Friday, 11 March 2016

Misidentifying New Information

Martin (1992: 454-5): 
The next paragraph is not pulled together in this way; instead, [6:23r] functions as a macro-New, summarising the text as a whole. … macro-New [is …] underlined in the following representation of [6:23]; the minimal News of remaining clauses appear in bold-face.

(illustrating New … and macro-New)

The war had also revealed inadequacies in Australia’s scientific and research capabilities.

After the war strenuous efforts were made to improve these.

The Australian National University was established with an emphasis on research.

The government gave its support to the advancement of science in many areas, including agricultural production.

Though it is difficult to disentangle the effects of war from other influences,

it is clear that future generations not only enjoyed the security and peace won by their forefathers but also the benefits of war-time economic expansion.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is the first mention of the security and peace won by their forefathers in the text, and so it does not satisfy Martin's definition of macro-New as 'summarising the text as a whole'.

[2] This does not satisfy Martin's definition of minimal New — the "highest ranking" clause constituent (p451) — because [6:23p] is a clause complex, rather than a single clause, with including agricultural production as a possessive attributive clause hypotactically elaborating the clause that precedes it.  Based on a spoken reading, there are likely to be information foci on many and agricultural.