Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Misrepresenting Hasan On Generic Structure Potential

Martin (1992: 551-3):
In the same paper, Martin (1985) cautions against another bias inherited by genre theory from grammarians — namely that towards a synoptic as opposed to dynamic form of representation and interpretation.  The basic problem here is that in order to attain generality, grammarians have tended in various ways to abstract away from linear progression (to divorce in other words functional order from sequence).  Structure potentials such as those used by Hasan, and to an even greater extent the system/structure realisation cycle suggested by Martin, separate order from sequence in such a way that choices leading to a particular text structure bear no direct temporal relation to the unfolding of that text in real time.  To the extent that aspects of the unfolding of text are conditioned by linear progression, this perspective breaks down.

Blogger Comments:

[1] In Systemic Functional Grammatics, sequence during instantiation is specified by realisation statements of features, such as declarative Subject ^ Finite.

[2] This misunderstands the relation between order and sequence.  Sequence is one type of order; that is, sequence is a hyponym of order.  To speak of separating a hyponym from its superordinate category is a nonsense — cf separating lorikeet from bird.

[3] This is manifestly untrue with respect to Hasan's generic structure structure potentials.  Hasan (1985/9: 61) specifies the order of obligatory elements in the sense of 'sequence':
So the obligatory elements of text 4.1 are SR, SC, S, P and PC in that order.  This can be displayed as SR ^ SC ^ S ^ P ^ PC, with the sign ^ showing the order of elements.
[4] This continues the earlier confusion of syntagmatic structure with logogenesis (the unfolding of text at the instance pole of the cline of instantiation).