Saturday, 30 April 2016

Confusing Text Type (Genre) With Text Structure (Semantics)

Martin (1992: 503):
Approaching genre from a teleological perspective is also useful in accounting for the way in which texts typically move through stages to a point of closure and are explicitly treated by speaker/listener as incomplete when closure is not attained (having mentioned closure it is important to stress that genre, like all semiotic systems, is a dynamic open system (see Lemke 1984) and so in [sic] constantly evolving;

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is more true of clauses than it is of genres (text types), and yet, clause structure can be usefully accounted for without approaching the clause from a teleological perspective.  All repetitions of a previously established process have a previously established endpoint.  This does not necessitate the adoption of a teleological perspective.

A functional theory of language is concerned with functions, not purposes — the functions of clauses, the functions of text types, and so on.

[2]  Note the confusion of text type (genre) with text structure (semantics).

[3] This confuses the termination of a process (the closure of a text) with the boundary conditions (open or closed) of dynamic systems.  A closed system is isolated from its environment, whereas an open system interacts with its environment and derives energy from it.

[4] To be clear, genres are types of semiotic systems.