Tuesday, 21 May 2019

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NB The chief proponents of the Cardiff Grammar are in the United Kingdom and China

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Fawcett's Claim That His Model Is 'Fully Compatible' With Halliday (1977/8)

Fawcett (2010: 70):
The general picture that it [Halliday (1977/78)] gives of the nature of language and of how the grammar works is fully compatible with the picture given in Chapter 3. That is, the system networks of TRANSITIVITY, MOOD, THEME and so on are presented as being at the level of semantics, and their realisations are integrated in a single structure at the level of form. (However, Halliday there terms it the 'lexicogrammatical level'; this is a little confusing, since Halliday later uses the term "lexicogrammar" in a sense that includes the system networks.) Thus the paper begins with the words:
Let us assume that the semantic system is one of three levels, or strata, that constitute the linguistic system: 
Semantic (semology)
Lexicogrammatical (lexology: syntax, morphology and lexis)
Phonological (phonology and phonetics). 

(Halliday 1977:176) 

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is demonstrably false, as shown in dozens of previous posts.  The picture given in Chapter 3, as represented in Figure 4, is inconsistent in its own terms (e.g. confusing axial realisation with instantiation) and inconsistent with Halliday's model — even with the embryonic model presented in 1977.

[2] For once, this is actually true.  At this early stage of theorising, when Halliday was encoding the semantics (Value) by reference to the lexicogrammar (Token), he located the systems from which 'grammatical structures derive' — TRANSITIVITY, MOOD and THEME — at the level of semantics.  That is, at this early stage, Halliday (virtually) conflated the axial relation of realisation between system and structure with the stratal relation of realisation between semantics and lexicogrammar.  This situation was rectified within the next decade, largely motivated by the need to account systematically for grammatical metaphor.  Later still, Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 429) explain:
… in our model there are two system-structure cycles, one in the semantics and one in the lexicogrammar. Terms in semantic systems are realised in semantic structures; and semantic systems and structures are in turn realised in lexicogrammatical ones. As we saw in Chapter 6 in particular, grammatical metaphor is a central reason in our account for treating axis and stratification as independent dimensions, so that we have both semantic systems and structures and lexicogrammatical systems and structures. Since we allow for a stratification of content systems into semantics and lexicogrammar, we are in a stronger position to construe knowledge in terms of meaning. That is, the semantics can become more powerful and extensive if the lexicogrammar includes systems.
[3] This is misleading in a way that supports Fawcett's own model.  Unlike Fawcett, Halliday does not propose a level of form.  As the quote that Fawcett himself provides makes clear, Halliday proposes the three strata of semantics, lexicogrammar and phonology.

[4] To be clear, Halliday (1978: 128-9) proposes systems for both semantics and lexicogrammar:
Third, we will assume that each stratum, and each component [metafunction], is described as a network of options, sets of interrelated choices having the form 'if a, then either b or c'.
with the lexicogrammatical stratum system organised by rank:
Fifth, we shall assume that the lexicogrammatical system is organised by rank (as opposed to immediate constituent structure); each rank is the locus of structural configurations, the place where structures from the different [metafunctional] components are mapped onto each other.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Theoretical Indeterminacy, Computer Modelling And The Value Of Fawcett's Framework

Fawcett (2010: 69):
Halliday has written at different times in terms of both frameworks, and also in terms that suggest that the boundary between the two is indeterminate (Halliday 1996:29). While I recognise the 'indeterminacy' that is bound to be found in living systems such as natural human languages, I think that it is right to accept the challenge of trying to make the model sufficiently explicit to be incorporated in a computer model of language. And doing this in turn suggests the value of recognising the component 'modules' of Figure 4 in Chapter 3.

Blogger Comments:

[1] As previously demonstrated, this is misleading because it strategically misrepresents Halliday.  Halliday has never espoused the misunderstanding in Fawcett's model (Figure 4) of realisation rules as a lower level of abstraction ('form potential') than the features they apply to.

[2] This is misleading because it strategically misrepresents Halliday (1996), which is concerned with the theoretical indeterminacy of the nature and location of the boundary between semantics and grammar, not the boundary between Fawcett's framework and Halliday's.  Halliday (2002 [1996]: 411):
But there is another opening-up effect which is relevant to the present topic: this concerns the nature and location of the stratal boundary between the grammar and the semantics. This is, of course, a construct of the grammatics; many fundamental aspects of language can be explained if one models them in stratal terms, such as metaphor (and indeed rhetorical resources in general), the epigenetic nature of children’s language development, and metafunctional unity and diversity, among others. But this does not force us to locate the boundary at any particular place. One can, in fact, map it on to the boundary between system and structure, as Fawcett does (system as semantics, structure as lexicogrammar); whereas I have found it more valuable to set up two distinct strata of paradigmatic (systemic) organisation. But the point is that the boundary is indeterminate – it can be shifted; and this indeterminacy enables us to extend the stratal model outside language proper so as to model the relationship of a language to its cultural and situational environments.
[3] Strictly speaking, living systems are biological, whereas languages are semiotic, though both can be construed as evolving, complex adaptive systems.

[4] To be clear, making a model of human language explicit is distinct from adapting a model to the constraints of computer technology; and this is distinct from claiming that such an adapted computer model also applies to language as a natural phenomenon.  And these are distinct from the questions of whether a model is internally self-consistent or consistent with the phenomenon being modelled.

[5] To be clear, this is a non-sequitur.  Merely adapting a theoretical architecture to the constraints of computer technology does not, of itself, "suggest the value" of Fawcett's particular method of doing so, nor does it say anything about its value as a model of human language.

[6] To be clear, the architecture of SFL theory is dimensional, not modular, and Fawcett's model (Figure 4) is a flowchart for text generation.  Moreover, as previously demonstrated, it is internally inconsistent, confusing the realisation relation between the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes with instantiation relation between system and instance (inter alia).

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

On 'Form Potential' Being Limited To Realisation Rules

Fawcett (2010: 69):
But when the 'form potential' is not given a specific identity in overall diagrams of how language works, as is the case in diagrams where language is represented as a system network with the realisation rules presented as 'footnotes' on the features, there is a temptation to see the processes described in Figure 4 and exemplified in Appendix A as all occurring within one 'level', as in Figure 5.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, Fawcett limits 'form potential' to realisation rules only, and excludes systems (potential) from his 'form potential'.  In SFL theory, however, grammatical form is theorised as a rank scale of units — clause, group/phrase, word, morpheme — each of which is the entry condition to a system of potential.  Because SFL is a functional theory, the potential of such forms is modelled in terms of the functions (Senser, Finite, Theme etc.) that their formal constituents serve.

[2] To be clear, given the above, 'form potential' is "given a specific identity in overall diagrams of how language works", whether it is defined in Fawcett's narrow sense of realisation rules or in the broader SFL sense of rank-ordered systems with realisation statements located at their place of application.  This is because the theoretical distinction between realisation statements and system networks does not depend on their formal arrangement but on the different theoretical functions they serve.

[3] To be clear, this is a statement about Fawcett's model (Figure 4), not about the architecture of SFL theory, despite being presented as such.  As previously explained — see Attacking A Straw Man — Figure 5 is Fawcett's reworking of his own Figure 4 that he falsely attributes to Halliday and falsely claims to be topologically equivalent to his Figure 4.

As previously explained, in Figure 4, Fawcett confuses realisation with instantiation; and in Figure 5, Fawcett misattributes his own confusion to Halliday.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

'Form Potential' As A Separate Component

Fawcett (2010: 69):
When the 'form potential' component of a systemic functional grammar is shown as the separate component that it undoubtedly is (as in Figure 4), this helps to make it clear that the system networks are a different component from the realisation rules — and one that is at a higher level.

 Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here Fawcett indulges in the logical fallacy of circular reasoning (circulus in probando):
the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with; sometimes called assuming the conclusion.
That is, Fawcett's argument is if P then P, where
P: 'form potential' is shown clearly as a separate component from system networks.

[2] To be clear, Fawcett's logical fallacy here might be interpreted as a variant of proof by repeated assertion.  Moreover, as Halliday (1994: 89) points out: 'you only say you are certain when you are not'.

[3] As previously explained, Fawcett's model (Figure 4) misconstrues the same level of symbolic abstraction, grammatical features, as different levels of abstraction, depending on whether they figure in system networks or in realisation rules.  Moreover, Fawcett's model misconstrues the relation between realisation rules and what realises them — i.e. realisation — as the instantiation relation between potential and instance.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Fawcett's Justification For Realisation Rules As A Separate Component

Fawcett (2010: 69):
To summarise: when simple realisation statements are written under the features in network diagrams, these are best regarded as an informal version of the full realisation rule. Such diagrams may have the laudable effect of focussing attention on the system networks themselves — but they bring with them the unfortunate side-effect that they make the realisation rules appear to be relatively minor 'footnotes' to the features in the networks. And they are not. In a fully explicit theoretical model of how language works, therefore, it is necessary to show the realisation rules as a separate component, as was done in Halliday's first generative grammars (as cited above), in other early systemic grammars such as the very large one described in Hudson (1971), and in all versions of the Cardiff Grammar (e.g., in Figure 2 of Appendix B). Including the conditions on realisation within the system network has the further disadvantage that it muddles two aspects of language: (1) choices between meanings and (2) their realisation at the level of form.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, this is not a summary of Fawcett's previous argument, nor is it logically entailed by what has been argued; see previous posts.  Instead, it is a new bare assertion of what Fawcett assesses as "best", unsupported by evidence or argument.

[2] To be clear, the system network is the formalism of Systemic Functional Linguistic Theory, and embodies the theory's fundamental perspective on language: meaning as choice.  Fawcett's claim here is that it is "laudable" to focus attention on the theory's formalism.

[3] To be clear, this, again, is not a summary of Fawcett's previous argument, nor is it logically entailed by what has been argued; see previous posts.  Instead, it is a new bare assertion of what Fawcett assesses as "unfortunate", unsupported by evidence or argument.

Moreover, representing realisation statements in system networks has the advantage of being consistent with theory and displaying how the conditions of their application relate to all other choices within the entire system.

[4] To be clear, this is not entailed by the previous argument, nor by the new bare assertions that are misrepresented here as a summary of the argument.  As previously explained, Fawcett's model of realisation rules as a separate component (Figure 4) misconstrues one level of symbolic abstraction, grammatical features (in systems and rules) as two levels (meaning and form), and misconstrues the realisation relation between the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes as the instantiation relation between potential and instance.

[5] This is misleading.  On the one hand, Halliday's "first generative grammars" did not model realisation rules along the lines of Fawcett's model (Figure 4), and on the other hand, Halliday's "first generative grammars" didn't model realisation rules as a component, because the architecture of SFL theory is dimensional, not componential (modular).

[6] This is another example of the informal logical fallacy known as
argumentum ad populum (a.k.a. appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) wherein a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because a majority or many people believe it to be so.
[7]  To be clear, here Fawcett assesses Halliday's model in terms of the misunderstandings in his own.  Specifically, on the basis of his own misunderstanding of features (in systems and rules) as different levels of symbolic abstraction, he assesses Halliday's model as muddled because it doesn't mistakenly assign them to different levels of abstraction.  Moreover, in SFL theory, realisation statements specify the function of form, not form, as demonstrated by the realisation statement 'Finite^Subject' for polar interrogative MOOD.

To be clear, in SFL theory, grammatical form is modelled as a rank scale (clause, group/phrase, word, morpheme).  Each form (rank unit) is structured in terms of function, with function being the meaning encoded by the wording.  (wording = Identifier/Token, meaning = Identified/Value)

In the absence of grammatical metaphor, meaning and wording are congruent (in agreement).  It is grammatical metaphor that motivates the distinction between meaning (semantics) and wording (lexicogrammar).

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Fawcett's Approach To Realisation Rules As "The Only One That Is Workable In A Large-Scale SF Grammar"

Fawcett (2010: 68):
This second approach [i.e. Fawcett's realisation rules as form potential] is in fact the only one that is workable in a large-scale SF grammar. The reason is simple: it is that the number of realisation rules that require conditions grows as the grammar is extended to cover the less frequent linguistic phenomena. Thus it often happens that an action in building a part of the structure is dependent on the co-selection of one or more other features. 
As the coverage of the grammar grows fuller, then, it has to encompass more and more exceptions to the general rule, and the place of the general concept of 'conditions on realisation rules' becomes correspondingly more important. It is interesting to study the nature of the realisation rules presented in Fawcett, Tucker & Lin (1993) from this viewpoint.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, there may be many viable approaches to realisation rules, but Fawcett's is not one of them.  This is because, as previously demonstrated, his approach (Figure 4) confuses realisation with instantiation, and misconstrues one level of symbolic abstraction — grammatical features (in systems and rules) — as two distinct levels (meaning and form).

[2] This misunderstands the SFL notion of system.  A well-formed system, in principle, covers all linguistic phenomena of the domain stipulated by its entry condition, across all frequencies — or more precisely, since a system models potential, across all probabilities, since feature frequencies in texts are instances of feature probabilities in the system.

[3] As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's argument in this regard is based on one of his own system networks (Figure 2, Appendix 1), which is inconsistent both with SFL theory, misconstruing 'deixis' as a system of 'thing', and with the principles of a system network, misconstruing lexical items such as 'student' as grammatical features.  That is, Fawcett has merely demonstrated his own inability to devise system networks and to locate realisation statements in them at their point of application.

[4] Yes.  It is.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Summary Of The Argument For Realisation Rules As A Separate Component

Fawcett (2010: 68):
To summarise so far: the insistence that realisation rules must not contain conditional features so that they can be simple enough to be written in on the system network makes the additional 'wiring' in the network quite complex, and the greatly preferable alternative is to place all of the realisation rules together in a separate component — i.e., the component that specifies the 'form potential' — as shown in Figure 4 and demonstrated in Figure 2 of Appendix A.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, whether realisation rules are included in system networks, or listed separately, are just two ways of representing the same linguistic complexity.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's argument does not determine which representation is preferable, since it is based on a network of his own (Figure 2 of Appendix A) which is not consistent with the principles of a system network.

[2]  This a non-sequitur.  To be clear, representing realisation rules separately from system networks does not entail theorising them as separate component in the model (Figure 4).

More importantly, locating realisation rules as a component of form potential is inconsistent with the dimensions of Fawcett's own model.  Firstly, it misconstrues features and the rules that apply to them as different levels of symbolic abstraction, meaning and form.  And secondly, it misconstrues the realisation relation between the paradigmatic axis (realisation rules) and syntagmatic axis (structure) as instantiation (potential to instance).

Sunday, 14 April 2019

On The Value Of Conditional Features In Realisation Rules

Fawcett (2010: 68):
This example of the alternative approaches to a relatively simple part of the grammar demonstrates clearly the value of the use of conditional features in realisation rules. But it also underlines the value of respecting the distinction between the use of the system network notation for representing systemic relationships of choice, and the mis-use of them (as it seems to me to be) to represent conditions on realisation. It is clearly preferable in the case we are considering here, as it is in any model, to have different notations for the two different concepts. This is why, in Appendix B, system networks are used to model choices in meaning (as in Figure 1) and tables are used to model the realisation rules (as in Figure 2). Indeed, this follows the pattern established in Halliday's early grammars (e.g., 1969/81 and 1970/76b).

Blogger Comments:

[1] As previously demonstrated, the example Fawcett uses violates the principles of genuine system networks, and as a consequence, arguments made using it are thus examples of the 'straw man' logical fallacy, and do not apply to system networks.

[2] To be clear, the point at issue is how the conditions on the activation of realisation statements are to be represented.  In SFL theory, the conditions are represented by the wiring of networks and the location of features in the network.  In Fawcett's model (Figure 4), realisation rules are incongruently located at a different (lower) level of symbolic abstraction (form) than the features (meaning) to which they apply.

[3] To be clear, this is the opposite of what is true.  Fawcett's example does not underline the value of this distinction, since it actually demonstrates that it is even possible to incorporate realisation rules into his own misunderstanding of a system network; see previous post.

[4] These are bare assertions, unsupported by evidence or argument.

[5] As previously noted, in this matter, Fawcett misrepresents a presentational limitation in early publications as a theoretical distinction.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Rewiring Fawcett's Network To Include Realisation Rules

Fawcett (2010: 67-8):
There is an alternative solution, and we shall explore it here briefly in order to demonstrate that it is not a desirable answer to the question of how best to model conditions on realisations. It is to model the conditions by the use of the conventions of a system network. Continuing with the example from Appendix B, we would need to extend the existing relatively simple network in Figure 1 in the following ways. We would need to add (1) a right-opening 'and' bracket after each of [mass], [singular] and [plural], and (2) a right-opening 'or' bracket after [near]. Then (3) a line would need to be drawn from each of the three 'and' brackets associated with [mass] and [singular] to a new left-opening 'or' bracket, with (4) a further line running from the latter to a new left opening 'and' bracket. This would also be entered by a line from the right-opening 'or' bracket by [near] (5). Then (6) a dummy feature (standing for the meaning 'near-and-singular-or-mass') would need to be inserted to the right of the left-opening 'and' bracket. This would be a case of what is termed a 'gate', i.e., a feature that is in the system network but which is not part of a system.* Next, we would need to draw a line from the right-opening 'and' bracket by [plural] to a second new left-facing 'and' bracket (7), and (8) this would also be entered by a line from the second branch of the right-opening 'or' bracket' by the feature [near]. Then (9) a second 'dummy' feature would be placed to the right of this left-opening 'and' bracket, standing for the meaning 'near-and-plural'. As a result of the addition of all this new 'wiring' it would be possible to insert two realisation rules which would not have conditions attached to them, i.e., one that stated that the feature 'near-and-singular-or-mass' would be realised by the item this, and one that said that ' near-and-plural' is realised by these.
* Clearly, this concept is an anomaly in a systemic grammar; see Fawcett, Tucker & Lin (1993:126) for a discussion of the concept of 'gate', which is widely used in the computer implementation of Halliday's version of SFG in the Penman Project to minimise the use of conditions on realisation rules (e.g., Mann & Matthiessen 1983/85). However, its theoretical status requires further clarification, discussion and justification before it is given the status in the theory that is accorded to the concept of a system.

Blogger Comments:

[1] Here again Fawcett uses his own network, which, as previously demonstrated, violates the principles of the system network, in order to argue against the inclusion of realisation statements in genuine system networks.  However, what Fawcett actually demonstrates is that it is even possible to include realisation rules in such a network — at least, for those that specify grammatical items rather than structural realisations.

[2] To be clear, in rewiring Fawcett's network, there is no need for "a right-opening 'and' bracket" after the features [singular] or [plural], in this example, because only one wire extends from each of these features.


Sunday, 31 March 2019

On The Timing Of The Application Of Realisation Rules

Fawcett (2010: 66-7):
In practice the simplest workable solution is that no realisation rules should be applied until the traversal of the network has been completed, and to make the resulting selection expression of features available to each realisation rule, as it is applied. This is what is done in the Cardiff Grammar and, as we shall see in the next chapter, in the computer implementation of Halliday's grammar too.

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, here Fawcett confuses system networks, the SFL formalism that models human language as potential, with the flowcharts he uses for text generation by computer.  In doing so, he presents his solution to his own technical problem as a solution to a non-existent theoretical problem (as demonstrated in previous posts).

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Fawcett's Argument Against Realisation Rules In System Networks

Fawcett (2010: 66-7):
Let us look at a simple example, taken from the little grammar in Appendix B. Consider the realisation rule for the feature [near] in Figure 2 of Appendix B. The rule states that, if either [singular] or [mass] is also chosen, the realisation is that the deictic determiner (dd) will be expounded by the item this, but that if the feature [plural] is co-selected it will be expounded by these
In this particular example, the conditional features happen to occur in a sub-network that is 'higher' on the page than the one in which the feature [near] occurs. This might lead you to think that this makes it possible for the realisation rule for the feature [near] to fire as soon as it is chosen, on the grounds that the grammar already 'knows' whether the conditional features have or have not been chosen. However, the features that function as 'conditions' could equally well occur in a part of the network to be traversed later, so that we cannot proceed on this assumption.* 
* Neither approach would be acceptable in the Sydney Grammar, however, because there is a strong insistence on the concept that, in principle, all systems are entered simultaneously. If this is the case, the grammar would not know whether a possible conditional feature had or had not been co-selected at the time when the feature [near] was chosen. (The computer implementation of the Cardiff Grammar currently operates on the assumption that the 'higher' system networks are traversed before the lower ones, but they could be reformulated if it ever became possible to apply the computational concept of 'parallel processing' to system networks.)

Blogger Comments:

[1] Figures 1 and 2 of Appendix A:

To be clear, this network is not consistent with the principles of SFL theory.  For example, the network
  • confuses Thing with Deictic + Thing in a nominal group,
  • misunderstands delicacy, in that it presents examples of mass nouns as more delicate features of the feature [mass], and examples of count nouns as more delicate features of the feature [count], and
  • presents grammatical classes (mass, count) of nouns as semantic features.
That is, Fawcett's argument that realisation rules cannot be located in system networks only applies to misunderstandings of system networks, such as this devised by Fawcett himself.  As such, Fawcett's argument  here is merely another deployment of the Straw Man fallacy.

A system network, featuring realisation statements, that is consistent with the principles of SFL, from Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 366), is presented below for comparison:

[2] As previously explained, Fawcett misunderstands system networks as flowcharts, and it is this misunderstanding that leads him to be concerned with the temporal order of feature selection.  To be clear, system networks are networks of relations.  It is the instantiation process that unfolds in time, during logogenesis, not traversals of system networks.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Fawcett's Problem With Realisation Rules In System Networks

Fawcett (2010: 66): 
The initially attractive idea that this is intended to represent is that each feature in a system network contributes to the structure that is being built, and that each such rule should 'fire' as soon as its feature is chosen. Representing the realisation rules in this way, then, fits in nicely with the idea that the lexicogrammar is simply all at one level of language — and this is precisely the concept that is required in Halliday's second approach to meaning. 
Ultimately, however, this approach is unworkable. The problem with it is that it depends on the concept that there are no exceptions to the 'typical' effect of choosing a given feature. But if the 'firing' of the realisation rule is dependent upon the co-selection of another feature (as is often the case), it cannot be allowed to fire as soon as the feature is chosen, because a 'conditional feature' may also be selected in another part of the network which might demand that the realisation should be different.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, in SFL theory, the system of a grammatical rank is realised by the structure of a rank unit.  This is the axial dimension: the relation between the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes.

On the other hand, the selection of a feature entails the activation of its realisation statements.  This is the dimension of instantiation: the relation between potential and instance.

[2] As previously explained, Halliday has only had one "approach to meaning" in devising SFL theory.  It merely suits Fawcett's argument to believe otherwise.

[3] To be clear, the problems that Fawcett identifies here only arise if there are problems with (the wiring and/or features of) the system network itself.  It will be seen in the next post that Fawcett exemplifies "the problem", not by critiquing one of Halliday's systems, but by reference to one of his own (problematic) systems.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

The Impression That Realisation Rules Are Part Of The System Network Itself

Fawcett (2010: 65-6):
However, in some of Halliday's other writings, starting very soon after that time, he began using a representation of the system networks and realisation rules that can be interpreted in a very different manner — though always in introductory grammars or fragments of grammars, as in Halliday (1971/73a:40 and 1977/78:208-22). The same pattern is found in his 1964 networks (which were published in Halliday (1976:135).* And the same pattern is found in his recent work e.g., in the network for the 'verbal group' in Halliday (1996:11). 
Finally, this way of representing the realisation rules is used throughout Matthiessen (1995). In the diagrams in all of these works, any feature for which there is a realisation rule has the rule written in immediately under the feature itself, almost as a footnote on the feature. In other words, the impression is given that the realisation rules are part of the system network itself
* These system networks may well date from the time before Halliday realised that they should be regarded as modelling the 'meaning potential' of the language. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, in SFL theory, realisation statements are located in system networks.  This is why the publications of Halliday and Matthiessen present them as such.

[2] As previously explained, Fawcett misunderstands Halliday's 'meaning potential', language as system, to mean the stratum of semantics.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday On The Separation Of System And Realisation Rules

Fawcett (2010: 65):
There was no such problem with Halliday's early systemic functional grammars (e.g., 1969/81 and 1970/76b). Each contains two components: (1) the system network and (2) the realisation rules — very much as in Figure 4 in Chapter 3. In Halliday (1969/81), for example, the system network is shown on page 141, and the 'realisation statements' that convert any selection expression that is chosen in traversing the network into a structure are set out in a table on page 142. Thus the two figures illustrate each of the two components of the model. And the same pattern is found in Halliday (1970/76b) — with some minor changes in the detail of the realisation rules, as is to be expected at this early stage in the development of generative systemic functional grammars. In other words, the components of these grammars and their outputs correspond directly to the two components and two outputs shown in Figure 4 of Section 3.2 of Chapter 3.

Blogger Comments:

This is very misleading indeed.  Here Fawcett refers to the separate display of system and realisation rules in early Halliday publications and misrepresents this visual separation as consistent with the theoretical separation of them his own model (Figure 4), which, unlike Halliday, misconstrues systems and their realisation rules as different levels of symbolic abstraction (meaning and form).

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Why Fawcett Thinks SFL Requires A Separate Component For Realisation Rules

Fawcett (2010: 64-5):
4.8 Why a SFL model of language requires a separate component for the realisation rules 
Finally, we must consider the implications for the model of language summarised in Figure 4 of another interesting change in Halliday's representations of his model of language. It is a change that correlates with the view that we have just been examining, i.e., the view that the system networks of TRANSITIVITY, MOOD, THEME etc. belong at the same level as their outputs. 
The reason why it is important to examine this change too is that it carries with it an implication that is even more drastic in its consequences for the model of language outlined in Figure 4 than the change discussed in the last section. This is because it implies that the grammar has no separate component for the realisation rules. If this concept were to be sustained, there would be no 'form potential' in Figure 4 that corresponded to the 'meaning potential'. And this in turn would have serious consequences for the picture of language to be presented here, and especially in Chapters 5 and 9, where we shall make a major distinction in the theory of syntax to be presented there between 'syntax potential' and 'instances of syntax'.

Blogger Comments:


[1] To be clear, here Fawcett is considering the implications of his own misunderstanding of SFL — see [2] below — for his own model (Figure 4) which, as demonstrated many times on this blog, is internally inconsistent and confuses the system-structure relation (realisation) with the system-instance relation (instantiation).

[2] To be clear, in SFL theory, the system networks of TRANSITIVITYMOODTHEME and their "outputs" are both located on the same stratum of symbolic abstraction, namely: lexicogrammar.  Because Fawcett's "output" confuses structure with instance, it is necessary to take each in turn.

For system and structure, while both are located on the same stratum, they differ in terms of symbolic abstraction within that stratum, with the higher level, system, realised by the lower level, structure.  For system and instance, on the other hand, both are most obviously located on the same stratum, since a grammatical instance is an instance of a grammatical system.

[3] To be clear, in SFL theory, realisation statements that specify structural realisations are located in systems, at points that satisfy the conditions for their activation (instantiation entails both the selection of features and the activation of realisation statements).

In short, Fawcett's reason why SFL requires a separate component for realisation rules is that it will have serious consequences for his own model if it doesn't.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Fawcett's Powerful, Theoretically Well-Motivated And Computer-Tested Models Of Language

Fawcett (2010: 64):
Thus Figure 4 expresses the powerful, theoretically well-motivated and computer-tested models of language that have been implemented in both the Sydney and the Cardiff Grammars. In contrast, the view of language summarised in Figure 5 (which is what Halliday's re-interpretation of his earlier insight entails) loses precisely the major insight of his revolutionary changes in the 1960s, as summarised in Sections 4.1 to 4.4 of this chapter — i.e., the insight that there is a relationship of realisation between the system networks of meaning potential and the structural outputs.

Blogger Comments:

[1] The word 'thus' here is misleading, because it gives the false impression that the misunderstandings that preceded it validate the conclusion that follows it.

[2] As demonstrated over and over on this blog, Fawcett's flowchart (Figure 4) misrepresents the architecture of SFL theory and misunderstands the notions of instantiation and realisation, both axial and stratal.

[3] As demonstrated in preceding posts:
  • Halliday did not reinterpret his earlier insights,
  • Figure 5 does not represent Halliday's interpretation of SFL architecture,
  • Figure 5 is Fawcett's own invented 'Straw Man' which he fallaciously argues against on the false pretext that he is arguing against Halliday's model.

[4] Here again Fawcett, like his Figure 4, confuses system in relation to instance (instantiation) with system in relation to structure (axis).  In Halliday's model of his own theory, the relation between system and structure is realisation.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Misunderstanding The System Network

Fawcett (2010: 64n):
In any case, an adequate model of the full process of generation requires other ways of modelling decision-making in the higher stages of planning. System networks can be regarded as a special type of 'decision tree' that is incorporated within the semiotic system of language itself.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is a bare assertion, unsupported by argument or evidence.

[2] To be clear, system networks do not model decision making, and thus there is a very important sense in which a system network is not a decision tree:
A system network does not represent a sequence of decisions. A system network systematises the relations between options in terms of types of expansion:
  • delicacy = elaboration
  • disjunction = extension: alternation
  • conjunction = extension: addition
  • entry condition = enhancement: condition
  • realisation statement = elaboration (+ identifying)
For instance, a lexical item is not the output of a sequence of decisions.  A lexical item realises all the relations between all of the features that specify it, from the most general systems of the grammar to their most delicate elaboration.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Summarising The Main Point Made In This Section

Fawcett (2010: 63-4):
Let me summarise the main point that is made in this section. This is that, even if Halliday turns out to be right about the need to add another level of system networks above those in the 'meaning potential' of the lexicogrammar (which I do not think he is), it does not necessarily follow that we must deny that there is also realisation between the established levels of the generative apparatus that I have described in Chapter 3 (this generative apparatus being exemplified both in Appendix A and in Halliday's own early generative grammars). To assert that the only relationships involved in Figure 5 — and so in Figure 4 — are ones of 'instantiation' would be to sacrifice the great insight of the later 1960s and early 1970s that the system networks of TRANSITIVITY, MOOD, THEME etc. are choices in meaning.* And for what would this sacrifice be made? Ultimately, it would be for the abstract (and undesirably limiting) notion that the specification of the 'potential' at every level of language necessarily has the form of a system network. The more desirable alternative, as our work in the COMMUNAL Project at Cardiff has shown, is to allow that a full model of language in use may require different ways of specifying the 'potential'. Indeed this concept is illustrated in the outline proposed in Chapter 3, in that we saw there that it is the role of the realisation rules to specify the 'form potential'.
* It would not solve the problem to label them as 'formal meaning' in contrast with 'semantic meaning' ; they are still patently more semantic than their syntactic correlates.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, as already explained, the distinction between semantic networks and grammatical networks provides a systematic means of accounting for grammatical metaphor.

[2] Here again Fawcett confuses the systemic potential of language (meaning potential) with the stratum of lexicogrammar.

[3] To be clear, the 'generative apparatus' is Fawcett's flowchart (Figure 4).  As previously explained many times, it is based on misunderstandings of axis, stratification and instantiation, as well as being internally inconsistent.

[4] This is potentially misleading. To be clear, the exemplication of Fawcett's flowchart in Appendix A involves a system network and realisation rules.  It is this that it has in common with "Halliday's own early generative grammars".  The system itself confuses semantics (a system for 'thing') with lexicogrammar (nominal group features); see the earlier critique here.

[5] As previously explained, this is Fawcett's misunderstanding, deriving from the misunderstandings inherent in his own model.

[6] On the one hand, this is a non-sequitur inferred from a false premiss. On the other hand, in SFL theory, the system networks of TRANSITIVITYMOODTHEME etc. are choices in wording that realise meaning, and in the absence of grammatical metaphor, the wording and meaning agree (are congruent).

[7] On the one hand, 'undesirably limiting' is merely interpersonal attitude (negative appreciation) falsely presented as if logical argument.  On the other hand, the system network is the formalism of Systemic Functional Linguistics, embodying the fundamental principle of meaning as choice.

[8] Again, 'more desirable' is merely interpersonal attitude (positive appreciation) falsely presented as if logical argument.  The claim that work has shown this to be so is merely Fawcett's own assessment, made without providing the evidence on which it is based.

[9] This is potentially misleading.  The only alternative to system networks for representing potential that Fawcett proposes is realisation rules/statements (Figure 4), and in SFL theory, these are located in system networks.

[10] To be clear, in SFL theory, this contrast is the stratificational distinction of wording (lexicogrammar) and meaning (semantics), these being two levels of symbolic abstraction modelling the same phenomenon: linguistic content.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Continuing To Attack A Straw Man

Fawcett (2010: 63):
There is a small further problem in adopting the position represented in Figure 5. This is that it is not clear what we should call this supposed 'level' of language. Halliday calls it the "lexicogrammar" and this makes it, in effect, an alternative term to "form".

Blogger Comments:


Here again, as before, Fawcett misrepresents his reorganisation (Figure 5) of his model (Figure 4) as Halliday's model, and fallaciously attacks the straw man he has created.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Arguing On The Basis Of Misunderstandings Of Realisation And Instantiation

Fawcett (2010: 63):
Interestingly, the symbol for the meaning of 'is realised by' in informal realisation rules in a SF grammar is a small arrow pointing diagonally from the top left corner of an imaginary rectangle to the bottom right corner. And one could draw just such an arrow with a felt tip pen right across the diagram in Figure 4, so symbolising that the relationship between the meaning potential and the realised instance is the same, both in individual cases and in the case of the model as a whole. Yet this relationship is in fact, as we can see, one that involves not just realisation but both instantiation (twice) and realisation. 

Blogger Comments:


[1] As Fawcett's term 'realised instance' discloses, his flowchart confuses the relations of realisation (between system and structure) and instantiation (between potential and instance), as previously demonstrated on this blog.  In SFL terms, the relation between Fawcett's top-left module (paradigmatic system) and his bottom-right module (syntagmatic structure) is realisation.  A structure is not an instance of a system, by definition.

[2] To be clear, this is only true in terms of Fawcett's flowchart.  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's flowchart is not consistent with the architecture of SFL theory, and not consistent with itself, in terms of realisation or instantiation.  See, for example, the first critique of Figure 4 here.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Deploying Two Logical Fallacies In Misrepresenting Halliday On Realisation

Fawcett (2010: 63):
The reason why the reinterpretations by Halliday of what "realisation" means cited above are so problematical is that it is not logically possible to hold at the same time the two views that
(1) there are two levels of instances (as Figure 4 suggests that there are), and
(2) the two levels of instances are at the same level of language (as Figure 5 suggests). 
It would only be possible to hold both views if one were to claim at the same time that the selection expression of features chosen from the 'meaning potential' and the structure that so clearly manifests it at a lower level are at the same level. Yet the system networks are patently more 'semantic' than the structures that are generated from them. Indeed, when Halliday first introduced the concept of 'realisation', it was in precisely the sense of the relationship between two levels, i.e., between (1) the system networks at the level of meaning potential and — after first generating a selection expression and then applying the realisation statements — (2) the output structures, which are necessarily at the level of form.

Blogger Comments:

[1] As previously explained, Halliday is consistent on the meaning of realisation; what varies is the dimension along which the realisation relation obtains: strata vs axes. The "reinterpretations" are Fawcett's misunderstandings that arise from his viewing the architecture of SFL theory through his own flowchart (Figure 4).

[2] Here Fawcett continues his use of the Straw Man logical fallacy (identified in the previous post).  As previously demonstrated, Fawcett's flowchart (Figure 4) does not represent the architecture of SFL theory, and his revised flowchart (Figure 5) does not represent Halliday's view.  Fawcett is attempting to refute a position not held by Halliday.

[3] Here Fawcett argues by using the logical fallacy of circular reasoning known as begging the question (petitio principii).  In saying 'the structure that so clearly manifests it at a lower level', Fawcett is assuming the truth of the claim he is trying to prove by argument.

[4] This bare assertion (presented as reasoned argument) clearly demonstrates that Fawcett does not understand the theoretical meaning of 'realisation'.  It is not a matter of systems being more semantic than structures; it is a matter of systems being more symbolically abstract than structures.

[5] This is misleading.  Here Fawcett misrepresents Halliday by inserting two components of his own flowchart (Figure 4), which is temporally ordered, into the realisation relation between system and structure, which is not temporally ordered.  Realisation is an intensive identifying relation, not a circumstantial identifying relation.

[6] This is another bare assertion (presented as reasoned argument) and another use of the circular reasoning logical fallacy known as begging the question (petitio principii), since it assumes the point Fawcett is trying to prove, namely that structures are at the level of form.

To be clear, SFL theorises grammatical form as a rank scale of constituency: clause, group/phrase, word and morpheme.  However, being a functional theory, the structures at each of these ranks are functions, not forms.  For example, the clause structure Token^Process^Value is a structure of functions, not a structure of forms.  Each of these functions is realised by a form of the rank below, and the structures of these forms, such as Classifier^Thing, are likewise functions, not forms.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Attacking A Straw Man

Fawcett (2010: 62-3):
The implications of the position that "the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic phases of representation" [i.e., the system network and the output structure] are "within one stratum" are illustrated in Figure 5.
Figure 5 is essentially a re-arrangement of the two components and two outputs in Figure 4 so that they all appear to function within one level of language. Topologically, the two are equivalent, but this does not mean that they are "mere notational variants" of each other. The disadvantage of Figure 5 is that it loses the important insights captured in Figure 4, which shows the places in the model of the central concepts of realisation (relating the levels of form and meaning) and instantiation (relating the potential and the instances).
If the components and outputs shown in Figure 5 really did constitute a single level of language, it would be a level of a very unusual sort. This is because it still contains the same two levels of 'meaning' and 'form' that Halliday's writings in the early 1970s proposed (as we saw in Section 4.3), and which suggest the model of language shown in Figure 4 in Chapter 3.

Blogger Comments:


[1] This is misleading. To be clear, the "implications" of lexicogrammatical systems and structures both being on the same stratum, lexicogrammar, are for Fawcett's flowchart (Figure 4) only, and not for SFL theory, which already incorporates this in its architecture.

Moreover, in falsely presenting Figure 5 as representing Halliday's alternative to Fawcett's Figure 4, Fawcett is engaging in the Straw Man logical fallacy:
giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent.
[2] This is misleading because it is untrue.  Figures 4 and 5 are not topologically equivalent, because 5 cannot be formed from 4 without tearing off the form components and attaching them to the right edge of the meaning components.  Topological equivalence involves deforming only, not tearing and re-attachment.

[3] This is misleading.  As previously demonstrated, Halliday's "important insights" of realisation and instantiation are not coherently "captured" in Fawcett's flowchart.  For example,  in terms of realisation, Figure 4 presents a system network being realised in realisation rules; and in term of instantiation, it presents syntagmatic structure as an instance of realisation rules.  It would be dishonest to claim that Figure 4 is the model of someone who understands the theoretical concepts of realisation and instantiation.

[4] This is misleading.  Even Halliday's writings in the early 1970s do not "suggest" Fawcett's theoretically incoherent flowchart model of language.