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Applying Systemic Functional Syntax to the Analysis of Texts Robin P. Fawcett Centre for Language and Communication Research Cardiff University. Which part of the overall architecture of language and its use will we be using for this workshop? Answer: the lexicogrammar.
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Applying Systemic Functional Syntax to the Analysis of Texts Robin P. Fawcett Centre for Language and Communication Research Cardiff University
Which part of the overall architecture of language and its use will we be using for this workshop? • Answer: the lexicogrammar. • Where is this located in the overall model?
Look at the following figure: • (from: Fawcett, Robin P., 2011a. Alternative Architectures for Systemic Functional Linguistics: How do we choose? London: Equinox.)
Or, in the standard diagram of a working SFG: • Which part of this will we be using? This
More about the level of form • the intersection of form and potential = ‘form potential’ • (parallel to Halliday’s ‘meaning potential’) • What does it contain? • the realization component, i.e. a set of realization rules (‘statements’) • Their function: to specify how meanings (from the system network) are realized.
So: How are meanings realized?In what form - or forms? • (This answer is different from the Sydney Grammar’s.) • In spoken discourse: • as items + syntax + INTONATION • In written discourse: • as items + syntax + PUNCTUATION • Items are then SPECIFIED - not ‘realized’, NLG has shown - in spoken discourse through segmental phonology in written discourse through orthography • Note 1: we get different views of ‘phonology’ ‘from below’ and ‘from above’. • Note 2: Chinese is different.
Here we shall focus mainly on • syntax and items - • and especially on • syntax
The main theoretical categories of syntax • for SFL • From: Fawcett, Robin P., 2008a. Invitation to Systemic Functional Linguistics through the Cardiff Grammar: an extension and simplification of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar (Third Edition). London: Equinox. • Handout 1
Some key characteristics of • the CG model of functional syntax • How shall we approach these? • Two possibilities – you choose! • EITHER • via considering the extensions to and simplifications of Halliday’s SFG (next slidw) • OR • via a crash course based on the teaching sequence • (to Slide 48) • THEN • 1 Introduction to the suggested method of analysis • 2 Analysis of texts – joint work on demo, yours and/or mine!
Answer: Via the subtitle of Invitation – whichis: • an extension and simplification of • Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar • In my earlier lecture about the Cardiff Grammar, I described the factors that have led to its continuing development to the present - but not the improvements themselves - i.e. not the aspects of the Cardiff Grammar that differentiate it from the Sydney Grammar. • I shall now introduce you to the main improvements that differentiate its functional syntax from the functional structures used in the SG, by briefly listing these extensions and simplifications.
Simplifications • (making the Cardiff Grammar easier to learn and to use) • The Cardiff uses just one diagram to show the functional syntax of a clause, not the seven lines of boxes (and sometimes more) used in the “silver” text’ on pages 368-85 of IFG2) to show the different structures that are used in Halliday’s ‘multiple rows of boxes’ analysis. • This one diagram provides the answer to the following question about the diagrams in IFG (left unanswered in IFG): • ‘How do the various structures (as shown in diagrams such as those used in the analysis of ‘The “silver” text’) get mapped onto each other to form a single, integrated structure?’ • As an example of the nearest equivalent to doing this in the CG, consider the following diagram:
The Cardiff Grammar shows the text analyst how to relate the lower units in a tree diagram to the higher units, e.g. a nominal group to a clause - as we shall now see. • This is the concept of filling, in which a unit fills an element of a higher unit. • Yet in IFG there is no example of how this should be done - not even a verbal description. • Consider the following example:
In the Cardiff Grammar, there is only one Main Verb (M) per clause. • The nearest equivalent term in IFG to ‘Main Verb’ is ‘event’ - the element of the ‘verbal group’ that is expounded by a lexical verb. • And, since Halliday allows TWO or more ‘verbal groups’ (typically related by ‘hypotaxis’) to fill his clause element of ‘Predicator’, he would allow two or more Ms. • In the SG there may even be two Ms that are separated by a nominal group. • For examples, see pp. 278-91 of Halliday 1994. • For a critique of the IFG account, see Fawcett 2003b.
The Main Verb is a direct element of the clause. • It is the Main Verb that ‘expects’ a given number of PRs, and so is needed to help us to predict the number of Complements. So the natural place for a M is as an element of the clause - NOT the ‘verbal group’. • For equally strong functional reasons, the Operator (O), the Negator (N), the various Auxiliary Verbs (X), their Extensions (XEx) and the Main Verb Extension (MEx) are also all treated as direct elements of the clause. • Simpler without P and the vgp? Yes, in many ways. • AND there are usually no more than two such elements in any one clause. • (See Fawcett 2000b & 2000c.)
Both the meaning of the Subject and the test for identifying the Subject relate solely to basic MOOD meanings • (as was the case in Halliday’s earlier writings). • The part of its meaning of ‘what this clause is about’ (only relevant when it has a referent) is regarded here as a type of ‘Theme’ - the clause’s Subject Theme. (See Fawcett 1999.)
The tests for distinguishing a Complement from an Adjunct are clear, and they are based on explicitly functional criteria. • (See Fawcett 2008a.)
There are many simplifications within the grammar of TRANSITIVITY, e.g. • (i) the overall grammar of relational Processes such as ‘being’ (see Fawcett 1987) is far simpler than it is in IFG; • (ii) there are tests for all PRs, and • (iii) the double analysis of many clauses provided in IFG (one from a ‘transitive’ and one from an ‘ergative’ viewpoint) is seen as an unnecessary complication.
8 Halliday’s concept of ‘hypotaxis’ is handled neatly as embedding, • i.e. as a unit that fills an element of another unit. • Thus a ‘reported speech’ clause is simply treated as an embedded clause that fills a Complement/Phenomenon. • For a critique of ‘hypotaxis’ and some of Halliday’s types of ‘parataxis’, see Footnote 78 in Invitation and the references given there.
9 Many of the phenomena that Halliday describes as types of ‘grammatical metaphor’ are treated here as being directly analyzable in terms of the existing options in the semantic system networks, • and so as not requiring the ‘double analysis’ that Halliday gives them (e.g. as in the analyses of ‘The “silver” text’ on pages 368-85 of IFG2). • The incongruence of other types is handled in other ways, using higher components of the Cardiff Model of ‘language in use’. (For these, see my Alternative Architectures for Systemic Functional Linguistics)
Extensions • (making the Cardiff Grammar more comprehensive) • The Main Verb Extension(MEx)is recognized as a major element in the syntax of the clause, • as is the Main Verb (M), • rather than being treated as just another type of ‘Adjunct’, as in IFG.
The Cardiff Grammar recognizes many more types of AuxiliaryVerb (X). • Six of them co-occur with • Auxiliary Extensions (XEx). • Through these, it provides solutions for many problems in all theories of syntax. • See Section 14.3 of Chapter 14 in Invitation.
The Cardiff Grammar has a far fuller coverage than IFG of units other than the clause. • (i) It greatly extends the nominal group (especially in the determiners) through the concept of ‘selection’ (Fawcett 2007b). • (ii) It introduces the new syntactic units of the quality group(for which see Tucker 1997), the quantity groupand several types of cluster. • For introductory summaries of all these classes of groups and for one class of cluster, see the second handout.
4 The Cardiff Grammar provides for a wide range of types of embedded clauses, e.g. clauses embedded as Complements(as in Figure 17-1)and Adjuncts.
The element Binder (B) is an element in its own right in the Cardiff Grammar. • It is mentioned in IFG2 (p. 214) as a type of ‘adverbial’, but it is left unanalyzed in all actual examples (e.g. if and that on p. 367).
The MOOD network has been semanticized, • and so greatly extended, • having features such as ‘information giver’, ‘polarity seeker’, ‘confirmation seeker’ etc. • In this it largely parallels the earlier ‘semanticization’ of TRANSITIVITY, in both the SG and the CG. • See the following simplified MOOD network (from Invitation)
The Cardiff Grammar extends the coverage found in IFG by providing descriptions of the units needed to model: • (i) compound nouns, • (ii) proper names, • (iii) other types of name, • (iv) addresses, • (v) dates, • (vi) clock time, • (vii) cardinal numbers, • (viii) telephone numbers.
The key tools • for analyzing the functional syntax of texts • Handout 2 • Note: where it is taken from (3 places, in fact) • the Key • the clause • the unit itself • the many elements it may fill • the ‘filling probabilities’ for each element • the elements of the clause (not all, see the notes) • examples of units and items that expound the elements
Then also familiarize yourself with the rest of Handout 2: • the nominal group • the prepositional group • the quality group • the quantity group • the genitive cluster • the text (simplified) • For the structures of other clusters, see Fawcett 2008d of the bibliography.
See Handout 3 • From Invitation • The procedure for clause analysis: a summary • 0 Preparation: make the clause an ‘information giver’ that is • ‘positive’, and replace wh-items by someone, etc. • 1 Find the Process, and so the Main Verb M • or M + Main Verb Extension(s) M + MEx • or M + preposition M + p (inside C) • or M + Main Verb Extension + preposition. M + MEx + p • 2 Left of M, find any Auxiliaries (if used) X, X, X • 3 Right of each X, find any Auxiliary Extension, • if used, plus any associated Infinitives XEx + I • 4 Left of X, find any other Infinitive (if used) I • 5 Left of I, find the Negator (if used). N
6 Left of N, find the Operator (if used). O • 7 Left or right of O, find the Subject. S • S may contain a wh-item. • If S is covert, place it in brackets. (S) • 8 Find the Let element (if used). L • Find all PRs. S is probably one; • any other PR is a Complement. C, C • If a C contains a wh-item, expect it to the left. • If a C is covert, place it in brackets. (C) • Find any Adjuncts. A, A ... • If an A contains a wh-item, expect it to the left. • 11 Find the Vocative (if used) V • 12 Find the Ender (if used). E
Next: • A demonstration of • the analysis of a complex text-sentence • Keep Handout 3 handy, because you will need consult the useful tests in the next part of the workshop. • See Handout 4: • Stages in analyzing a complex text-sentence
Identify the Processes • Ivy wishes that they went out more often, but Ike prefers to watch football on TV. • 2. Make a rough first pencil sketch of the Processes and their clauses.
4. Incorporate these in a first pencil sketch of the overall structure.
From now on, the guidelines apply to each clause • (so do everything four times in the present example). • 1. Using the Process and PR Test, check again the Participant Roles (PRs) for each clause, looking especially for covert PRs.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Check for any Auxiliary Verbs (X), Auxiliary Extensions (XEx), Infinitive Elements (I), Negator (N), Operator (O) – and then use the to confirm the Subject (S).
8. Find the Let Element (L), as in Let’sall do it (if used). • 9. If in doubt about whether a possible Complement is a PR and so a C, use the C or A Test to check; and also re-check for any covert Cs, using the Process and PR Test.
10. Find any Adjuncts. Confirm them by using the Adjunct Place-change Test. • Find any other clause elements, e.g. a Vocative (V). • 12. Analyze any nominal groups (5 in this example), prepositional groups (1), quality groups (1), quantity groups (0) and any clusters (2: Ivy and Ike).
Next: joint analysis of the “shower” text. • Then: any texts which cause problems? • (invitation in the abstract). • And/or: some typical texts of our time: advert for pizzas.
Introducing TRANSITIVITY and MOOD: • a simple example • Context of situation: Paula is teaching her eight-year-old nephew Adam how to cook a delicious vegetable dish. • Paula: And what do you think we are going to do next? We shall simmer them gently. For about ten minutes. • Our example: We shall simmer them gently.
The multifunctional principle • Every clause serves several different functions at the same time. • How? • By mapping several different ‘strands of meaning’ • into a single two-dimensional structure • This is composed of: • a unit, its elements, and the items that ‘expound’ the elements. • (an example very soon!) • ‘Several’ = 3 or 4 in Halliday’s verbal descriptions, but up to 7 or 8 in ‘The “silver” text’. • In the Cardiff Grammar: 8 major strands (+ 2 minor strands).