Monday, 29 August 2016

Confusing Strata And Misidentifying Metafunctions

Martin (1992: 563):
Martin (1985/1989) and Martin & Peters (1985) further divided expository writing into analytical and hortatory varieties, depending on whether the text outlined an argument (macro-proposition) or tried to persuade listener/readers to undertake a particular course of action (macro-modulated proposition), a distinction related to Longacre's +/– prescriptive opposition.  The inter-relationships proposed for these factual genres are formulated systemically in Fig. 7.26 (for further delicacy see Peters 1985).  Significantly, the network is comprised of ideational, interpersonal and textual features and thus cuts across register variables to bring out the oppositions between the genres:

ideational variables
+/– activity structure, document/explain

interpersonal variables
resolve/debate, analytical, hortatory

textual variables
+/– generalised

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, in SFL theory, the rôle of language in context, such as analytical vs hortatory exposition, is a dimension of mode, the system of the textual metafunction at the level of context.  Text types (language) are identified from above, by the situation types (context) they realise.  Here, on the other hand, textual mode is being identified from below, in terms of the interpersonal semantics (speech function).

[2] This misrepresents the distinction between these two types of exposition, both of which involve the presentation of arguments. The text structure (semantics) that realises a hortatory exposition (context: mode) is typically:
  1. Thesis
  2. Arguments
  3. Recommendation
whereas the text structure (semantics) that realises an analytical exposition (context: mode) is typically:
  1. Thesis
  2. Arguments
  3. Reiteration
The function of a hortatory exposition is to explain to the reader that something should or should not happen or be done — not to command the reader — whereas the function of an analytical exposition is a to persuade the reader that an idea is important.

[3] This misrepresents a theoretical defect — a network that mixes metafunctional perspectives — as a virtue.  However, the network also confuses features from different strata and misidentifies their metafunctions, as will be demonstrated below.

[4] In terms of SFL theory, of the "ideational register variables" classifying genres ("from below"), ± activity structure is ideational, but semantic, whereas document/explain is textual context (mode).

[5] In terms of SFL theory, of the "interpersonal register variables" classifying genres ("from below"), resolve/debate is interpersonal, but semantic, whereas analytical/hortatory is textual context (mode).

[6] In terms of SFL theory, the "textual register variables" classifying genres ("from below"), ± generalised is ideational semantics (construing experience).

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