Monday, 23 May 2016

Under-Acknowledging Hasan As Theoretical Source

Martin (1992: 517-8):
With this reservation in mind, a preliminary grid can be established as in Table 7.5 — with exemplary texts noted (Hasan 1985/9: 58 uses the opposition ancilliary [sic] / constitutive to establish a closely related continuum). 
This grid distinguishes field-structured from genre-structured texts and subclassifies field-structured texts according to how much of the social action is constructed by language
Texts in which most of the social action is realised non-verbally are referred to as ancilliary [sic]; texts in which most of the social action is realised linguistically are further divided into those in which language monitors what is going on (e.g. sports commentary), those in which it reconstructs what has gone on (e.g. biography) and those in which the language generalises about what goes on (e.g. recipes).
Genre-structured texts are divided into those which review field-structured texts (e.g. movie reviews), and so are partially determined by their activity sequences, and theoretical texts which are not organised around a sequence of events in any respect (e.g. editorials).  This scale arranges texts with respect to iconicity and the amount of ideational meaning that needs to be made explicit to realise the field.

Blogger Comments:

[1] More accurately, Hasan's (1985) ancillary/constitutive distinction is the source of Martin's (1992) theorising here.

[2] To be clear, in terms of SFL theory, Martin is classifying text types (registers/genres) according to how semantic structure varies with the mode features of situation types (context). That is, three theoretical dimensions are entangled here:
  • stratification (context realised by semantics),
  • axis (system realised by structure), and
  • instantiation (text types and situation types)

[3] A recipe does not "generalise about what goes on".  As Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 356) point out, a recipe is a procedural text, a 'macro-operation consisting of a number of micro-operations'.

[4] To be clear, a movie review of a text is a review of just the script of a movie.

[5] An editorial is merely an opinion piece.  The classification of an opinion piece as a theoretical text is consistent with Martin's approach to theory, as demonstrated over and over again by these critiques.