Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Misrepresenting Information Structure

Martin (1992: 434):
Halliday is careful to distinguish Theme from Given, assigning distinct Theme ^ Rheme (realised by constituent sequence) and (Given) ° New structures (realised by intonation) to the English clause.  This is an essential step in understanding the difference between method of development (this section) and point (Section 6.3.3 below); without this distinction no adequate account of English texture can be provided.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In SFL theory, Given and New are not functional elements of clause structure.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 88):
[informationis a system not of the clause, but of a separate grammatical unit, the information unit. The information unit is a unit that is parallel to the clause and the other units belonging to the same rank scale as the clause: clause group/phrase word morpheme. Since it is parallel with the clause (and the units the clause consists of), it is variable in extent in relation to the clause and may extend over more than one clause or less than one clause; but in the unmarked case it is co-extensive with the clause.
[2] Because Martin does not understand that thematic and informational structures also contribute to texture in Halliday & Hasan's model — see Misrepresenting Hasan's Cohesive Harmony — the implication here is that their (original) model is therefore inadequate, but that his (derived) model, which will "add" them, is not.

Again, there is no reasoned argument, merely the declaration of an attitude, in this case negative appreciation: composition (no adequate).