Saturday, 23 July 2016

Misrepresenting The Distinction Between Fabula And Syuzhet

Martin (1992: 537):
Barthes's notion of sequence was developed in the context of studying the relations between story (alternatively fabula or histoire) and discourse (alternatively sjuzhet or discours) in narrative theory (see Toolan 1988: 9-11), a context very similar to that in which the field/genre distinction proposed here evolved in Australian educational linguistics.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading.  The distinction between fabula and syuzhet is not the distinction between story and discourse: 
Fabula and syuzhet are terms originating in Russian formalism and employed in narratology that describe narrative construction. Syuzhet is an employment of narrative and fabula is the chronological order of the events contained in the story. They were first used in this sense by Vladimir Propp and Viktor Shklovsky. The fabula is "the raw material of a story, and syuzhet, the way a story is organized.
[2] In SFL Theory, field is the ideational dimension of the culture as a semiotic system that has language as its expression plane, and genre is text type, which is register viewed from the instance pole of the cline of instantiation.

Martin's model of field, however, confuses field (context) with activity sequences (semantics) and miscontrues this confusion as register.

On the other hand, Martin's model of genre confuses text type (register) with text structure (semantics) and misconstrues this confusion as a level of context that is realised by his confused model of register.