Friday, 8 April 2016

Using Allegory To Misrepresent The Rôle Of Mood And Residue In Modal Responsibility

Martin (1992: 490):
Text is a dialectic, a semiotic rally.  But the ball that comes back may be slightly different from the ball you've just played.  And the ball has two parts — a bit you thought might come back different and a bit you assumed would stay the same.  When the ball comes back unchanged, you throw it away and get a new one; and sometimes it doesn't come back at all — in which case you may choose another ball or stop playing altogether (or decide to find a new partner for the next round). 
Monologue is hitting up against the backboard; the tension is still there — choosing Subjects is important.  But you negotiate against yourself; you can't hit the same shot twice, and someone might be watching anyhow.  So the monologue is a dialogue.  Text is a rally you aren't trying to win; it's a game you're trying to share.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This misunderstands the term 'dialectic', since a vanishingly small proportion of the total number of texts can be accurately categorised as such:
Dialectic or dialectics (Greek: διαλεκτική, dialektikḗ), also known as the dialectical method, is a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments. The term was popularised by Plato's Socratic dialogues but the act itself has been central to European and Indian philosophy since ancient history.
The term dialectic is not synonymous with the term debate. While in theory debaters are not necessarily emotionally invested in their point of view, in practice debaters frequently display an emotional commitment that may cloud rational judgment. Debates are won through a combination of persuading the opponent, proving one's argument correct, or proving the opponent's argument incorrect. Debates do not necessarily require promptly identifying a clear winner or loser; however clear winners are frequently determined by either a judge, jury, or by group consensus.
The term dialectics is also not synonymous with the term rhetoric, a method or art of discourse that seeks to persuade, inform, or motivate an audience. Concepts, like "logos" or rational appeal, "pathos" or emotional appeal, and "ethos" or ethical appeal, are intentionally used by rhetoricians to persuade an audience.

[2] This extended tennis metaphor is meant to illustrate Martin's characterisation of Mood and Residue in his misinterpretation of modal responsibility (ibid.):
In summary, Residue is what interlocutors are judged to have in common; Mood is what they may not share.
As explained previously, the Mood element carries the burden of the clause as an interactive event, so it remains constant, as the nub of the proposition, unless some positive step is taken to change it (Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 150), whereas the Residue comprises the remaining elements that realise the proposition (or proposal), but which do not 'bear the burden of the clause as an interactive event'.

[3] In monologue, as elsewhere, the choice of Subject is important in the sense that the validity of a proposition or proposal rests with it; there need be no "tension" (e.g. Mary had a little lamb).  In monologue, where there is negotiation, the speakers or writers don't "negotiate against" themselves, but with the addressees.

[4] This misunderstands the distinction between monologue and dialogue. A text (rally) with one speaker (player) is a monologue, no matter how many readers (observers) there are.


Consider also the effectiveness of this tennis allegory: when the ball comes back unchanged, you throw it away and get a new one.