Wednesday, 13 December 2017

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Why ‘Operative’ & ‘Receptive’?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227n):
It is helpful to make a terminological distinction between the voice contrast of the clause — operative/receptive, and the voice contrast of the verbal group — passive/active.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Clause Voice: Operative Vs Receptive

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227):
if there is a Goal of the process, as well as an Actor, the representation may come in either of two forms: either operative (active) … or receptive (passive) … The contrast between ‘operative’ and ‘receptive’ is a contrast in voice open to ‘transitive’ clauses.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Why Ranked Constituency?

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227n):
… the model we use is one of ranked constituency, where the clause and the verb constitute different ranking domains. One of the reasons for preferring the ranked constituency model is precisely the need to differentiate the clause as the domain of transitivity and the verb, or rather verbal group, as the domain of tense and other purely verbal systems.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Concepts Of In/Transitivity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 227):
… in English and in many other languages — perhaps all, these concepts relate more appropriately to the clause than the verb. Transitivity is a system of the clause, affecting not only the verb serving as Process, but also participants and circumstances.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Goal: Extension

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 226):
… another term that has been used for this function is Patient, meaning one that ‘suffers’ or ‘undergoes’ the process. … the relevant concept is more like that of ‘one to which the process is extended’. The concept of extension is in fact the one that is embodied in the classical terminology of ‘transitive’ [‘going through’] and ‘intransitive’ [‘not going through’], from which the term ‘transitivity’ is derived.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Goal (Of Impact)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 226, 226n):
Note that ‘Goal’ refers to the goal of impact — the participant construed as being impacted by the Actor’s performance of the process (this term is also used by Dik, 1978: 37, in his framework of ‘Functional Grammar’: ‘the entity to which the Action is applied by the Agent’). This sense of the goal of impact is distinct from (though obviously ultimately related to) the sense of destination — the destination of a process of motion, as in the goal of a journey.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Happening (Intransitive) Vs Doing (Transitive)

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225-6):
[The Actor] brings about the unfolding of the process through time, leading to an outcome that is different from the initial phase of the unfolding. This outcome may be confined to the Actor itself, in which case there is only one participant inherent in the process. Such a ‘material’ clause represents a happening and, using traditional terminology, we can call it intransitive. Alternatively, the unfolding of the process may extend to another participant, the Goal, impacting it in some way: the outcome is registered on the Goal in the first instance, rather than on the Actor. Such a ‘material’ clause represents a doing and we can call it transitive.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Different Way Material Processes Unfold Through Time

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225, 225n):
Processes of all types unfold through time; but the way the process unfolds may vary from one process type to another. In particular, processes of the ‘material’ type tend to differ from all other types (with the partial exception of ‘behavioural’ processes …), and this is seen in how present time is reported. The unmarked tense selection is the present–in–present (e.g. is doing) rather than the simple present (e.g. does) … 
The present–in–present serves to narrow down the present from the extended now of habits and ‘general truths’ that is characteristic of the simple present with ‘material’ clauses … 
The narrowing–down effect of the present–in–present is not brought out by the names most commonly used for this tense — the ‘present progressive’, or the ‘present continuous’.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Actor Vs Subject

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225):
… Actor and Subject are distinct in a ‘passive’ — or ‘receptive’ — clause … Here the Actor is not interpersonally ‘charged’ with the rôle of Subject, but is rather given the lower status of Adjunct and can thus be left out … We therefore have to be careful to distinguish the experiential notion of ‘the one doing the deed’ (or ‘the one bringing about the change’) from the interpersonal notion of ‘the one held modally responsible’ (or ‘the one given the status of the nub of the argument’).

Monday, 4 December 2017

Actor Vs Agent

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 225n):
The ‘Actor’ of a ‘material’ clause (Halliday, 1967/8) is distinct from the ‘Agent’ of an ‘effective’ clause … the two represent different generalisations about the experiential organisation of the clause. There is considerable variation in the use of the terms ‘agent’ and ‘actor’ in linguistics. For example, Dik (1978: 37) uses ‘agent’ (paired with ‘goal’) in a sense that is close to our ‘actor’, whereas Foley & van Valin (1984: 29ff) use ‘actor’ (paired with ‘undergoer’) in a sense that is closer to our ‘agent’.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Material Clauses: Actor

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 224-5):
… ‘material’ clauses are clauses of doing–&–happening: a ‘material’ clause construes a quantum of change in the flow of events as taking place through some input of energy. … the source of the energy bringing about the change is typically a participant — the Actor … the ‘logical Subject’ of older terminology. The Actor is the one who does the deed — that is, the one that brings about the change.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Process, Participant And Circumstance

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 224):
The concepts of process, participant and circumstance are semantic categories which explain in the most general way how phenomena of our experience of the world are construed as linguistic structures.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Transient Processes And Permanent Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 223-4):
Change is thus construed as involving both transience and permanence, and the phenomena of experience are construed either as transient processes or as permanent participants. The border between these two is indeterminate; the lexicogrammar of every language will allow considerable discretion in how phenomena are treated in discourse, and lexicogrammars of different languages draw the borderline in different places. … This is an area of considerable fluidity; but most phenomena are treated as either as process or participant, and have to be reconstrued metaphorically to change their status in the grammar …

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Construing Change: Transience And Permanence

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 223):
The contrast [between participants and processes] is also reflected in in the organisation of nominal groups and verbal groups in two ways: while nominal groups have evolved the system of determination for locating referents in a referential space, verbal groups have evolved the system of tense for locating a unique occurrence of a process in time.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Construing Change: Transience And Permanence

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 222-3):
The units that realise the process, participant, and circumstance elements of the clause make distinct contributions to the modelling of a quantum of change. The elements that make up the ‘centre’ of the clause – the process and the participants involved in it – construe complementary facets of the change. These two facets are transience and permanence. Transience means that a phenomenon is construed as unfolding through time by a verbal group serving as the process. Permanence means that a phenomenon is construed as continuous through time, being located in (concrete or abstract) space, by nominal groups serving as participants. Thus participants are construed as being relatively stable through time, and an instance of a participant can take part in many processes … In contrast, processes are ephemeral; every instance is a unique occurrence …
This contrast between participants and processes explains why there are names of individual participants — ‘proper names’, as well as names of classes of participants — ‘common nouns’, but only names of classes of processes: all lexical verbs are ‘common’ verbs.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Processes, Participants And Circumstances

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 221):
This tripartite interpretation of figures … is what lies behind the grammatical distinction of word classes into verbs, nouns and the rest, a pattern that in some form is probably universal among human languages.

Monday, 27 November 2017

‘The Difference In Status Between Participants And Circumstances’

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 221):
One way of looking at the situation is this. The process is the most central element in the configuration. Participants are close to the centre; they are directly involved in the process, bringing about its occurrence or being affected by it in some way … and we can say that the configuration of process + participants constitutes the experiential centre of the clause. Circumstantial elements augment this centre in some way — temporally, spatially, causally and so on; but their status in the configuration is more peripheral and unlike participants they are not directly involved in the process.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Circumstances vs Participants

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 220):
Circumstantial elements are almost always optional augmentations of the clause rather than obligatory components. In contrast, participants are inherent in the process: every experiential type of clause has at least one participant and certain types have up to three participants – the only exception being, as just noted above, clauses of certain meteorological processes without any participants …

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Semantic Figure As Construed By Clause Transitivity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 220):
A figure consists, in principle, of three components:
  1. a process unfolding through time
  2. the participants involved in the process
  3. circumstances associated with the process.
These are organised in configurations that provide the models or schemata for construing our experience of what goes on.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Process Type And Instantial & Registerial Variation

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 218-9):
Part of the ‘flavour’ of a particular text, and also of the register that it belongs to, lies in its mixture of process types. For example, in enabling contexts, recipes and other procedural texts are almost entirely ‘material’, whereas, in reporting contexts, ‘verbal’ clauses play an important role in news reports and, in sharing contexts, ‘mental’ clauses are a typical motif in casual conversation. The mixture of process types characteristic of a text belonging to a particular register typically changes in the course of unfolding of the text.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Terms In Systems Represent Fuzzy Sets

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 218n):
Systemic terms are not Aristotelian categories. Rather they are fuzzy categories; they can be thought of as representing fuzzy sets rather than ‘crisp’ ones …

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

All System Networks Construe A Continuous Semiotic Space


Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 218):
Like all system networks, this [process typenetwork construes a continuous semiotic space.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Principle Of Systemic Indeterminacy

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 217, 218):
The world of our experience is highly indeterminate; and this is precisely how the grammar construes it in the system of process type. Thus, one and the same text may offer alternative models of what would appear to be the same domain of experience, construing for example the domain of emotion both as a process in a ‘mental’ clause … and as a participant in a ‘relational’ one …
Emotion is one of a number of experiential domains that are construed in more than one way by the grammar of transitivity. Such domains are experientially difficult to come to terms with, and the grammar solves the problem by offering complementary models for construing them.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Process Type As Continuous Semiotic Space: Core & Peripheral Areas

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 216):
The regions have core areas and these represent prototypical members of the process types; but the regions are continuous, shading into one another, and these border areas represent the fact that the process types are fuzzy categories.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Process Types: Ordering

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 216):
There is no priority of one kind of process over another. But they are ordered; and what is important is that, in our concrete visual metaphor, they form a circle and not a line. (More accurately still … a sphere … .) That is to say, our model of experience, as interpreted through the grammatical system of transitivity, is one of regions within a continuous space; but the continuity is not between two poles, it is round in a loop.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Material Processes And In/Transitive Verbs

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 216):
They have, for example, been the source of the traditional distinction between ‘transitive’ and ‘intransitive’ verbs.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Process Type Variation Across Languages

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215n):
The minor process types appear to vary more across languages than the major ones. For example, in certain languages (English being one of them), existential clauses appear as a distinct type, but in other languages they may be very close to possessive and/or locative relational clauses.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Existential Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
And on the borderline between the ‘relational’ and the ‘material’ are the processes concerned with existence, the existential, by which phenomena of all kinds are simply recognised to ‘be’ — to exist or to happen …

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Verbal Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
On the borderline between ‘mental’ and ‘relational’ are the verbal processes: symbolic relationships constructed in human consciousness and enacted in the form of language, like saying and meaning …

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Behavioural Processes

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
On the borderline between ‘material’ and ‘mental’ are the behavioural processes: those that represent the outer manifestations of inner workings, the acting out of processes of consciousness and physiological states.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Subsidiary Process Types: Behavioural, Verbal & Existential

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 215):
Material, mental and relational are the main types of process in the English transitivity system. But we also find further categories at the three boundaries; not so clearly set apart, but nevertheless recognisable in the grammar as intermediate between the different pairs — sharing some features of each, and thus acquiring a character of their own.