983 America's Cup.  Generically, [5:36] is a recount rather than a procedure or news story; its function is to give an account of what happened during the deciding race of the series

Blogger Comments:

[1] In terms of the SFL stratification hierarchy, the activity sequence in the text and the field of dog showing are different levels of symbolic abstraction.  Dog showing, as field, is construed at the level of context: the culture as a semiotic system.  The activity sequence, as ideational meaning in the text, is semantics, not field.  The meanings of a text are language, not context.  Ideational meanings realise contextual field.

[2] In SFL theory, the rhetorical function of language is modelled as the system of mode, the textual dimension of context.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 321):
… there is a third contextual variable that is specifically concerned with the part language is playing in any given context — the symbolic mode, how the linguistic resources are deployed. This covers both the medium (spoken, written, and various subtypes such as written in order to be spoken) and the rhetorical function — persuasive, didactic, informative, etc.
The functional variety of language that realises the mode (and field and tenor) of a situation type is termed a register.