Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Blurring The Distinction Between Realisation, Logogenesis And Instantiation

Martin (1992: 536-7):
Field is the contextual projection of experiential meaning and so alongside IDEATION puts at risk the clause rank systems TRANSITIVITY, CIRCUMSTANTIATION and AGENCY, as well as systems generating Numerative, Epithet, Classifier, Thing and Qualifier in nominal group structure and various other group/phrase systems, all of which need to be interpreted as embracing lexis as most delicate grammar; in addition, research into collocation patterns provides an important perspective on field's realisation (see Benson & Greaves 1981, 1992, forthcoming).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading.  Field is not the contextual projection of experiential meaning.  Field is the ideational dimension of context.  That is, it is application of the theoretical notion of the ideational metafunction to the culture as a semiotic system.

[2] As previously demonstrated, Martin's system of ideation, purported to be a model of experiential meaning on the discourse semantic stratum, is actually a confusion of lexical cohesion (textual metafunction at the level of grammar), lexis as most delicate grammar (lexicogrammatical delicacy), and logical relations between figure elements.

Martin here omits systems of the logical metfunction.  This would have required the inclusion of the discourse semantic system of conjunction, which, as previously demonstrated, is a confusion of clause complex relations (logical metafunction) and cohesive conjunction (textual metafunction), both of which are grammatical systems.

[3] Unhappily, the risk that semiotic systems face is never identified.

[4] To be clear, the clause rank system of transitivity includes the systems of agency and circumstantiation.  Circumstantiation refers to 'circumstantial transitivity' (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 758).

[5] 'Systems generating structure' blurs the distinction between axial realisation, logogenesis and instantiation.  The relation between paradigmatic system and syntagmatic structure is realisation.  Structure realises system.  That is, they are in a relation of symbolic identity, with system as Value and structure as Token.

On the other hand, 'generating', in this sense, is modelled in SFL theory as logogenesis, the unfolding of text at the instance pole of cline of instantiation, as features are selected and realisation statements activated (the process of instantiation).

[6] This demonstrates a lack of understanding of the notion of lexis as most delicate grammar — as also demonstrated by its inclusion in Martin's model of experiential discourse semantics.  Lexis as most delicate grammar means that if grammatical networks were to be elaborated to sufficient delicacy, bundles of the most delicate features would specify individual lexical items — just as bundles of articulatory features specify individual phonemes.

[7] To be clear, collocation is a resource of lexical cohesion, and so represents a resource of the textual, not ideational metafunction.