Monday, 4 April 2016

Rhapsodising On Method Of Development

Martin (1992: 489):
Method of development takes these harmonising meanings, and finds a peg to hang them on — it establishes an angle on the field.  This angle will be sensitive to a text's generic structure where this is realised in stages.  Method of development is the lens through which a field is constructed; of all the experiential meanings available in a given field, it will pick on just a few, and weave them through Theme time and again to ground the text — to give interlocutors something to hang onto, something to come back to — an orientation, a perspective, a point of view, a perch, a purchase.

Blogger Comments:

[1] It is instructive to compare these metaphors with Martin's model.  Martin's method of development is a mixture of writing pedagogy and linguistic theory.  Martin supplies the writing pedagogy, rebranding introductory paragraph as macro-Theme, and topic sentence as hyper-Theme, whereas Halliday supplies the linguistic theory: Theme as point of departure for the clause as message (textual metafunction).  Martin's method of development is the progression of experiential meaning that is highlighted by inclusion in an introductory paragraph, topic sentences, and clause Themes.

[2] It is because Martin focuses on the experiential meaning that is textually highlighted, rather than on the textual system that does the highlighting, that he believes that method of development 'establishes an angle on the field' — the ideational dimension of context — keeping in mind that what Martin regards as "field" includes ideational semantics and involves a misconstrual of context as register.

Importantly, interpersonal and textual meanings are also given thematic prominence — e.g. modal adjuncts such as allegedly and conjunctive adjuncts such as nevertheless, respectively — but these are ignored in this focus on experiential meaning.

[3] Consider the "development" of a text that keeps returning to the same Theme, the same point of departure 'time and again'.

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