Thursday, 25 August 2016

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Ideational & Interpersonal Perspectives On Consciousness Depend On ‘Projection’

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 600):
The potential for projecting is shared by sensing and saying; and when they are construed together, they reveal a very powerful principle that is embodied in the folk model: that through projection, we construe the experience of ‘meaning’ — as a layered, or stratified phenomenon, with ‘meanings’ projected by sensing and ‘wordings’ projected by saying. … Interpersonally, projection is a mode of enactment — in moves in dialogue, interactants enact propositions and proposals. Interpersonal metaphors of mood and modality bring out the relationship between the two: here interactants simultaneously both enact propositions and proposals interpersonally and construe this enacting in such a way that the ideational construal comes to stand as a metaphor for aspects of the interpersonal enactment.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

How To Enrich & Re-Orient Cognitive Science

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 600):
Both these perspectives — that of the construal of processes other than the mental (saying and symbolising), and that of meaning as enacting as well as meaning as construing — are absent from the cognitive science modelling of mind; and in our view they could with advantage be brought into the picture when we try to understand these complex and central areas of human experience. To do so would both enrich the cognitive model and steer it away from obsessions with information, with knowledge as a separate ‘thing’ divorced from meaning, and with mind as the exclusive property of an individual organism bounded by skin.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Interpersonal Perspective On Consciousness

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 600):
If we move outside the ideational metafunction to the interpersonal, the resource through which we interact with other people, we find that here we are acting out our conscious selves — “modelling” consciousness not by construing it but by enacting it. Since this type of meaning is non–referential it is not taken account of in scientific theories at all.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Ideational Perspective On Consciousness

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 599-600):
The ideational resources of language are primarily a theory of experience, so they are reflected fairly directly in consciously designed theories such as those of cognitive science. If we stay within the ideational metafunction, where mental processes are construed, we also find other processes that are complementary to these: those of saying (verbal processes) and symbolising (a type of relational process).

Sunday, 21 August 2016

How To Enrich & Re-Orient Cognitive Science

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 599, 600): 
At the same time the ‘scientific’ models of the mind fail to extend consciousness in the way it is extended by the grammar of English.  There are, in fact, two complementary perspectives embodied in the semantic and grammatical systems of English; and together they point towards an alternative interpretation both of ‘information’ as constructed in cognitive science and of the individualised ‘mind’ that is its object of study. … [These are] the construal of processes other than the mental (saying and symbolising), and that of meaning as enacting as well as meaning as construing.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Psychology And Psychoanalysis

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 599): 
In a way … material reinterpretation [psychology] and ‘unconsciousness’ [psychoanalysis] are opposites: the first reconstrues sensing in terms that are more readily observable by scientific method (ie method other than introspection), while the other introduces a factor that is even less readily observable than conscious sensing: unconscious motivation. But they share the characteristic that they construct the ‘mind’ as remote from our everyday experience with sensing.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Psychology And Psychoanalysis

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 599): 
These two models move away from the folk model in two directions. (i) They reinterpret figures of sensing as figures of doing or being–&–having; that is, they interpret mental phenomena in material terms. … (ii) They emphasise motivation as an important unconscious psychological factor; thus they introduce unconsciousness in the workings of the human mind. In the systems of process types in the grammar, there is no ‘unconscious’ type of sensing distinct from the conscious ones that can project ideas.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Cognitive Science’s Effacement Of Sensers

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 598):
… the metaphorical reconstrual of mental processes effaces the Sensers involved in these processes — the conscious beings, prototypically human, who are thinking, knowing, believing, remembering and so on. This effacement of the Sensers is of course not accidental: in fact, one central feature of the way in which cognitivists reconstrue mental processes in metaphorical terms is that the grammatical metaphor makes it possible to distance the account from our everyday experience. …
Given this orientation, it would thus seem that the unified senser existing as a person who “senses” is an illusion construed by the grammar as part of a folk theory of our own sense of conscious processing.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Cognitive Science As A Metaphorised Folk Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 598):
The mainstream cognitive science model is thus basically derived from a variety of the commonsense model. It creates a metaphorical distance from experience as construed in our congruent grammar, so that the conscious processing that we experience can be reconstrued as a ‘subconscious’ domain that we do not have access to — an abstract space where figures of doing & happening and being & having are the ones that operate, rather than figures of sensing. This would seem to be at one remove (at least) from the folk model, which might reasonably be seen as one of experientialist cognition in Lakoff’s (1988) sense — one that is in direct contact with the everyday, embodied experience of Sensers.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Formal-Cognitivist Alliance

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 596n):
Alongside this cognitivist approach, there is a material one embodied in formal approaches to semantics, where the ‘aboutness’ of linguistic expressions is taken as central and these expressions are interpreted in terms of models of possible worlds. However, in this respect there is a formal-cognitive alliance: meaning is interpreted not as something in its own right but as something outside language, either a mental construct (concepts, ideas etc) or a material one (referents in the real world or a formal model of a possible world).

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Mainstream Cognitive Science Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 596):
The ‘scientific model’ in mainstream cognitive science is centrally concerned with information located in the individual’s mind. The information is organised in some way as a conceptual system.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Central Motif In Cognitive Science’s Metaphorical Reconstrual Of Sensing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 596):
… sensing is ‘extracted’ from figures of sensing as a domain, and reified to become one of a variety of participants that take on rôles in figures of being & having and doing & happening, taking place in the mind construed as a container.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Cognitive Science Is Closed To The Interpersonal Dimension

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 596):
Since Sensers are effaced, and projections are lost as a feature of the Senser/sensing complementarity, the gateway to the interpersonal realm — where Sensers are enacted as interactants in dialogic exchange — is closed, and the interpersonal element in the ideational/interpersonal complementarity is lost.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Cognitive Science Can Taxonomise Sensing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 596):
Since figures of sensing are reified as participants, the path is opened up to the taxonomic interpretation of sensing, in the form of a scientific taxonomy: memory — long term/short term memory, sensory memory, semantic memory; recall — free recall; learning — associative learning / cognitive learning / classical conditioning; … .

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Cognitive Science Construes Sensing As A Space For Participants In Doing & Being Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 595-6):
Since figures of sensing are reified as participants, they can themselves be construed in participant rôles. Here another feature of the folk model is taken over: its spatial metaphor is retained and further elaborated. Thus the mind is construed as a space where the metaphorical participants of sensing are involved in processes of doing-&-happening and of being-&-having: thoughts, concepts, memories, images are stored located, retrieved, activated and so on.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Cognitive Science Effaces Sensers And Loses Projection

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 595):
Since figures of sensing are reified as participants, the processes of sensing are likewise turned into things, and the participants in sensing, the Sensers, are typically effaced. The Senser/sensing complementarity of the folk model is thus lost, as is the feature of Sensers projecting ideas into existence.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Cognitive Science Reifies Sensing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 595):
Since it is not taken over as theory, the fundamental insights of the folk theory are ignored: figures of “Sensers sensing (that …)” are re-construed through grammatical metaphor as participants. In particular, the domain of sensing is reified as the “mind”, so that instead of somebody perceiving things happening, or somebody thinking that the moon was a balloon, the model of cognitive science has perception, vision, cognition, learning, memory …

Monday, 8 August 2016

Consciousness As The Domain Of Sensers Sensing

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 595): 
The congruent ideational system separates out consciousness from the rest of our experience and construes it as a domain of sensing, embodying a Medium + Process complementarity where conscious beings (Medium) perceive, think, want, feel (Process). Sensing is thus ‘mediated’ through the Senser; and this process may project ideas into semiotic existence. This domain of Sensers sensing (that …), which is construed in congruent system, is taken over in cognitive science. However, it is not taken over as being itself a theory of conscious processing; instead, it is treated as a phenomenon — that is, sensing is turned into the object of study.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Why Cognitive “Science” Is Not A Scientific Alternative To The Folk Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 595):
… while the domain of scientific theorising about cognition is determined by the grammar of processes of sensing, the model is depersonalised, and sensing is construed metaphorically in terms of abstract “things” such as knowledge, memory, concepts. This suggests that mainstream cognitive science is basically an elaborated variety of a folk model, rather than a different scientific alternative

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Reifications Studied By Cognitive Scientists

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 594):
… the object of study of cognitive [science] is constructed by ideational metaphor, as reified sensing (perceiving, thinking) or as the names of sensing (the mind, mental phenomena).

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Folk Model That Is Cognitive “Science”

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 590):
The spatial metaphor of the commonsense model is taken over by cognitive science. It serves as the sources of processes in their model of the mind — processes of storing, searching, retrieving etc within figures of doing & happening and processes of being located at/in within figures of being & having. That is, processes of sensing are reified, and processes of doing & happening and of being & having take their place. The spatial metaphor also opens up the way for modelling the mind along computational lines: human memory can be modelled on computer memory.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Sensers Are Effaced From The Cognitive Science Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 588-9): 
The possibility of leaving participants implicit means in practice that Sensers are effaced in the scientific model and, as a result, the consciousness we experience in the living of a life is also construed out of the picture, being replaced with unconscious processes not accessible to our experience.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

From Folk Model To Cognitive Science Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 586-7, 588):
What is the nature of the move from our everyday construal of the experience of consciousness — our folk theory of Sensers sensing phenomena or projecting ideas — to the way cognitive scientists construe that experience? We can see the essential nature of this move when the folk theory is reconstrued as if it was a scientific one. … 
The scientific model is metaphorical; and it stands as a metaphor for the congruent folk model.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Sensing Construed As A Bounded Domain

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 585, 586):
The grammar thus construes sensing as a bounded domain within our total experience of change. This picture is further enriched through lexis, prominently through lexical metaphors. Metaphors relating to space, with the mind as a container, a finite space or a physical entity reinforce the grammar’s construal of a bounded domain of sensing. … 
This mind-space may enter into material processes of storing, searching, crossing, escaping etc, either as participant or as circumstance, and also into relational processes of “being + Location”. It is interesting to note that in these various lexical metaphors the Sensers are still very much present; they are not effaced. In fact, a number of these lexical metaphors constructed on the model of material clauses retain the option of projecting … [eg] he kept in mind that the moon was a balloon

Monday, 1 August 2016

Externalising Consciousness

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 584): 
The everyday grammar’s contribution to the construal of sensing is thus both rich and varied. Some features of it are particularly significant to the uncommonsense model of mainstream cognitive science. The grammar separates out consciousness from the rest of our experience in the form of mental processes, capable of projecting ideas; but in addition, consciousness can be ‘externalised’ in the form of verbal processes, capable of projecting locutions.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

One Of The Failings Of Cognitive Science

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 583-4):
The grammar of everyday discourse thus clearly points to the significance of interpersonal meaning in the way we construct ourselves — the self is not only construed but it is also enacted. Cognitive scientists, however, have derived their object of study, and their model of this object from the ideational perspective alone, failing to take the interpersonal perspective — that of enacting — into account.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Construing And Enacting The Self

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 583):
In the ideational mode we construe ourselves as conscious Sensers, while in the interpersonal mode we enact ourselves as speakers interacting with addressees; the metaphor [of modality] brings the two together in such a way that the ideational construal stands for the interpersonal enactment.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Interpersonal Metaphor & Constructing The Self

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 583):
A projection mental clause such as I (don’t) think, since ideationally it realises a figure of sensing, construes the speaker as ‘Senser at the time of speaking’ (it occurs metaphorically only in the present tense); at the same time, it enacts the speaker’s own ‘intrusion’ into the dialogue — his or her judgement about how much validity can be attached to the proposition contained in the projected clause. Interpersonal metaphor is thus the hinge between the ideational and the interpersonal modes of constructing the self.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Ontogenesis Of Construing Mental Projection

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 580):
Painter (1993) documents how one child first learned to construe mental projection: he began with figures in which he himself was the Senser. The system made it possible for him then to generalise his own experience of consciousness by construing other persons in the Senser rôle, as he built up a model in which this role could be occupied by any conscious (prototypically human) being.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Orders Of Semiotic Abstraction

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 579): 
… the idea clause is projected, as the “content of consciousness”, by the Senser involved in the process of sensing. The content is brought into existence by the sensing process, as actualised through the Senser; and it is construed as being of a higher order of semiotic abstraction than the process of sensing itself (ie it is always at one further remove from the instantial context).

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

‘Fact’ Clauses Are 'Idea' Projections But Clause Constituents

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 579):
… ‘fact’ clauses [are] those where the idea clause is a projection but it is not the accompanying mental clause that is doing the projecting; such ready–made projections do function as constituents.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Why Projected Clauses Are Not Clause Constituents

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 578-9):
In our analysis (unlike that of the mainstream grammatical tradition), the projected clause is not a constituent part of the mental or verbal clause by which it is projected. There are numerous reasons for this; some of them are grammatical — for example, it cannot be the focus of theme–predication … it cannot be the Subject of a passive mental clause … it is presumed by the substitute so, which is also used to presume conditional clauses in clause complexes … But these, in turn, reflect the semantic nature of projection: this is a relationship between two figures, not a device whereby one becomes a participant inside another.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Folk Model Of Consciousness

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 578): 
[A] figure of sensing is a configuration of a Process and the participant engaged in sensing, the Senser; that is, consciousness is construed as a complementarity of change through time and persistence through time — as a conscious participant involved in an unfolding process.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

How The Ideation Base Construes Consciousness

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 577): 
We have shown how the system of the ideation base construes consciousness: as conscious processing by a conscious being. Conscious processing can create a higher–order world of ideas (or, as we would say, meanings), comparable in certain respects to Popper’s World 3; this defines the essential distinction between projection and expansion as ways of relating one figure to another. Conscious processes themselves appear as the central figures in the construal of experience, and they are pivotal in differentiating among various types of participant. … Conscious processes are of two kinds: sensing, and saying.

Friday, 22 July 2016

What Reification Loses

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 575):
When they are reconstrued as things, processes lose their location in time and often also their participants …

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Reification Of Experience In Scientific English: 17th–19th C

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 575):
The most central aspect of the various changes that took place was the reification of experience — the grammatical metaphor whereby processes were construed as things.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 576):
This change in the grammar entailed a change in world view, towards a static, reified world — so much so that Bohm (1979) complains that language makes it hard to represent the kind of flux that modern physics likes to deal with. Bohm’s dissatisfaction is directed at language in general; but his real target is — or should be — the language of science. The everyday language of casual speech is, by and large, a language of flux, construing experience in much the way that Bohm seems to demand.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Scientific Models Embody A Metaphorical Construal Of Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 573-4):
… we can interpret folk models and scientific ones as co-existing varieties of the same basic system within the ideation base. In the first instance, we will, of course, be aware of them as differing in particular domains — eg as operating with different lexical semantic organisations; but they also tend to construe experience differently in general terms — scientific models tend to rely on grammatical metaphor and thus embody a metaphorical construal of experience …

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Folk Vs Scientific Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 573):
… folk models are part of the unconscious background of thinking in everyday situation types; they have evolved without any conscious design and are not associated with academic contexts. Folk models can also be more conscious, of course — these are the models that people talk about, that they believe they believe. Scientific models are consciously designed in more restricted situation types, usually with academic institutions, to serve as resources in reasoning about the world.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Functional Complementarity Of Folk & Scientific Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 572):
There will always be some complementarity of function between the more designed varieties and those that are naturally evolving. They may be allocated to different spheres of activity: for example, the language of bird–watchers vs the language of ornithologists. But in other cases the two are closely integrated as submotifs within a single sphere: for example, the use of both natural language and mathematical expressions side by side in the learning and practice of mathematics. This kind of interpenetration still entails a semiotic complementarity, but of a very sensitive kind, requiring a delicate interpretation of the context in order to bring it out.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Folk & Scientific Models Co–Evolving

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 572):
As designed semiotic systems emerge, both the registers of the everyday language and the original specialist registers continue to exist and develop; folk models of the world will co-exist along the scientific ones. A certain degree of intertranslatability is likely to be maintained — linguistic renderings of logical or mathematical formulas, for instance; and this constitutes one of the contexts in which ordinary language is brought into explicit contact with more scientific varieties.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Language & The Mind: Interpersonal & Textual Metafunctions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 569):
However, although they tend to be overlooked when one comes to build a ‘scientific’ model of language and the mind, these other metafunctions are no less important than the ideational.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Different Degrees Of Awareness Of Different Linguistic (Meta)Functions

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 569): 
In addition to the different degrees of awareness of different grammatical units, such as words and clauses, people are also not equally aware of the different kinds of functions in which the resources of language are organised. In particular, in constructing and reasoning about more conscious models, people are readily aware of those linguistic resources whose function it is to interpret and represent experience, those of the ideational metafunction; but they are less aware of those of the other two metafunctions, the interpersonal and the textual — no doubt because these do not embody representations of experience but reflect our engagement with the world in different ways.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Cryptogrammar Can Illuminate Cognitive Science

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 569):
It is the analysis of some of these more covert features embodied in the everyday grammar, in particular the theory of mental processes, that throws light on the domain of cognitive science.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 569):
Whorf (1956) distinguished between overt and covert categories and pointed out that covert categories were often also “cryptotypes” — categories whose meanings were complex and difficult to access. Many aspects of clause grammar, and of the grammar of clause complexes, are essentially cryptotypic.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Word As A Grammatical Rank

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568-9):
… the study of words varying in form according to their case, number, aspect, person etc. Word-based systems such as these do provide a way in to studying grammatical semantics: but the meanings they construe are always more complex than the categories that appear as formal variants, and grammarians have had to become aware of covert patterns.

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Word As Lexical Item Or “Lexeme”

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568):
This is construed as an isolate, a ‘thing’ that can be counted and put into alphabetical order. … The taxonomic organisation of vocabulary is less exposed …

Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Word

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568):
The folk notion of the “word” is really a conflation of two different abstractions, one lexical [lexical item] and one grammatical [word rank].

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Awareness Of Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568):
Certain aspects of language are closer to conscious awareness than others; these are the more exposed parts of language, which are also the parts that tend to get studied first. In Western thinking about language, the most exposed aspect of language has been the “word”: to talk is to “put things into words”.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Unawareness Of Models As Linguistic Constructs

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568):
Whatever the scope and sophistication of a model, however, we are likely to be more aware of a model as a cultural construct than as a linguistic construct, since language is typically further from our conscious attention.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Awareness Of Models As Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 568):
There is thus a range of variation from our everyday folk models to scientific models, with expert models somewhere coming in between (Linde, 1987). Such models vary considerably in the degree to which we are consciously aware of them as models. We are more aware of models that ‘stand out’ as belonging to a particular subculture than those that are part of our everyday repertoire; and we are more aware of scientific models than of folk models.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Folk Models Vs Scientific Models Of Experience

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 566-7): 
The everyday folk models are more likely to be embraced unconsciously by everybody in a culture, because they are everyday models, instantiated in casual conversation, and because they are construed as congruent in the cryptogrammar. The general model of the phenomena of our experience, including those of our own consciousness — seeing, thinking, wanting, and feeling — is of this highly generalised kind. 
In contrast, scientific models are much more contextually constrained: they are developed, maintained, changed and transmitted within those situation types that we associate with scientific language. … these situation types are quite restrained relative to the context of culture as a whole … In this respect, scientific models are clearly sub-cultural models: contextually they are located somewhere between the potential and the instance.
… an inherent property of instantiation is variation; and scientific models (like other subcultural models) vary one in relation to another. Sometimes they are complementary, sometimes they conflict.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Linguistic Meanings [Semantics] Vs Higher–Level Cultural Meanings [Context]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 566n):
‘Text’ or ‘discourse’ here has to be understood not just at the lowest level of abstraction in language as a realisation in speech and writing, but primarily as configurations of linguistic  [i.e. semantic] and higher–level cultural [i.e. contextual] meanings.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Locating Models Of Experience Instantially

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 566): 
At both these strata [context and semantics], models are also located along the cline of instantiation, running between the potential — the overall resources for making meaning, within the context of culture, and the instance — instantial ‘texts’ constituted of meanings that have been selected from this potential, within particular contexts of situation. The potential end of the cline of instantiation embodies all the contextual–semantic models that a culture embraces.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Locating Models Of Experience Stratally

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 565): 
Any given model of experience exists at different orders of abstraction. It is a configuration of higher–level meanings within the context of culture; at the same time, it is also construed semantically, in the ideation base. The relationship between these two orders of abstraction, contextual and semantic, is a stratal one; hence a model is a cultural construct that is construed in language (together with other language–dependent semiotic systems such as expository drawings and diagrams.)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Cognitive Science: Based Uncritically On The Folk Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 565):
Cognitive science operates with a scientific model of the individual mind; but, we shall suggest, it is one that is based fairly uncritically on certain aspects of the folk model, in particular in its selection of, and perspective on, its own domain of enquiry.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Cognitive Science Is A Metaphorical Extension Of The Folk Model

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 565):
we shall suggest that the domain of cognitive science is construed ideationally within the folk model; but that this model is extended metaphorically in cognitive science itself, and this extension in fact invites the interpretation of knowledge as meaning.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Ideation Base As A Conceptual Alternative To Mind, Knowledge, Cognition

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 565):
… we are offering the ideation base as a conceptual alternative [to] the mind, knowledge, cognition … the concerns of cognitive science.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Construing Theories Using The Ideation Base

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 565):
The ideation base, by dint of being polysystemic, accommodates variation along this cline, not only from folk to scientific but also across alternatives: it embodies both congruent and metaphorical construals of experience, and it provides elasticity within the overall construction space.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A Cline Between Folk And Scientific Theories

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 565):
As a resource for making sense of experience, the ideation base enables us to construe a range of different theories, commonsense as well as scientific. There is a cline between folk, or commonsense, theories and scientific, or uncommonsense, ones; and at any point along the cline alternative theories may be in competition.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Semantic Ideational Polysystemicity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 564):
To say that the ideational system is polysystemic means that it can support these different theoretical angles on experience: semantic variation of all kinds is the manifestation of the different theoretical interpretations that language places on experience.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Registerial Complementarity: Commonsense & Uncommonsense Models

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 564):
From an educational point of view, the most fundamental complementarity is the move from the registers of everyday life to the registers of education: this is a move from folk or commonsense models to “uncommonsense” models of systematic and technical knowledge.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Registerial Complementarity: Additive Vs Alternative

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 563) 
Now, just as the overall ideation base is a theory of our total experience of the world around us and inside us — the theory that is shared by the culture as a whole, so also the different registerial variants constitute different ‘subtheories’ of our experience. These ‘subtheories’ may complement one another by simply being concerned with different domains of experience … This complementarity is purely additive, although for society as a whole it constitutes the semiotic aspect of the division of labour, whereby different people construe different facets of the overall cultural experience. But such subtheories may also be concerned with more or less the same domain, bringing alternative perspectives on the construal of experience that is shared.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Domain Models [Defined]

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 563):
The overall ideation base thus comprises many different registerial variantsregister-specific systems that we called domain models.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Polysystemicity: Registerial Variation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 563):

In addition, the ideation base is polysystemic in another sense: registerial variation. We have seen that such variation can be construed in terms of the probabilistic nature of the linguistic system, as variation in the probabilities associated with terms in systems. Seen in this light, a register is a particular probabilistic setting of the system; and the move from one register to another is a re-setting of these probabilities.  What is globally the ‘same’ ideational semantic system can thus appear as a collection of different systems, as one [i.e. our viewpoint not the speakermoves along the cline of instantiation from potential to instance… .  As we noted above, the effect is quantitative; but it is also qualitative, in the sense that it provides different perspectives on experience within the same system.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Internal Complementarities: Indeterminacy Providing Polysystemicity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 563):
Such complementarities [metafunctional, fractal, systemic and metaphorical] constitute one form of indeterminacy of the system — one that allows it to be "polysystemic" in the particular sense of embodying more than one way of construing experience.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Internal Complementarity: Metaphorical

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 562)
… beyond its congruent mode, there is a metaphorical complementarity: the ideational model offers a complementarity between the congruent mode itself and the metaphorical mode, making it possible to take some phenomenon as already construed and then reconstrue it as if it was a phenomenon of a different kind.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Internal Complementarities: Systemic

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 562) 
… still in the congruent mode, there are systemic complementarities: the ideational potential offers systemic complementarities such as the ergative and transitive models of participation in processes, and the mass and count (singular/plural) models of quantity …

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Internal Complementarity: Fractal

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 562) 
… within this congruent mode, there is a fractal complementarity: the highly generalised semantic types of projection & expansion are manifested in complementary domains — those of sequences, figures, and participants; so that, for example, some phenomenon of experience construed as having temporal expansion might appear either as a sequence or a configuration …

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Internal Complementarity: Metafunctional

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 562)
… in the congruent mode of construing experience, there is a metafunctional complementarity: the ideational potential offers two complementary modes for construing experience — the highly generalised logical mode, with projection & expansion as the dominant semantic motifs, and the more particularised experiential mode, with its typology of processes, things, qualities, and circumstances …

Friday, 17 June 2016


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 562):
The ideational meaning potential embodies not one single semantic system but rather several such systems coexisting; in Firth’s terms, it is a “system of systems” — in two distinct but related ways [internal complementarities and registerial variation].

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Indeterminacy: Function And Variation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 561-2):
It seems likely that all these different kinds of indeterminacy are what make it possible for the grammar to offer a plausible construal of experience — one that is rich enough, yet fluid enough, for human beings to live with. We should stress once again that the examples cited here are features of the ideation base of one particular language, namely English. No other language will be identical. Indeed the distribution of indeterminacies is likely to be precisely one of the features in which languages differ most, and even perhaps varieties within one and the same language. But every language depends on indeterminacy as a resource for meaning — even if our grammatics is not yet very clever at teasing it out.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Indeterminacy: Having Things Both Ways

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 561):
There are of course many different contexts for all these indeterminacies, in different regions of the total semantic space. Certain types of ambiguity appear to be not so much artefacts of the realisation (not just grammatical puns, so to speak) but rather another kind of complementarity, where the grammar is as it were "having things both ways" — both interpretations have to be accepted at one and the same time. This is sometimes the case with Token + Value structures, in figures of being. These clauses are always ambiguous, if the verb is be, since this verb does not mark the passive; yet some depend on being interpreted both ways — particularly, perhaps, some proverbial sayings, Thus, one man's meat is another man's poison is both Token ^ Value 'what one person likes may displease another' and Value ^ Token 'what one person dislikes may please another'; contrast what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, which can be interpreted only as Token ^ Value.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Indeterminacy: Partial Neutralisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 560-1):
An intermediate degree of specificity, with partial neutralisation, can be seen in the non-finite clause with accompanying preposition, as in they get caught for taking bribes. What happens here is that the fact that there is a connection between the two figures is unequivocally construed by the dependency; but the nature of this connection — what kind of logical relationship is being set up — does not enter the picture.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Indeterminacy: Neutralisation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 560):
When two figures are linked into a sequence, by some logical semantic relation, there is a rather wide range of possible semantic relations between the two: the relations of time and of cause and condition are particularly elaborated in this respect, but there are others besides — the manner, the matter, and so on. The distinctions among these relationships, however, may be to a greater or lesser degree neutralised, where one clause is construed as dependent on the other; this happens as the dependent clause moves from finite to non-finite status. For example, in they get caught taking bribes the distinction that would be made in the agnate finite clause, among, say they get caught if they take bribes, they get caught when they take bribes, they get caught because they take bribes, is simply neutralised — it is not a blend of all three, nor is there any ambiguity involved.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Agency: Complementary Perspectives

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 559-60):
In those figures where there is a second direct participant, some form of agency runs through all the different types of process; but agency is such a complex aspect of human experience that the grammar does not delineate it by a single stroke, but construes it by means of a fundamental complementarity, that between the transitive and the ergative perspectives. Thus figures involving two direct participants, such as Actor + Goal in the material, are aligned along two different axes: the transitive one, based on the potential extension of force (mechanical energy) from a doer to another entity; and the ergative one, based on the potential introduction of agency (causal energy) from another entity as external source. Thus the earthquake shook the house is construed both as 'earthquake + shake' plus optional Goal 'house’, and as 'house + shake' plus optional Agent 'earthquake’. As always in cases of complementarity, certain parts of the region are more strongly aligned to one perspective, other parts to the other, but the total picture requires the confrontation of the two.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Process Type Indeterminacy: Overlap

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 559):
… the grammar distinguishes a number of types of process, material, mental, verbal and relational; the distinctions are made by a cluster of syntactic variables… . But since these variables "draw the line" at different places, there are areas of overlap, with mixed categories that share some characteristics with one group and some with another. We gave the example of behavioural processes; these are a mixed category, formed by the overlap of the material, on the one side, and the mental or verbal on the other. Behaving is construed as a type of figure that (like the mental) typically has a conscious participant as the central rôle, and does not extend beyond this to a second participant; but, on the other hand, it does not project, and it has a time frame like that of the material. Thus behavioural processes lie squarely athwart a fuzzy borderline.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Syntactic Variables Distinguishing Process Types

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 559) 
… the grammar distinguishes a number of types of process, material, mental, verbal and relational; the distinctions are made by a cluster of syntactic variables —
the valency of associated participant rôles,
the class of entity that takes on each rôle,
the potential for combining with other figures,
the associated tense systems and the like.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Modality Indeterminacy: Blending

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 558-9):
But at the opposite corner, so to speak, if we combine low value with oblique (remote), the result is typically blending rather than ambiguity: e.g. it couldn't hurt you to apologise is a blend of 'it would not be able to hurt you' (readiness: ability), 'it is unlikely that it would hurt you' (probability) and even perhaps 'it would not be allowed to hurt you' (obligation). In other words, looking at it from the point of view of blending, in the region of 'what I think’/ 'what is wanted', it is easiest to blend the low values 'what I can conceive of’ with 'what is permitted', especially in 'remote' conditions (hypothetical, projected or tentative) [realised as could, might]; and hardest to blend the high values 'what I am convinced of’ with 'what is required', especially when 'immediate' [realised as must].

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Modality Indeterminacy: Ambiguity

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 558):
There is a great deal of indeterminacy throughout the region; but it is of more than one kind. At one "corner", if we combine value with neutral (immediate), then the resulting wordings are ambiguous, as to the type of modality expressed: thus must has three clearly distinct meanings, (a) as probability (e.g. that must be Mary 'certainly that is Mary'), (b) as obligation (e.g. you must wear a helmet 'it is essential that you wear a helmet'), (c) as readiness: inclination (e.g. if you must make all that noise 'if you insist on making all that noise). That these are truly ambiguous can be gathered from an example such as she must complain, which has to be interpreted in one or another of these different meanings — the context will of course usually make it clear which;

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 558):
Modality, the speaker's angle on what is or what should be, is notoriously fluid and shifting in its categories, probably in every language. In English, there is a fairly clearly defined semantic region construed at the intersection of a number of grammatical systems, including (1) type: probability / usuality // obligation / readiness: inclination / ability; (2) value: median // high / low; (3) orientation: objective / subjective; (4) immediacy: immediate (neutral) / remote (oblique); (5) polarity: positive / negative; and one or two others. These are realised synthetically in various ways, one of which is by the modal finite operators can, could, may, might, will, would, should, must, ought-to (and one or two other fringe members).

Monday, 6 June 2016

A Third Significance Of Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 557):
But, thirdly, within the overall construction of experience, the diversity of spheres of social action is realised by variation in the line-up of semantic features — that is, by variation in register. The probabilities are reset; and in some cases one or two "critical systems" are strongly affected in this way, such that the local norm skews the system, or perhaps even reverses the skewing set up by the global norm. It is here that we find future taking over as the unmarked primary tense in weather forecasting. As we said above, we define register variation in just these terms, as the ongoing resetting of probabilities in the lexicogrammar, which then functions to construe the ongoing variation at the level of the social process.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

A Second Significance Of Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 557)
Secondly, systems have varying probability profiles, so that (in terms of information theory) they carry differential loads of information: the skewer the probabilities of the terms in a system, the greater the redundancy that it carries — hence the less we need to attend to its unmarked state.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Foremost Significance Of Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 557) 
How would we summarise the significance of indeterminacy, from the point of view of the semantic construal of experience? It lies first and foremost, perhaps, in the general principle that is being proclaimed, if indeterminacy is a typical and unremarkable feature of the grammar: that 'this is the way things are’. Our “reality” is inherently messy; it would be hard to construe experience, in a way that was beneficial to survival, with a semiotic system whose typical categories were well-defined, clearly bounded, and ordered by certainty rather than probability. This is the problem with designed systems, including semiotic ones: as a rule, they fail to provide adequately for mess.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Partial Association Between Systems

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 556):
… when choice is made in two systems simultaneously, such that each serves as the environment for the other, there is often a conditioning effect on the probabilities. This may be an indication of a change in progress, or it may be a stable feature of the overall system.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Language As A Probabilistic System

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 555)
Synchronically (that is, viewed synoptically in this way as a meaning potential) a language is, as we have said, a probabilistic system: if we say that, in the grammar, there is a system of primary tenses past/ present/ future, we assume the rider 'with a certain probability attached to them’. But we do not, of course, speak or write with one grammatical system at a time. Systems intersect with each other simultaneously (we choose tense along with voice, polarity, mood, transitivity and so on), and they follow each other in linear succession (we choose tense in clause 1, again in clause 2, again in clause 3 and so on). Each instance has its environment, both of previous instances, and of simultaneous instances of systems with their own sets of probabilities.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Phylogenesis: The "Hamlet Factor"

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 555)
At the “instance” end, a single highly–valued instance may exert a disproportionate effect: quotations from the Bible and from Shakespeare are familiar triggers of this “Hamlet factor” in English … But such qualitative effects take place against a background of microscopic quantitative pressures, the sort of nanosemiotic processes by which a language is ongoingly restructured as potential out of the innumerable instantial encounters of daily life — the “sheer weight of numbers”, as we sometimes call it.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Difference Between System And Instance

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 555)
… what we call “system” and “instance” are one and the same phenomenon, being observed from different depths in time.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Phylogenesis: Changing System Probabilities

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 555) 
Historical change in language is typically a quantitative process, in which probabilities in systems at every level are gradually nudged in one direction or another, now and again becoming categorical so that some systemic upheaval takes place. Each instantiation of a tense form, say, whenever someone is speaking or writing in English, minutely perturbs the probabilities of the system …

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Register Variation: The Resetting Of Lexicogrammatical and Semantic System Probabilities

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 554) 
We can in fact define register variation as the resetting of probabilities in the lexicogrammatical and semantic systems …. 

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 557) 
… we define register variation as the ongoing resetting of probabilities in the lexicogrammar, which then functions to construe the ongoing variation at the level of the social process.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Register Variation Realises Context Variation

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 554) 
… variation in register: the way in which meaning selections in texts tend to vary systematically with their contextual function — their value in the social process.
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 557) 
… the diversity of spheres of social action is realised by variation in the line-up of semantic features — that is, by variation in register

Friday, 27 May 2016

Frequency In The Text As The Manifestation Of Probability In The System

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 552-3):
We have sometimes referred to the relative frequency of a particular feature of the grammar. For instance, in our two examples of the meaning base as a resource in language processing, certain patterns characteristically recurred: future tense in the weather forecasts, imperative mood in the recipes. In each case this was a special feature pertaining to the register in question: in weather forecasts, the future tense is especially frequent relative to the other primary tenses. To say this means that there is a general expectancy in English discourse that, again relative to the other primary tenses, future will occur less frequently than it does here. In other words, there is some global expectation, in the grammar of English, about the relative frequency of the different terms in the primary tense system, past, present and future. Similarly there is some global expectation about the relative frequency of imperative and indicative mood. Frequency in the text is to be interpreted, therefore, as the manifestation of underlying probability in the system.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Global Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 552):
Local indeterminacies of all these types are found in all regions of the content plane, either within one stratum or at the interface between one stratum and another (including of course puns, which are formed at the interface of content and expression). Some of them involve very general categories, and hence resonate across wide stretches of semantic space, like the transitive/ergative complementarity. We may call them "local", however, in contrast to one global form of indeterminacy which is a feature of the entire system of language, and probably of any evolved semiotic system, namely its probabilistic character.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Indeterminacy Through Overlap: Behavioural Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 551):
Behavioural processes such as listen, watch share some features with material processes ('present-in-present' as unmarked tense; no projection), other features with mental processes (the Medium/Behaver is a conscious being). They lie on the borderline between 'doing' and 'sensing’ (so can be re-iterated as do in some contexts but not in all).

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Five Basic Types Of Indeterminacy In The Ideation Base

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 549):
(1) ambiguities (‘either a or x’): one form of wording construes two distinct meanings, each of which is exclusive of the other.
(2) blends (‘both b and y’): one form of wording construes two different meanings, both of which are blended into a single whole.
(3) overlaps (‘partly c, partly z’): two categories overlap so that certain members display features of each.
(4) neutralisations: in certain contexts, the difference between two categories disappears.
(5) complementarities: certain semantic features or domains are construed in two contradictory ways.

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Reason For Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 548):
We have tried to make the point that the human condition is such that no singulary, determinate construction of experience would enable us to survive. We have to be able to see things in indeterminate ways: now this, now that, partly one thing, partly the other — the transitivity system is a paradigm example, and that lies at the core of the experiential component of grammar.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Why The Mainstream Grammatical Tradition Treats Indeterminacy As The Exception

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 548-9):
But even non-metaphorical forms of writing construe with greater determinacy. We may cite two very pervasive distinctions between spoken and written discourse. On the one hand, writing construes the text into clear-cut constituents, marked off by spacing and other forms of punctuation; in spoken language there are no clear beginnings and endings in the expression (we cannot refer to pauses, since they tend to occur at transition points before something that is less predictable; pauses seldom mark the text's grammatical boundaries). On the other hand, many interpersonal and textual systems are realised in speech by intonation, and most intonation contrasts are gradual rather than categorical. Thus both syntagmatically and paradigmatically written language tends towards greater determinacy; hence our received model of language, in the mainstream grammatical tradition, emphasises clear-cut constituents and classes. Not that it has no tolerance at all for mixed and intermediate categories; but it treats them as the exception, not the norm.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Grammatical Metaphor Privileges Order

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 548): 
Grammatical metaphor objectifies our experience, transforming its being and happening into things; in so doing, it privileges order, since experience can now be categorised into classes and hierarchies of classes, which are significantly more determinate than the processes and properties favoured by the grammar in its congruent form.

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Greater Appearance Of Order In Written Language

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 548):
The immediate appearance of order in written language — the fact that it is presented to us in neat blocks and rows upon a page (or the equivalent, in other forms of technology), whereas speech is notorious for its hesitations, false starts, backtracking, clearing of the throat and whatever — is simply a consequence of the fact that we do not display its history: we leave out the provisional attempts and early drafts, and "publish" only the finished product. When analogous measures are taken with spoken language there is no significant difference between the two: speech is just as orderly as writing (cf. Halliday, 1985/9).