Friday, 18 March 2016

Not Understanding Interstratal Realisation

Martin (1992: 460):
In Chapters 1 and 5 it was noted that one essential interpretation of "A realises B" in functional linguistics is that A is symbolically related to B  relationships between levels (beyond that between content and expression form) are natural.  The discussion of Theme and New in clauses, paragraphs and texts presented to this point in sections 6.3.2 and 6.3.3 illustrates clearly the symbolic way in which text can be said to be realised by clause.  Clause grammar is a metaphor for text structure; patterns of interaction between discourse semantics and lexicogrammar echo the textual organisation of the clause.  It is in this sense that a functional grammar is a critical resource for textlinguistics.

Blogger Comments:

This demonstrates most clearly that Martin (1992) does not understand the meaning of 'realisation' in the architecture of SFL theory.

[1] The clause A realises B construes an intensive identifying relation between A and B, such that A is the Token (the lower level of abstraction) and B is the Value (the higher level of abstraction).  Like verbs such as express, signify, spell, stand for, mean, the verb realise serves as a Process construing a symbolic identifying relation; see Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 238; 2014: 269).

[2] The clause A realises B does not specify whether the relation of symbolic identity between levels is natural or otherwise.

Process: intensive: symbol

[3] In terms of stratification, 'text' refers to the highest unit of the semantic stratum, and 'clause' refers to the highest unit of the lexicogrammatical stratum.  The semantic stratum (meaning) is realised by the lexicogrammatical stratum (wording).  The 'symbolic way' that 'text is realised by clause' is just this interstratal relation.

[4] The claim here is that clause rank lexicogrammar (textual metafunction) is a metaphor (incongruent realisation) of text structure.

[5] In terms of the architecture of SFL theory, 'patterns of interaction between discourse semantics and lexicogrammar' are patterns of realisation relations between the systems of each stratum.  Thus, the claim here is actually that patterns of interstratal realisation of discourse semantics in lexicogrammar reflect the Theme^Rheme structure of the clause.

[6] The reason why a functional grammar is a critical resource for textlinguistics is actually because of the relation between text and system: instantiation.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 658):
A text is meaningful because it is an actualisation of the potential that constitutes the linguistic system; it is for this reason that the study of discourse (‘text linguistics’) cannot properly be separated from the study of the grammar that lies behind it.
Halliday (2008: 192):
The system and the text are not two different phenomena: what we call the “system” of a language is equivalent to its “text potential”. Analysing discourse means, first and foremost, relating the text to the potential that lies behind it.