Monday, 21 December 2015

Misconstruing Cataphoric Reference

Martin (1992: 388-9):
The difference between presuming grammatical items and presuming meanings is illustrated in [6:4] and [6:5] below.  The lengthy monograph in [6:4bi] does not refer to any particular grammatical unit in [6:4a]; it simply presumes meaning that was there implied:


It took several months of writing

but in the end the lengthy monograph was complete

?? but in the end the lengthy one was complete

Blogger Comment:

This has the reference relation the wrong way around.  The reference in this instance is cataphoric, not anaphoric: it refers to the lengthy monograph.  In SFL theory, the nominal group the lengthy monograph is not a reference item.

To be clear, reference is a semantic relation between elements, whereas substitution–&-ellipsis is a lexicogrammatical relation (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 538, 561-2).