Monday, 18 January 2016

Reducing Expansion To Conjunctive Relations

Martin (1992: 408):
Metaphorical realisations of conjunctive relations were discussed in detail in Chapter 4 above (Section 4.2.1) in connection with the diversified realisation of the discourse system.  A simplified outline of the scope of this diversification is outlined in Table 6.16.

Table 6.16. Congruent and metaphorical realisations of conjunction
Conjunctive relation:

cohesive conjunction

paratactic conjunction

hypotactic conjunction

phrasal Process
due to



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[1] As demonstrated in previous posts, Martin's discourse semantic system of conjunction, though construed as a logical system, confuses textual and logical deployments of the system of expansion. It also greatly underplays the pervasiveness and importance of expansion in the construal of experience.

In SFL theory, expansion, like projection, is a transgrammatical semantic domain, in the sense that it is manifested across a range of grammatical environments.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 597):
… the environments of manifestation can be differentiated in terms of
(i) metafunctiontextual (conjunction), logical (interdependencymodification) and experiential (circumstantiationprocess type: relational), and
(ii) rank — clause and group/phrase [and below]. …
Collectively they thus construe expansion as a semantic system.  This means that for any given type of expansion we want to express, we have at our disposal a range of resources.

[2] In SFL theory, the semantic element that construes relations of expansion is the relator. Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 267-8) explain the reason why they are liable to appear as minor processes, processes, qualities and things:
Relators construe the highly generalised logico-semantic relations of expansion that join figures into sequences: elaborating, extending, enhancing. […] these relationships of expansion pervade very many regions of the semantic system: they are manifested in the organisation of figures of being, in the types of circumstantial element that occur within a figure, in the taxonomy of ‘things’, and elsewhere, as well as of course in their ‘home’ region of the construal of sequences, as links between one figure and another.  This led us to characterise the categories of expansion as "transphenomenal" and "fractal": transphenomenal in the sense that they re-appear across the spectrum of different types of phenomena construed by the ideational system; and fractal in the sense that they serve as general principles of the construal of experience, generating identical patterns of organisation of variable magnitude and in variable semantic environments.
It is these characteristics of relators that make them particularly liable to migrate: to be displaced metaphorically from their congruent status (as paratactic and hypotactic conjunctions) and to appear in other guises in other locations — as minor processes (in circumstantial elements), as processes, as qualities and as things.

[3] To be clear, this is a minor Process, an element of the experiential function structure of a prepositional phrase.

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