Saturday, 16 July 2016

Blurring The Distinction Between Context And Semantics

Martin (1992: 533-4):
As far as content form is concerned, amplification is achieved largely through iteration — affectual meanings are repeated until the appropriate volume is reached.  This interpersonal "taxis" is most striking in nominal groups (cf. you lousy rotten stinking bastard you vs. my lovely sweet little darling baby puppy dog), where positive and negative attitude is replayed prosodically across Deictic, Epithet and Thing; but attitudinal interpolation of this kind is pervasive across a range of grammatical structures, irrespective of experiential constituency boundaries (e.g. swearing — God damn it I fucking wish that shit of a un-bloody-grateful bastard would work his fucking problems out; or modalityI'm absolutely convinced that there certainly must be a solution right here, mustn't there?).

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, in SFL Theory, 'content' refers to the two strata: semantics/meaning and lexicogrammar/wording; and 'form' on the content plane refers to the units of the rank scale: clauses, phrases, groups, words and morphemes.

[2] To be clear, such 'affectual meanings' are the meanings (semantics) that realise affect (context).  In terms of stratification, tenor and meaning are distinct levels of symbolic abstraction.

[3] To be clear, in SFL Theory, 'taxis' is the logical relation of interdependency.

[4] To be clear, the constituency of form, the rank scale, is not metafunctional.  This is distinct from different metafunctions favouring different types of function structures: experiential/segmental, interpersonal/prosodic, textual/culminative and logical/iterative (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 85).

[5] In SFL Theory, modality is a system of the clause, and quite distinct from attitude.  Modality operates within the limits defined by polarity (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 183).

[6] Trivially, right is not an instance of modality. Modality covers modalisation (probability/usuality) and modulation (obligation/inclination).