Friday, 15 January 2016

Misrepresenting Ideational Metaphor

Martin (1992: 406-7):
Logical and experiential metaphor are in principle independent of each other. Conjunctive relations may be realised metaphorically without necessarily involving metaphorical processes qualities or participants as well.  The first clause in text [6:22] nominalises cause (a number of reasons) with no repercussions for grammatical metaphor in the rest of the clause (cf. I think there should be Governments for several reasons).  It is internal conjunctive relations that lend themselves to "independent" metaphorical realisation in this way.
[6:22:a] I think Governments are necessary at different levels for a number of reasons.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, the two types of grammatical metaphor are ideational and interpersonal (Halliday 1994: 343), though ideational metaphor is sometimes referred to as experiential metaphor (e.g. Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 285, 400)).

[2] In SFL theory, conjunctive relations are types of expansion deployed lexicogrammatically by the textual metafunction.  That is, they are grammatical realisations of textual meaning.

In contrast, as previously demonstrated, Martin's system of conjunction confuses this textual deployment of expansion with the logical deployment of expansion (between grammatical units in complexes) and relocates the confusion to discourse semantics.

But there is a deeper theoretical problem here.  Because, as previously demonstrated, Martin's system of conjunction is, for the most part, not theorised in a manner that is consistent with the meaning of the expansion categories, it sets up incongruent relations between strata in cases where there is no grammatical metaphor.  For example, Martin (1992: 203) analyses the conjunctive relation in
Whereas usually we win, this time we lost 
as external comparison: contrast, even though, grammatically, the logical relation is extension: addition: adversative.

That is, on Martin's model, a logical relation of external comparison: contrast at the level of discourse semantics is realised as a logical relation of extension: addition: adversative at the level of lexicogrammar.  The relation between meaning and wording is thus incongruent.  Given that incongruent realisations are metaphorical, on Martin's model this would be an instance of grammatical metaphor.

[3] The first clause in text [6:22] is I think.

at different levels
for a number of reasons
Cause: Reason

[4] The notion of 'repercussions for grammatical metaphor' is irrelevant.  In the second clause, reasons is metaphorically construed as a Thing of a nominal group serving as the Range of a minor Process of a prepositional phrase serving as a circumstance of Cause: reason.  That is, what is congruently realised as a minor Process — for, because of — is metaphorically realised as the Range: minor Process of that minor Process.  This provided, in this instance, the possibility of quantification by an indefinite Numerative.

a number of reasons
minor Process

a number of

[5] 'Internal conjunctive relations' don't 'lend themselves to "independent" metaphorical realisations' for two reasons.  First, internal conjunctive relations obtain through the deployment of expansion types by the textual metafunction at the level of lexicogrammar, whereas the type of metaphorical relations here are between ideational semantics and lexicogrammar.  Second, the notion of "independent" metaphorical realisations rests on the false distinction of logical versus experiential metaphor.

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