Friday, 10 June 2016

Misconstruing The Notion Of Projection

Martin (1992: 521):
The final ideational consideration which has to be taken into account here has to do with projection.  All of the text types considered to this point can be spoken or written directly; alternatively their verbalisation may itself be experientialised.  Linguistically this is accomplished through behavioural, mental and verbal processes which explicitly construct meaning as doing (as in the examples from [4:2] above).  Alternative resources for projection include drawing (comics and cartoons), film and stage.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This discussion is purported to be concerned with systems of the textual metafunction at the level of context — mode — which Martin misconstrues as register.  Ideational considerations thus add a further confusion of metafunction.

[2] To be clear, in SFL theory, projection is the logical relation between two orders of experience, as between a mental clause and an idea clause, or between a verbal clause and a locution clause.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 443):
projection relates phenomena of one order of experience (the processes of saying and thinking) to phenomena of a higher order (semiotic phenomena – what people say and think).
[3] The claim here is that, as an alternative to speaking or writing, "verbalising" may be "made experiential".  This is nonsensical both in terms of the everyday meaning of experiential as involving or based on experience and observation, and in terms of the technical usage in SFL theory as a metafunction of meaning.

[4] The claim here is that behavioural, mental and verbal clauses that project material clauses are the means by which "verbalising may be made experiential".  This again is nonsensical, both, for the reason given above in [3], and for the further reasons that:
  • behavioural processes do not project meaning (Martin has misconstrued a verbal process as behavioural; see [5] below),
  • mental processes project ideas, not (verbal) locutions,
  • verbal processes projecting locutions are not an alternative to "verbalisation", but a construal of it.

[5] The "examples in [4:2] above" (p517) are two projecting verbal processes, and a projecting desiderative mental process:
  • After that he usually tells you to wait over there.
  • Then he will say "line up your dog or get the best out of your dog."
  • so you're hoping all the time that your dog will stand nice and steady…

[6] The claim here is that drawing (comics and cartoons), film and stage are alternatives to "direct" verbal projection through speaking or writing.  This confusion can be untangled by examining it from two orders of experience.

In terms of first order experience, the authors of comics, cartoons, film scripts or dramas verbally project the wordings of their respective texts.  This is not an alternative to "direct" projection through writing.

In terms of second order experience, the characters in comics, cartoons, film scripts or dramas verbally project the wordings of their respective texts.  This is not an alternative to "direct" projection through speaking.

Given the above — and the absence of projection from Martin's logical system of discourse semantics, conjunction — it is fair to say that Martin does not understand the SFL theoretical notions of projection and orders of experience.

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