Thursday, 21 July 2016

Misrepresenting Data & Confusing Strata

Martin (1992: 537):
Benson & Greaves (forthcoming) for example show that the lexical item hand in an introductory bridge manual has left collocates oriented to the organisation of participants in field: balanced hand, weak hand, first hand; to the right however hand collocates with lexical items oriented to activity: Take your tricks from the short hand first, Revalue your hand using dummy points, with a maximum hand, opener knows how high.  This organisation of fields as things and activities will be briefly reviewed below;

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, this is not cohesive collocation, merely the juxtaposition of lexical items.  The probability of left and right juxtapositions correlates with the probability of clause and group structures.

The left vs right difference relates to the unmarked realisation of a semantic Thing as Head of a nominal group serving as a participant.  Within nominal group structure, to the left, Thing is likely to be preceded by modifying Deictics, Numeratives, Epithets and Classifiers, and to the right, Thing is likely to be followed by the Process or minor Process of a Qualifier.  At clause rank, hand is likely to be Complement, and so followed, if at all, by an Adjunct.  In a clause nexus, hand is likely to be followed by the Theme of the following finite clause (e.g. opener), or Predicator of a non-finite clause (e.g. using).

[2] This confuses context with the language that realises context.  The confusion is thus along the dimension of stratification.  Specifically, it confuses field — what's going on (a reader learning how to play bridge) — with lexical items construing participants and processes in the text (lexicogrammar).

[3] This misrepresents the data.  Only 1/3 of the "activities" is a Process (using); the other 2/3 are a conjunctive Adjunct/relator (first) and a Senser participant (opener).