Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Confusing First And Second Orders Of Experience

Martin (1992: 546-7):
In this connection it is useful to compare three of Barthes's examples of sequences with three of Hasan's examples of text structure (only her obligatory elements will be considered here):

sequences (Barthes 1966/1977):
‘telephone call’:
telephone ringing ^ picking up the receiver ^ speaking ^ putting down the receiver (1966/1977: 101)

“having a drink”:
order a drink ^ obtain it ^ drink it ^ pay for it (1966/1977: 101)

“offering a cigarette”:
offering ^ accepting ^ smoking ^ lighting (1966/1977: 102)

text structures (Hasan 1977, 1984, 1985/9):
“medical appointment making”:
Identification ^ Application ^ Offer ^ Confirmation (1977: 233)

“service encounter”:
Sale request ^ Sale compliance ^ Sale ^ Purchase ^ Purchase closure (1985/1989: 60)

“nursery tale”:
Initiating event ^ Sequent event ^ Final event (1984: 80)
At a glance it might appear that Barthes is analysing action whereas Hasan is analysing text (cf. Barthes's telephone call and Hasan's appointment making).  But the opposition is by no means as simple as this.  Most of Barthes's nuclei involve interlocutors speaking, and those which do not are easy to render linguistically in narration (as they have been in Barthes's own account).  So a simple opposition between verbal and non-verbal action will not do.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Both Barthes and Hasan are analysing texts, instances of language, at the level of semantics.  The difference between them, in terms of SFL theory (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014), is that Barthes approach is more "bottom-up", staying close to the sequences of figures that are realised grammatically as clauses, whereas Hasan's approach is more "top-down", viewing from context.

[2] The interlocutors in Barthes' data are characters in narrative texts.  That is, they are verbal projections of the writer.  The confusion here is in terms of orders of experience: first-order (writers, speakers, readers, listeners etc.) vs second-order (characters in stories etc.).

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