Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Misconstruing Modal Responsibility In Terms Of Exchange Resolution

Martin (1992: 462):
The challenge here is to interpret the meaning of Subject from a discourse perspective, by looking at the way in which discourse structures interact with Subject selection.  The best context for examining this interaction is dialogue, since negotiation provides the appropriate interpersonal context.  As noted in Chapter 2, in the unmarked case, negotiation is aimed at closure; interlocutors work around an obligatory K1 or A1 move which will resolve the exchange.  It follows from this that the interlocutor initiating the exchange will arrange propositions and proposals in such a way that they can be "naturally" resolved.

Blogger Comment:

This misconstrual of modal responsibility — the meaning of Subject — follows directly from Martin's (p461) misinterpretation of the Subject of proposals:
The meaning of Subject is glossed in terms of modal responsibility. This meaning is most transparent in proposals, where regardless of voice, the Subject is the constituent responsible for seeing that goods are exchanged or a service performed.
Applied to propositions, this becomes:
  • the Subject is the constituent responsible for seeing that information is exchanged.
In the excerpt above, this social responsibility for interlocutors seeing that information is exchanged becomes a responsibility for interlocutors seeing that exchanges are resolved.

Again, this confuses the material order of experience (interlocutors) with the semiotic order of experience (the linguistic content that they project).

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