Sunday, 4 September 2016

Martin's Reasons For Not Devising Genre Systems

Martin (1992: 571):
The major stumbling block to overcoming this obstacle and deploying the tools that are already developed is unwieldiness.  The text structures realising genre are large and thus time-consuming to analyse, and compared with examples of syllable and clause structures agnate texts are hard to find.  As an institution linguistics is organised to frustrate work on systems of text — most of the generic slots available for presenting work (papers, seminars, theses, etc. are too short to be equal to the task), appointment and promotion is based on individual, not group work (thereby encouraging revolution in place of evolution), and funding is directed to applications rather than research development (at the same time as applied work has low status within the discipline itself).  All of this manifests an ideologically motivated naturalisation process that will be taken up in 7.4 below.

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[1] The claim here is that the obstacle to overcoming the obstacle to mapping out genre systems — see previous post — is the size of the phenomenon to be modelled (texts).

This is meant to explain why Martin has not presented any genre systems in his section on genre systems.

[2] For Martin, the claim that text structures realise genre refers to the axial relation between system and structure on the genre stratum, which is construed as context, not language.  That is, text structure is construed in this model as not being language.

Translated into SFL theory, the claim is that text structures (semantic stratum) realise text types (genres), which is inconsistent with the architecture of the theory.  Semantic structures realise semantic systems axially, and context systems — field, tenor and mode — stratally.

[3] This ideologically motivated conspiracy in linguistics is offered as another reason why Martin hasn't presented any genre systems in his section on genre systems.

As previously explained, the notion of genre systems confuses two distinct points on the cline of instantiation: the system pole and a point midway along the cline (genre/text type/register).