Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Misconstruing A Higher Order Of Experience As A Lower Level Of Symbolic Abstraction

Martin (1992: 571):
First and second order tenor would be dealt with as the difference between register (tenor) and discourse semantics (NEGOTIATION) here;

Blogger Comment:

For Halliday, tenor is the interpersonal dimension of context.  The relation between first and second order tenor is projection.

Martin's proposal is to reconstrue:
  • first order tenor as a dimension of register (misconstrued as context), and
  • second order tenor as a dimension of discourse semantics.
That is, the proposal is to treat a higher order of experience within context, as a lower level of symbolic abstraction — within language.

That is, Martin misconstrues
  • orders of experience (related by projection) as levels of symbolic abstraction (related by realisation), and 
  • the lower order as the higher level.
Consequently, on this first tendered piece of evidence, Martin's claim that his model of register and genre avoids additional complications in Halliday's model is the exact opposite of what is true.