Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Taking A Monostratal Approach To Grammatical Metaphor

Martin (1992: 406):

Table 6.15. Examples of grammatical metaphor across metafunctions


conjunctive relation






this point

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[1] From a lexicogrammatical perspective ('from below'), grammatical metaphor is an incongruent grammatical realisation of meaning, as, in the case of ideational metaphor, when a Process (semantics) is realised by a Thing (lexicogrammar).  From a semantic perspective ('from above'), grammatical metaphor creates a junctional construct: the meanings of both the metaphorical and congruent grammatical realisations, as in the meaning of advancement as 'process thing'.  Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 271): 
Thus grammatical metaphor is a means of having things both ways. … A[n] element that is metaphorised does not lose its original status. Its construction is not triggered by its being associated with any new semantic feature. If it has a new semantic feature this is a result of the metaphorising process. … It has become a ‘junctional’ construct, combining two of the basic properties that the grammar evolved as it grew into a theory of experience.
Halliday (2008: 96):
The effect of this semantic junction is to create virtual phenomena which exist on the semiotic plane. Thus motion and heat are virtual entities; cause and follow (“come after in time”) are virtual processes; while heat resistance is a virtual class of a virtual entity resistance. Such virtual phenomena are critical for the construction of theory;
This table does not present a semantic perspective of grammatical metaphor, and does not present it from a grammatical perspective as a relation between content strata.

[2] In SFL theory, the noun 'reason' is an incongruent grammatical realisation of the meaning 'expansion: enhancement: cause: reason', a type of enhancement within the semantic system of expansion.  In SFL theory (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 600), therefore realises expansion: enhancement: cause: reason, but through the textual system of cohesive conjunction.  However, in Martin's discourse semantics (p179), therefore realises 'consequential: consequence', through the logical system of conjunction.

[3] Martin's discourse semantics does not provide 'process' as an experiential system or feature — see Figure 5.23 p320 — and the experiential unit of meaning is simply 'message part' (p325).  That is, the discourse semantic model provides no distinct semantic category by which to determine congruent (advance) and metaphorical (advancement) realisations in the grammar.

[4] Martin's discourse semantics does not provide '(modal) assessment' as an interpersonal system; see Halliday & Matthiessen 2004: 608-12).  That is, the discourse semantic model provides no system of features by which to determine congruent and metaphorical realisations of low values of probability in the grammar.

Further, the metaphorical realisation provided here is the nominalisation possibility (a noun of modalisation). Interpersonal metaphors of modality are actually the explicit subjective and objective forms, such as, in the case of low probability: I think… and it's possible….  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 624):
The explicitly subjective and explicitly objective forms of modality are all strictly speaking metaphorical, since all of them represent the modality as being the substantive proposition. Modality represents the speaker’s angle, either on the validity of the assertion or on the rights and wrongs of the proposal; in its congruent form, it is an adjunct to a proposition rather than a proposition in its own right.
[5] In SFL theory, as previously explained, there is no textual metaphor.  Leaving this minor detail aside, here the grammatical system of cohesive reference is identified as providing the example of textual metaphor, rather than the discourse semantic system of identification.  But in any case, no semantic category is provided that is said to be realised in the grammar congruently as he and metaphorically as this point.

Note that grammatical metaphor was cited as one of the three motivations for theorising a discourse semantics stratum.  See previous post here.

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