Friday, 20 September 2019

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N.B. The chief proponents of the Cardiff Grammar are in the United Kingdom and China

On The Surprising Disquieting Difference Between IFG And Systemic Theory

Fawcett (2010: 95):
In this chapter, like the last, the task is to summarise the "basic concepts" presented in a major recent work by Halliday. This time the work is IFG (using the 1994 edition). Surprisingly, perhaps, we shall find it quite difficult to establish the theoretical concepts that underlie the description of English structure given in IFG. And then, when we have identified them, we shall find a disquieting difference between these "basic concepts" and those that we found in "Systemic theory". This in turn raises questions about the relationships between IFG and "Systemic theory" and between IFG and "Categories", and so about how far the Sydney Grammar can be said to have a theory of syntax
We saw in the last chapter that "Systemic theory" does not include in its list of "basic concepts" three of the four most central concepts from "Categories", i.e., 'unit', 'class (of unit)' and 'element (of structure)'. Moreover, it either omits or re-works each of the three 'scales'. Do the concepts of "Categories" fare any better in IFG ?

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, given the preceding, it is not at all surprising that Fawcett also finds this task difficult.

[2] This is misleading. As will be seen in the course of this chapter review, the "disquieting differences" that Fawcett finds arise only from his own misunderstandings of Halliday's theory.

[3] To be clear, as Fawcett has previously acknowledged, Systemic Functional Grammar (IFG) and Scale and Category Grammar ("Categories") are different theories.  There is no reason why a newer theory (e.g. Quantum Mechanics) should be consistent with the theory it replaced (e.g. Newtonian Mechanics).  The differences in the newer theory are motivated by deficiencies in the superseded theory.  In terms of logical fallacies, the reference to the superseded theory constitutes the fallacy of reference known as a red herring.

[4] To be clear, SFL Theory ("the Sydney Grammar") does not "have" a theory of syntax.  It is Fawcett who has a theory of syntax.  A theory of syntax prioritises structure and form, whereas SFL theory prioritises system and function.  SFL theory models grammatical form as a rank scale, with each rank as an entry condition for a system of functions.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday As Illogical In A Footnote


Fawcett (2010: 94n):
Interestingly, the lack of a specification of a theory of 'instances of syntax' in "Systemic theory" cannot be the result of a general decision by Halliday to exclude any account of instances, because there is a short paragraph that describes the nature of instances at the level of meaning (i.e., the concept of a 'selection expression'). It would therefore have been logical if Halliday had also included an account of the theory of instances at the level of form. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, the notion of 'instances at the level of form' is not in Halliday's model, because it is Fawcett's confusion of instance with structure, as previously demonstrated.

[2] To be clear, Halliday (1995 [1993]: 273) clarifies the meaning of 'instances' as follows:
But in systemic theory, realisation is held distinct from 'instantiation,' which is the relation between the semiotic system (the 'meaning potential') and the observable events, or 'acts of meaning,' by which the system is constituted.
[3] This is misleading in at least three ways. Firstly, 'selection expression' is exemplified in Halliday (1995 [1993]: 273) in terms of the grammar (clause):
The selection expression constitutes the grammar's description of the item (e.g., the particular clause so specified);
Secondly, 'selection expressions' figure on all strata in Halliday's model because all strata are modelled as systems.  It is only Fawcett's model that confines systems to the level of meaning.

Thirdly, 'selection expressions' are not confined to the instance pole of the cline of instantiation, since they specify units as potential as well as instance, for example, a mental clause as potential or as instantiated in text.

[4] It would therefore not have been logical.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Source Of Fawcett's Confusion Between Axial Realisation And Instantiation

Fawcett (2010: 94):
However, the specific 'realisation rules' in each of the two versions are capable of being used to generate different types of structural output — and it is in the part of the theory that describes these outputs — or instances — that the major differences between the two models occur. 
As we shall see in more detail in Section 7.8 of Chapter 7, the output from the Cardiff Grammar is a single structure with a rich labelling of the nodes, while the output from the Sydney Grammar is — at least in principle — a set of several different structural representations. It is the task of the rest of Part 1 to explain just what these differences are, and to examine the extremely serious questions that they raise for the theory of syntax in SFL.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here Fawcett reveals that it is his notion of 'output' — in his flowchart model (Figure 4) — that is the source of his confusion between structure and instance.  In SFL theory, the relation between paradigmatic system and syntagmatic structure is realisation, which is a relation of identity obtaining between levels of symbolic abstraction (a token-value relation); whereas the relation between system and instance is instantiation, which is a class membership relation between a token and a type (a carrier-attribute relation).  See, for example, Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 144-5).

[2] To be clear, Systemic Functional Linguistics is a theory that prioritises system and function over structure and form (i.e. syntax).  The 'extremely serious' questions that Fawcett raises arise from his (already demonstrated) confusion between element (of function structure) and rank constituent (of form) — as will be seen in future posts.

Friday, 13 September 2019

On Fawcett's 'Form Potential' And 'Instances Of Meaning' Being Compatible With SFL Theory

Fawcett (2010: 93): 
The position, therefore, is that the generative apparatus in the two frameworks is broadly comparable. Or, to put it in terms of the diagram of language in Figure 4 in Section 3.2 of Chapter 3, the 'form potential' of the two models is fairly similar. Moreover, both models also recognise the importance of instances at the level of meaning, i.e., the concept of a 'selection expression'.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  In Fawcett's Figure 4, 'form potential' is modelled as realisation rules (that are instantiated as structures!):
In SFL theory, however, there is no level of form. Instead, form is modelled on the grammatical stratum as a rank scale whose units serve the entry conditions for grammatical functions, as exemplified by 'clause' being the entry condition for the system PROCESS TYPE.

[2] This is misleading.  On the one hand, in SFL theory, instances are not limited to the level of meaning.  On the other hand, selection expressions are not limited to the instance pole of the cline of instantiation, since, for example, the selection expression [voiced, bilabial, stop] specifies the phoneme /b/ as both potential and instance.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

On The Compatibility Of The Cardiff Grammar With SFL Theory


Fawcett (2010: 93):
However, before we leave the topic of "Systemic theory", it is important to bring out the impressive extent to which the set of concepts that it foregrounds are similar to the equivalent set of concepts in the Cardiff Grammar framework, e.g., as set out in Fawcett, Tucker & Lin (1993). …
As we saw in Section 4.9 of Chapter 4, the stage in the develo[p]ment of Halliday's model at which it most resembled the current Cardiff Grammar was that reflected in Halliday (1970/76b) and what I have described as the "pivotal paper" of "Language as choice in social contexts" (1977/78).

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here Fawcett assesses the extent to which his version of Halliday's theory is consistent with Halliday's theory as 'impressive'.

[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue; see the post Fawcett's Claim That His Model Is 'Fully Compatible' With Halliday (1977/8).  Moreover, Halliday's theory has changed significantly in the meantime, now featuring two 'system-structure cycles' in order to account for grammatical metaphor, as previously explained.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

On The Most Fundamental And Great Theoretical Problems Raised By IFG


Fawcett (2010: 92):
But it is in our examination of the major concepts of IFG that the most fundamental problems will arise, and this gives rise to what I expect to be the most controversial chapter in the book — Chapter 7. There I shall examine and discuss the great theoretical problems that are raised by Halliday's representations of structure in IFG and elsewhere, and so demonstrate the need for a new — or partly new — theory of syntax for SFL. 

Blogger Comments:

This is misleading, because it is untrue. As will be seen, the theoretical "problems" that Fawcett will identify arise from his own misunderstandings of Halliday's model, including his previously identified confusion of structural element with rank constituent.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday's Earlier And Later Grammatical Theories As A Single Theory Of Syntax


Fawcett (2010: 92):
At this point in our exploration of Halliday's presentation of his ideas about syntax, we might reasonably conclude that Halliday has completely changed the "basic concepts" of his theory. This, however, would be a mistake, as we shall see in the next chapter. Indeed, before we draw our final conclusions about what sources it will be useful to consult in building a theory of syntax for a modern systemic functional grammar — and so before we draw our final conclusions about the extent to which the concepts of "Categories" are still valid today — we must bring certain other bodies of work into the picture. These are: (1) the theoretical concepts that underlie IFG, since this work constitutes the major manifestation of the 'text-descriptive' strand of the work in the Sydney Grammar framework, and (2) the fullest statement of the requirements of a theory of SF syntax yet made, i.e., Fawcett (1974-6/81), together with the subsequent revisions to that work. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading.  As previously noted, Halliday has explicitly explained (1985, 1994: xiv) why his grammatical theory is not a theory of syntax.  In misrepresenting Halliday, Fawcett is falsely presenting his own theory, of syntax, as consistent with Halliday's theory.

[2] This is misleading, since it misrepresents two distinct theories, Scale and Category Grammar (Halliday 1961) and Systemic Functional Grammar (Halliday 1993), as a single theory.

[3] To be clear, the theoretical concepts that have been carried over into the current theory (Systemic Functional Grammar) from the previous theory (Scale and Category Grammar) are outlined in the work Fawcett has just reviewed (Halliday 1993).

[4] To be clear, the theoretical concepts that underlie IFG are outlined in the work Fawcett has just reviewed (Halliday 1993).

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1993) On Delicacy, Realisation And Rank

Fawcett (2010: 92):
As for the three 'scales' found in "Categories", the concepts of 'delicacy' and 'exponence' (the latter now renamed "realisation") have changed as a natural consequence of the elevation of 'system' to model 'meaning potential'. And the term 'rank' (which has no meaning without 'unit', in its "Categories" sense) is re-interpreted in "Systemic theory" as a general statement about 'flat tree constituency', with no statement at all about the concepts of a 'rank scale' and the associated limitations on 'rank shift'. According to "Systemic theory", then, it would appear that all of the concepts that are presented in "Categories" as "fundamental" have either been dropped or been changed — many quite drastically. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue. The concepts of delicacy, exponence (as realisation) and rank have not changed across the two theories, as Halliday (1995 [1993]: 273) makes clear:
Systemic theory retains the concepts of 'rank,' 'realisation,' and 'delicacy' from scale and category grammar. 'Rank' is constituency based on function, and hence 'flat,' with minimal layering; 'delicacy' is variable paradigmatic focus, with ordering from more general to more delicate; 'realisation' (formerly 'exponence') is the relation between the 'strata,' or levels, of a multistratal semiotic system — and, by analogy, between the paradigmatic and syntagmatic phases of representation within one stratum. But in systemic theory, realisation is held distinct from 'instantiation,' which is the relation between the semiotic system (the 'meaning potential') and the observable events, or 'acts of meaning,' by which the system is constituted.
[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's mistaken notion of 'system' being "elevated" to "meaning potential" arises from his (motivated) confusion of language as potential with meaning as stratum (semantics).

[3] This is misleading, on two counts: because it is untrue, as previously demonstrated, and because it is irrelevant (a red herring).  Moreover, the implication here is that new theories should be consistent with the theories that they replace.  In this way of thinking, quantum mechanics should be consistent with classical mechanics, and both should be consistent with the physics of Aristotle, and so on.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

On The Differences Between Scale And Category Grammar And Systemic Functional Grammar


Fawcett (2010: 91-2):
Let me now summarise the differences between "Categories" and "Systemic theory". They could hardly be greater. The fact is that "Systemic theory" presents an almost completely new set of "basic concepts". These are: 'system' and 'system network' (but both in the 'meaning potential' sense), 'instantiation', 'selection expression', 'realisation' and 'structure' (the last being used in a highly generalised sense that is quite different from its precise sense in "Categories"). Thus the list of "basic concepts" in "Systemic theory" does not mention two of the four original "fundamental" categories at all ('unit' and 'class'), and the two that are included as "basic concepts" now have significantly different meanings ('system' and 'structure'). The concept of 'element' is referred to, as we have seen, but it is not presented as a "basic concept", and it has a significantly different sense from that of the term "element" in "Categories". 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, "Categories" (Halliday 1961) and "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) expound two different theories: Scale And Category Grammar and Systemic Functional Grammar, respectively.  Fawcett's comparison of them in setting up the context for his own theory exemplifies the rhetorical strategy known as the red herring logical fallacy.

[2] To be clear, as previously demonstrated, Fawcett confuses meaning potential (language as system) with meaning as level of symbolic abstraction (the semantic stratum).

[3] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  The sense of 'structure' is the same in both theories, but it is expanded in Systemic theory, due to the innovation of the notion of 'metafunction'.  In the earlier theory, structure is limited to what will become interpersonal structure in the later theory, whereas it is supplemented with the structures of the other metafunctions in the later theory.

[4] To be clear, the terms 'unit' and 'class' are formal categories, whereas Systemic Functional Grammar gives priority to function, as Halliday (1995 [1993]: 272) makes clear. On the other hand, the two concepts are inherent in rank, which is listed as a basic concept (op. cit.: 273).

[5] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As Halliday (1995 [1993]: 272) explains:
[Systemic theory's] immediate source is as a development of scale and category grammar. The name 'systemic' derives from the term 'system; in its technical sense as defined by Firth (1957); system is the theoretical representation of paradigmatic relations, contrasted with 'structure' for syntagmatic relations. In Firth's system-structure theory, neither of these is given priority; and in scale and category grammar this perspective was maintained. In systemic theory the system takes priority; the most abstract representation at any level is in paradigmatic terms. Syntagmatic organisation is interpreted as the 'realisation' of paradigmatic features.

[6] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  On the one hand, 'element' features in the basic concept 'realisation statements', and on the other hand, it is used in precisely the same sense as in the earlier theory.  As previously explained, Fawcett's misunderstanding arises from confusing (structural) 'element' with (rank) 'constituent.

Friday, 30 August 2019

On Halliday's And Fawcett's Versions Of Halliday's Theory Sharing The Same General Framework

Fawcett (2010: 91):
There would be widespread agreement among systemic functional linguists — and especially among those who are interested in the theoretical-generative strand of work in SFL — that "Systemic theory" provides an excellent (though necessarily highly compressed) summary of the essential concepts of Halliday's SF grammar. Indeed, the model described in Chapter 3 and summarised in Figure 4 (in Section 3.2 of that chapter) can be seen as an alternative statement of broadly the same set of concepts — subject to the qualifications expressed above and in Section 4.7 of Chapter 4. 
From the viewpoint of the topic of this book, this difference is not crucial, since we are focussing here on the theory of syntax, i.e., the theory of both the potential and the instances at the level of form. In Section 4.6 of Chapter 4 we established that the difference between the levels of the system networks in the Sydney and the Cardiff versions of SFL, while significant in some cases, did not invalidate the view that the two share the same general framework, and this view is supported by the broad similarity between the 'realisation operations' in the two frameworks that we have noted. This means that we are indeed in a position to make a direct comparison between the theories of syntax presented in each of the two theories. 
However, from this last perspective "Systemic theory" has one great weakness. This is that it does not provide a specification of the "basic concepts" of the part of the theory whose task it is to account for the status of the instances at the level of form. It is these concepts with which IFG is concerned.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's model (Figure 4) is not only inconsistent with Halliday's theory, it is invalidated by its own internal inconsistencies, including the confusion of axial realisation with instantiation.

[2] To be clear, a systemic-functional theory, by definition, gives priority to system and function over syntagm and form.  In Halliday's theory, grammatical form is modelled as the rank scale, with each rank as the entry condition for grammatical functions.

[3] To be clear, Fawcett's potential at the level of form includes functions in realisation rules, and his instances at the level of form are the realisation of these functions in structures.

[4] This misleading.  The view that Fawcett's theorising is of the same general framework, SFL, is not at issue.  What is at issue is if Fawcett's version of Halliday's theory is itself valid, both in terms of SFL theory and in terms of internal consistency.

[5] To be clear, in Halliday's version of his own theory, realisation statements are located in system networks at the levels (strata) of semantics, lexicogrammar and phonology.  In Fawcett's version of Halliday's theory, realisation operations are located only at one of two levels, the level of form, which is, incongruously, a lower level of abstraction than the systemic features to which they apply.  Moreover, Fawcett's realisation operations are incongruously held to specify instances, rather than realisations.

[6] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Halliday's theory is not a theory of syntax.  Halliday (1985/1994: xiv):

[7] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  To be clear, 'instances at the level of form' do not feature in Halliday's theory, and so their theoretical status in Halliday's model does not need to be accounted for. However, since Fawcett's 'instances of form' translates to 'structures' in Halliday's theory, Halliday (1993) identifies syntagmatic structure as the realisation of paradigmatic system, with the basic concept of realisation statements in systems specifying structural realisations.  Halliday (1995 [1993]: 272):
The system has one further component, namely the 'realisation statement' that accompanies each option. This specifies the contribution made by that option to the structural configuration; it may be read as a proposition about the structural constraints associated with the option in question.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Falsely Presenting A Non-Sequitur As A Conclusion Of Two False Propositions

Fawcett (2010: 90-1):
Let us now summarise the place in "Systemic theory" of the more specifically 'structural' concepts from "Categories". The categories of 'unit', 'class (of unit)' and 'element' are not included in the presentation of the "basic concepts". Moreover, while the term "element" is used in presenting the realisation statements, it has a different sense from that in "Categories". 
On the other hand, "Systemic theory" includes a set of seven 'realisation operations'. While the latter are related to the "categories" that are missing in "Systemic theory" — in the sense that they generate the structures that exemplify the missing categories — the relationship is not self-evident. In Section 9.2.1 of Chapter 9 we shall see exactly how a revised set of realisation operations can generate all of the specific categories and relationships that are needed to specify the instances at the level of form in a modern systemic functional grammar.
Thus two sets of concepts are required in a full theory of syntax: (1) the theoretical concepts that specify the syntax potential, and (2) the theoretical concepts that specify the instances. The theory of 'syntax potential' will be presented and discussed in Chapter 9 of Part 2, and the theory of 'instances of syntax' will be set out in Chapters 10 and 11.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As previously demonstrated, Halliday's term 'element' retains the same meaning across the two theories, and Fawcett's misunderstanding on the matter arises from confusing 'element' with 'constituent'.

[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As previously demonstrated, the "categories" that Fawcett mistakenly thinks are missing in Halliday (1993) are those that serve as the entry conditions to the systems at each rank: clause, group/phrase, word and morpheme.

[3] To be clear, Fawcett's 'instances of form' (in Figure 4) refers to 'one layer of a richly labelled tree structure'.  As previously noted, this confuses instance (of potential) with the structure (realising system).

[4] This is misleading, because it falsely presents this non-sequitur as a conclusion entailed by the preceding discussion.

[5] To be clear, Fawcett (p172) identifies 'syntax potential' as part of 'form potential', which, in turn, he (p36) identifies as 'realisation rules/statements' (Figure 4).  However, it turns out (p175) that 'realisation operations' and 'potential structures' are the two parts of 'syntax potential'.  This compositional inversion will be examined further in the analysis of Fawcett's Chapter 9.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1993) On Realisation And Instantiation

Fawcett (2010: 90):
Let me summarise the "basic concepts' of "Systemic theory". These are: 'system', 'system network', 'selection expression', 'realisation' and 'structure' — the latter, however, only being used in a highly generalised sense. In addition, Halliday makes a fundamental distinction between 'realisation' and 'instantiation', exactly as we have done as in Chapter 3. However, he then he goes on to blur the distinction by saying that the term "realisation" is not only used for "the relation between strata" but also, "by analogy", for "the relation between the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic phases of representation within one stratum". I find this an unfortunate formulation, because it suggests that there is an immediate relationship between the system networks ("the paradigmatic [...] phase") and the output structure ("the [...] syntagmatic phase"). In other words, this way of describing matters overlooks (1) the relation of instantiation between the system networks and the selection expression, (2) the selection expression itself, (3) the realisation rules (which are triggered by the features in the selection expression), and finally (4) instantiation relation between these and the output structures that they generate. In other words, at this point in "Systemic theory" Halliday's second view of 'meaning' (as described in Section 4.6 of Chapter 4) appears to be dominant — i.e., the one in which the system networks are assumed to be at the same level as the final output structures. Apart from this short passage, however, the theoretical model of language presented in "Systemic theory", with its two components of the system networks and the realisation statements, is essentially the same as the general systemic functional model proposed in Chapter 3.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, Halliday (1995[1993]: 272-3) presents the system, which includes realisation statements and selection expressions, as the basic concept of Systemic theory, and lists rank, realisation (stratal and axial), delicacy, instantiation and metafunction as the other basic concepts.  Structure, on the other hand, is only mentioned in relation to metafunction:
These metafunctions define the dimensions of semantic space; and since they tend to be realised by different structural resources — experiential meanings segmentally, interpersonal meanings prosodically, logical meanings in iterative structures, and textual meanings in wavelike patterns …
[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's model (Figure 4) confuses the realisation relation between system and structure with the instantiation relation between potential and instance; see further below.

[3] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  It is Fawcett who "blurs the distinction", not Halliday.  The relation between the paradigmatic axis (system) and the syntagmatic axis (structure) is realisation, not instantiation.  Instantiation, on the other hand, is the relation between potential (system) and instance (text).

[4] To be clear, this is neither unfortunate, nor a suggestion.  It is a statement about the architecture of Systemic theory: paradigmatic systems are realised by syntagmatic structures.

[5] These four claims are misleading, because they are untrue.
  • A selection expression is not an instance of system; it is the bundle of features that define a unit, whether as potential or instance, as in the case of the features [voiceless, velar, stop] defining the phoneme /k/, as potential or instance.
  • As such, a selection expression is irrelevant to both instantiation and axial realisation.
  • Realisation statements are activated by feature selection, not selection expressions.  Here Fawcett is presenting his own logically-inconsistent model as the benchmark for assessing Halliday's.
  • The relation between realisation rules and the structures they generate is, as the name implies, realisation, not instantiation.
[6] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Halliday has one view on meaning.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's misunderstanding on the matter derives from his confusing meaning potential (language as system) with meaning (the stratum of semantics).

[7] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Moreover, it is contradicted by Fawcett's own report (above) of Halliday (1993):
"realisation" is not only used for "the relation between strata" but also, "by analogy", for "the relation between the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic phases of representation within one stratum".
Clearly, Fawcett does not understand that realisation is a relation between different levels of symbolic abstraction.

[8] This is very serious misrepresentation indeed.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's model (Figure 4) is not only inconsistent with Halliday's theory, it is internally inconsistent, as shown again here, where Fawcett presents selection expressions as instance of systems, and syntagmatic structures as instances of realisation rules.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday On Semantics

Fawcett (2010: 89-90):
One reason may be that he was not sufficiently confident of its place [i.e. the semantic stratum] in the overall theory at the time of writing "Systemic theory" to give it this status. Another possible reason may be that he limited himself, in what was necessarily a short paper, to just those concepts that he believed to be common to all 'dialects' of SFL. In other words, he may have omitted the concept of a 'higher semantics' on the grounds that some other systemic functional linguists (including those working in the framework of the Cardiff Grammar) consider that the existing system networks (or replacements for them that are more explicitly semantic) are all that is needed to model those aspects of 'meaning' that it is appropriate to model as lying within language. Either way, the absence of this concept from this key summary of the theory seems to signal that at the time of writing Halliday was less confident of its centrality in his view of language than he appears to have become in subsequent works, such as Halliday & Matthiessen (1999).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  The "subsequent" work, Halliday & Matthiessen (1999), was first conceived between 1980 and 1983 when Matthiessen was a research assistant at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, more than a decade before Halliday (1993). Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: ix):
This book was conceived dialogically: it started as notes on discussions between the two authors when CM was working at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute and MAKH was visiting there as a consultant.
 Moreover, Fawcett was the series editor for the publication.

[2] This is misleading.  Here Fawcett has falsely attributed his own view on the matter to Halliday.

[3] This is misleading, because it is untrue, as demonstrated in the previous post.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1993) On Semantics


Fawcett (2010: 89):
We have already noted several surprising omissions of "Categories" concepts from the basic concepts of "Systemic theory". I shall now identify another omission — though it is one of a different sort. You will recall, from Section 4.6 of Chapter 4, that in recent years Halliday has shown an increasing commitment the view that we should recognise an additional layer of 'meaning potential' — i.e., a 'semantics' above the level of 'meaning potential' that is represented in the system networks for TRANSITIVITY, MOOD and so on. We called this the 'two-level' model of meaning. Interestingly, Halliday does not include this concept in "Systemic theory". If it is as central to his view of language as some of his recent writings suggest (e.g., 1996:29), why, one wonders, has it been left out?

Blogger Comments:

[1] See the preceding posts for the invalidity of this claim.

[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As previously demonstrated, the stratification of the content plane into semantics and lexicogrammar has been a feature of SFL theory at least since Halliday & Hasan (1976), if not before.

[3] As previously demonstrated, Fawcett confuses 'meaning potential' (language as system) with the stratum of meaning (semantics).  Here he compounds the misunderstanding by confusing it with the stratum of wording (lexicogrammar).

[4] To be clear, it is the content plane that is stratified, with one level of meaning and one level of wording.

[5] This is misleading.  Halliday (1995 [1993]: 273) writes:
The shift to a paradigmatic orientation led to the finding that the content plane of a language is organised in a small number of functionally defined components which Halliday labelled 'metafunctions.' … The stratal role of the lexicogrammar lies in mapping these semantic components into a unitary construct, one that is capable of being linearised.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

On The Strange Omission Of The Vital Operation 'Insert Unit'

Fawcett (2010: 88):
Strangely, one vital operation appears to be missing from Halliday's list in "Systemic theory" — and it is also missing from the closely related lists given in Matthiessen & Bateman (1991) and Matthiessen (1995). This missing operation is 'Insert unit', and I shall comment on the possible reasons for its absence in Section 9.2 of Chapter 9.

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, Fawcett's operation 'Insert unit' corresponds to Halliday's features of the rank scale — clause, group/phrase, word, morpheme — as the entry conditions for more delicate systems at each rank, as will be seen in the examination of Section 9.2 of Chapter 9.  Fawcett's model lacks a rank scale, and so requires this extra 'operation' in his inventory of realisation rules. It will also be seen in that future discussion that Fawcett continues his previously identified confusion of structure with constituency.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1993) By Confusing Rank With Structure

Fawcett (2010: 88n):
You may have noticed that the term "rank" is used in (f) above, but this is not significant. This is because, strictly speaking, Halliday should have used here a term such as "layer of structure" or "unit", since the unit that is 'lower' in the structure is not necessarily of a lower 'rank' (e.g., a clause or a prepositional group/phrase frequently functions as a qualifier in a nominal group).

Blogger Comments:

Reminder:
(f) 'Preselect' some feature at a lower rank (e.g., preselect nominal group);
This is misleading, because it is untrue. Here Fawcett's wording "lower in the structure" confuses the rank scale of forms ("lower") with the syntagmatic axis ("structure").  The form that realises a function is not lower in structure, but lower in constituency.  In the case of a clause realising the Qualifier of a nominal group, the (higher rank) clause is a constituent of a (lower rank) nominal group, which is why the phenomenon is called 'rankshift'.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1961, 1993) And Matthiessen (1995) On Element

Fawcett (2010: 88):
In the Sydney Grammar, it is the word "function" that should, strictly speaking, be used to refer to concepts such as 'Subject' and 'Theme', e.g., in (a), (b) and (c) of Halliday's realisation statements. The term "element" is typically used for the component of the clause into which such "functions" combine. Interestingly, Matthiessen makes no use at all of the term "element", using instead the informal term "bundle of functions". Thus in "Systemic theory" Halliday uses "element" in Matthiessen's sense of "function" — such that the "conflation" (or 'fusion') of two or more such "functions" combines to constitute a single element of the clause, in the way to be described in Section 7.2 of Chapter 7. It is this unified sense of "element" that corresponds most closely to the meaning of the term "element" in "Categories". It may be thought that this is not a major difference, but it is nonetheless a significant one, because it reflects the addition to the theory of the concept that an element may carry several meanings at the same time — this being the third of the major developments in the theory that we noted in Chapter 4.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Subject and Theme are each elements of function structure.  In theoretical terms, this specifies them as located on the syntagmatic axis, whereas the unqualified term 'function' does not.  For example, as Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 83) point out: 'Theme functions in the structure of the clause as message'.

[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Elements of function structure, such as Subject and Location, map onto clause constituents, such as nominal groups and prepositional phrases.  That is to say, here Fawcett has merely confused the term 'element' (of function structure) with the term 'constituent' (as modelled by the rank scale of form).  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 9):
Grammatically, however, the constituent of a clause is not, in fact, a word; it is either a phrase or a word group…
[3] To be clear, the terms 'element' and 'bundle of functions' are not synonymous.  While an element is a structural function such as Theme or Subject or Senser, a bundle of functions are all the structural functions that map onto a clause constituent, such as Theme and Subject and Senser all mapping onto a nominal group.

[4] This is doubly misleading, because it is doubly untrue. On the one hand, in Halliday's Scale and Category Grammar (1961), before the theorising of metafunctions, there are no functions to be conflated on a constituent, and on the other hand, Halliday (1961) uses the term in precisely the same way as in Systemic Theory (1993).  Halliday (2002 [1961]: 47):
In the statement of English clause structure, for example, four elements are needed, for which the widely accepted terms subject, predicator, complement and adjunct are appropriate.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1985, 1993, 1994) And Matthiessen (1995) On Element

Fawcett (2010: 87-8):
Halliday's seven types of 'realisation statement' are, in his words:
(a) 'Insert' an element (e.g., insert subject); 
(b) 'Conflate' one element with another (e.g., conflate subject with theme); 
(c) Order' an element with respect to another, or to some defined location (e.g., order finite auxiliary before subject); 
(d) 'Classify' an element (e.g., classify process as mental: cognition); 
(e) "Split' an element into a further configuration (e.g., split mood into subject + finite); 
(f) 'Preselect' some feature at a lower rank (e.g., preselect nominal group); 
(g) 'Lexify' an element (e.g., lexify subject : it). 

(Halliday 1993:4505) 
… Earlier, we were considering the fact that the concept of 'element' was not presented as a "basic concept" in "Systemic theory". However, as you can see from the number of instances of the word "element" in boldface in Halliday's realisation statements, this term certainly plays a central role in the process of building 'structure' in his theory. Notice, however, that the term "element" is being used here in a different sense from that in "Categories" — and also from that in which it is typically used in IFG and in Matthiessen (1995:23-5).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Despite the fact that the two publications outline different theories,  the use of the term 'element' in Halliday (1993) is the same as its use in Halliday (1961), as the following quote from "Categories" (Halliday 2002 [1961]: 46-7) makes plain:
A structure is made up of elements which are graphically represented as being in linear progression; but the theoretical relation among them is one of order. … A structure is thus an arrangement of elements ordered in places. Places are distinguished by order alone: a structure XXX consists of three places. … In the statement of English clause structure, for example, four elements are needed, for which the widely accepted terms subject, predicator, complement and adjunct are appropriate. These yield four distinct symbols, so that S, P, C, A would be the inventory of elements of English clause structure.
What differs in the two theories is that "Categories" (Halliday 1961) does not yet differentiate between metafunctions, and so the elements of structure are restricted to what later became those of the interpersonal metafunction in Systemic Theory.

[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  The meaning of 'element' in both IFG and Matthiessen (1995) is 'structural function'.  For example, Halliday (1985: 32; 1994: 30) writes:
…each clause contains one element which can be identified as its Subject…
It will be seen in the following post that Fawcett confuses (functional) 'element' with (formal) 'constituent'.

Friday, 9 August 2019

On There Being No Important Difference Between The Terms 'Realisation Statements' And 'Realisation Rules'


Fawcett (2010: 86n-7n):
Halliday prefers the term 'statements' to rules', but there is no difference of substance here. Following Hudson's pioneering work on realisation in Hudson (1971), I use the term "realisation rules". Strictly speaking, what Halliday refers to here as "realisation statements" are 'realisation operations', because it is possible for the realisation statement for a given feature to include two or more such 'operations'.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  On the one hand, Halliday's term 'realisation statement' is consistent with the notion of systems as probabilistic, since probability is a modality of statements

On the other hand, Fawcett's term 'realisation rules' construes commands, the agnate modality of which is obligation. This is inconsistent with both modelling systems as probabilistic and with the fundamental view of language taken by SFL theory: meaning as choice.

[2] To be clear, this is a non-sequitur.  Fawcett's argument is as follows:
Premiss: a realisation statement for a feature can include two or more operations,
Conclusion: realisation statements should be called realisation operations.
On the one hand, the Premiss is false, because, in Halliday's model, each individual realisation statement constitutes only one 'operation', not two or more.  On the other hand, the reasoning of the argument is invalid because it deploys the type of circular reasoning known as 'begging the question' (petitio principii), wherein the truth of the conclusion is assumed in the premiss, namely: that realisation statements are operations.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

On The Location Of Halliday's Realisation Statements In Fawcett's Model

Fawcett (2010: 86-7):
The selection expression is the input to the realisation statements. The function of each of these is to specify, for a given feature in the system network, the operation through which that feature contributes to "the structural configuration" that is being generated. In "Systemic theory" Halliday specifies seven types of realisation statement, his claim being that every such statement conforms to one of the seven types. As we saw in Chapter 3, a theory of syntax must be concerned with how the grammar specifies both (1) the syntax potential and (2) the instances of syntax, i.e., the outputs from the grammar. In terms of Figure 4 in Chapter 3, then, Halliday's 'realisation statements' belong in the box labelled "realisation rules / statements".
I shall now list the set of types of 'realisation operation' given in "Systemic theory". However, I shall leave the full explanation and evaluation of each to Chapter 9 of Part 2, because they are relatively close to the set that is required for this component of a modern theory of syntax for a SF grammar — though the set to be introduced in Chapter 9 set is slightly fuller. They will therefore be explained and evaluated at that point, i.e., in Section 9.2.1 of Chapter 9.
Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here Fawcett has momentarily switched from his red herring argument, of assessing Halliday (1993) in terms of Halliday (1961), to merely restating where Halliday's realisation statements are located in his own model (Figure 4), which, as previously explained over and over (e.g here), is riddled with internal inconsistencies that result from his theoretical misunderstandings.


[2] Here, once again, Fawcett primes the uncritical reader by promising a critique ('evaluation') elsewhere.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Misconstruing Selection Expressions As Instances Of Meaning


Fawcett (2010: 86):
Let us begin with instantiation. In Halliday's words: 
'Instantiation' is the relation between the semiotic system and the observable events, or 'acts of meaning'. (Halliday 1993:4505)
Even a selection expression, which is strictly speaking not "observable", is an 'instance', i.e., an 'instance of meaning', in that it is the set of features that have been chosen on one traversal of the system network. Thus the instance of meaning' chosen in Section 3 of the worked example in Appendix A is: 
[thing, count, plural, student, nearness to performer, un-near]

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is not true.  A selection expression is the systemic classification of a given unit.  Halliday (1993: 273):

The selection expression constitutes the grammar's description of the item (e.g., the particular clause so specified); it is also, by reference to the network, the representation of its systemic relationship to other items in the language — since the grammar is paradigmatic, describing something 'consists in' locating it with respect to the rest (showing its total lineage of agnate forms).
Importantly, this may be the unit as potential, unit as instance, or unit as somewhere between (as sub-potential or instance type).  For example, the selection expression of a phoneme, such as [voiced, velar, stop], may describe it as phonological potential or as an actual instance when spoken.

To be clear, this misunderstanding is fundamental to Fawcett's model (Figure 4), and, as a misunderstanding, constitutes one of the lines of evidence that invalidates it.


[2] To be clear, here Fawcett confuses language ("observable") with the linguistic description of it (selection expression).  That is, he confuses the data with the model.

[3] To be clear, selection expressions are relevant in Systemic theory wherever there are systems, and thus are not limited to the level of meaning, semantics.  This is only the case in Fawcett's model, where they are misunderstood as instances.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1993) On Realisation

Fawcett (2010: 85-6):
Finally, let us look at what has happened to the term realisation (Halliday's 1966 replacement for the original "Categories" term "exponence"). Halliday originally brought the concept of 'realisation' into use as a result of the elevation of 'system' to model 'meaning potential', as we saw in Figure 4 (in Section 3.2 of Chapter 3). However, the original "Categories" concept of 'exponence / realisation' has now become the concept that denotes the relationship between two levels of language. In Halliday's words:
'Realisation' is the relationship between the 'strata' (or levels) of a [...] semiotic system" (Halliday (1993:4505).
Thus the term has significantly changed its meaning as a result of the elevation of 'system' to model 'meaning potential', just as 'system' itself and 'delicacy' havebut in this case the change of meaning has been marked by a change of name.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here Fawcett claims the meaning (Value) of a term 'realisation' has changed despite the fact that it is actually the term (Token) that has changed (from 'exponence'), not the meaning.

[2] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Halliday adopted the term 'realisation' as the name for the relation between levels of symbolic abstraction, in the first instance, between strata.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's notion of 'the elevation of system to model meaning potential' confuses language as potential (system) with the semantic stratum (meaning).  Moreover, the fact that this is irrelevant to the notion of 'realisation' demonstrates that Fawcett does not understand the meaning of this theoretical term.

As the grammar makes plain, 'realisation' is a nominalisation of the intensive identifying Process 'realise' which relates a less abstract (lower level) Token to a more abstract (higher level) Value.

[3] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Fawcett's own model (Figure 4) says nothing about changes to Halliday's model, actual or imaginary, even when the latter is understood.

[4] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  As demonstrated in previous posts, the terms 'system' (evidence here) and 'delicacy' (evidence here) have not changed their meaning.

More importantly, the meanings of terms in one theory, Scale & Category Grammar (Halliday 1961), are irrelevant to an examination of another theory, Systemic Theory (Halliday 1993).  Fawcett's entire enterprise in comparing terms across theories is an instance of the Red Herring logical fallacy.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1993) On Rank

Fawcett (2010: 85):
Notice that while Halliday introduces the word "rank" in "Systemic theory", the idea that it means a 'rank scale' of units with the associated concept of 'accountability at all ranks' is simply omitted from what is presented as a summary of the "basic concepts" of the theory. One reason why this is particularly surprising is that the concept of the 'rank scale' is still reflected quite strongly in IFG, as we shall see in the next chapter. Nor is there any help on this matter in Halliday (1996). On the other hand, Matthiessen uses the concepts of the 'rank scale' and 'rank shift' quite freely in his Lexico-grammatical Cartography, and he defines 'rank' in the standard "Categories" manner in the book's useful Glossary section (Matthiessen 1995:790). Thus it would be premature to interpret Halliday's failure to foreground the concept of the 'rank scale' in "Systemic theory" as a weakening of his commitment to the 'rank scale'. It is nonetheless a curious omission.
Whatever the reason for this omission

Blogger Comments:

This is yet another attempt to mislead.  What Halliday (1993: 273) actually says is:
3. Other Basic Concepts
Systemic theory retains the concepts of 'rank,' 'realisation,' and 'delicacy' from scale and category grammar. 'Rank' is constituency based on function, and hence 'flat,' with minimal layering;
Here Fawcett is attempting to cast doubt on the notion of rank, on the basis of the brevity of an entry in an encyclopædia entry.  The reason Fawcett wishes to do so is that his own model does not include a rank scale, and so, by casting doubt, Fawcett primes the uncritical reader for his later dismissal of the theoretical value of a rank scale.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Not Understanding Halliday (1993) On Rank

Fawcett (2010: 84):
We turn now to the concept of 'rank' — the 'scale' which, with 'unit', provides the major organising principle of the grammar in "Categories". The definition that Halliday gives of it in "Systemic theory" is one of the more puzzling sections of the paper. Here he defines 'rank' in a somewhat opaque manner, writing: 
'Rank' is constituency based on function, and hence 'flat', with minimal layering. (Halliday 1993:4505) 
The meaning of "and hence flat" can be clarified by expanding the last part of Halliday's definition to "and hence represented by diagrams that resemble 'flat trees' rather than 'trees with multiple branching'". And such trees naturally have "minimal layering".

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, Fawcett provides no evidence that he understands Halliday here.  By 'constituency based on function, and hence 'flat', with minimal layering' Halliday means constituency based on minimal bracketing (ranked constituents) rather than maximal bracketing (immediate constituents).  Halliday (1985: 23):
 
 
Minimal bracketing at three ranks yields (Halliday 1985: 21):