Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Pageviews by Countries

EntryPageviews
United States
1632
Russia
985
France
717
Ukraine
702
Australia
560
South Korea
264
Netherlands
218
Germany
202
Unknown Region
186
Poland
172

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

Fawcett's Summary Of His Argument So Far

Fawcett (2010: 106):
We noted in Chapter 5 that what is missing in "Systemic theory" is an account of those concepts that are required to describe the instances of language at the level of form i.e., the concepts of "Categories". But we have seen in the present chapter that, despite initial appearances, these concepts are still in use in IFG — if only in the background. 
There are two main reasons for the very considerable differences between the concepts presented in "Categories" and "Systemic theory": (1) the changes to the theory in the 1960s (as outlined in Chapter 4), which have removed the concept of the system from the level of form, and (2) the unexplained lack in "Systemic theory" of a section on the outputs at this level. The lack of a specification of a theory of the 'syntax of instances' in IFG means that Halliday has not made a statement about this aspect of the theory since 1961. Yet, as we saw in the last section, this is an essential part of a full theory of syntax.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is very misleading. As previously explained, "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is an encyclopædia entry that sets out the architecture, history and development of Systemic Theory in 3 pages.  It stresses that system, not structure, is the fundamental organising concept of the theory.  (By 'instances at the level of form', Fawcett means grammatical structure.)

[2] This is very misleading.  As previously explained, IFG (Halliday 1994) provides the grammatical structures that realise grammatical systems, organised according to rank scale, because rank units constitute the entry conditions to the systems that specify grammatical structures.

[3] This is misleading. To be clear, the single most important reason for the differences in "Categories" (Halliday 1961) and "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is that they outline different grammatical theories: the former sets out Scale-&-Category Grammar, while latter sets out Systemic Functional Grammar.

[4] This is very misleading, because it misrepresents Fawcett's model as Halliday's.  The 'level of form' is Fawcett's model, not Halliday's, and the absence of the concept of system at the level of form is Fawcett's model, not Halliday's.  Halliday's model distinguishes linguistic strata as semantics, lexicogrammar and phonology/graphology, with systems posited for each stratum.  Grammatical form is modelled as a rank scale of units, with each unit providing the entry condition to systems of functional features at that rank.

[5] This is misleading.  'Syntax' is Fawcett's model, not Halliday's. Halliday explicitly rejects the "syntax" approach to grammatical theorising, as he made clear in the first two editions of IFG. Halliday (1994: xiv):

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Need For An Explicit Theory Of Systemic Functional Syntax

Fawcett (2010: 104-5):
The practical demonstration of this fact (as I take it to be) is that this aspect of a systemic functional theory of syntax is needed in two important areas of application. The first is that of specifying what a computer needs to know, in order to analyse a string of incoming words into the syntactic structure that relates them.The second area of application is the analysis of texts by humans. It is not surprising that broadly the same set of concepts is required in both cases, and this is why a book that is written to help people to analyse texts invariably makes at least some use of a theory of instances. Indeed, this is precisely why we find Halliday making such frequent but informal use of the concepts of 'class of unit' and 'element of structure' in IFG …
The fact that computer models of systemic functional grammars cannot simply be turned into natural language understanding machines by reversing them underlines this book's main argument, i.e., the argument that there is a need for an explic[i]t theory of systemic functional syntax. It provides evidence from this important sub-field of computational linguistics research that we can place alongside the less explicit evidence from the needs of the text analyst. In other words, it is a clear demonstration of the need for the sort of theory of 'instances of syntax' that is to be presented in Part 2 of this book.


Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, Fawcett's argument is that an explicit theory of systemic functional syntax is needed because it is needed for computational applications.

[2] To be clear, as IFG demonstrates, grammatical structures can be analysed by humans without resort to a theory of syntax.

[3] To be clear, in Fawcett's model (Figure 4), selection expressions (meaning) and structures (form) are misunderstood as instances, as previously explained.

[4] This is misleading. To be clear, in SFL Theory, formal units are modelled as a rank scale of clause, group/phrase, word and morpheme, each of which serves as the entry condition to systems that specify structures at that rank. This is why IFG, which outlines the structures at the ranks of clause and group, is organised in terms of the rank scale. The notion of 'class of unit' is most relevant at the rank of group, because different classes of group — nominal, verbal, etc. — have different elements of structure.

Friday, 15 November 2019

The Two Processes Of Generation And Understanding

Fawcett (2010: 104):
The reason why the two processes of generation and understanding cannot be treated as mirror images of each other is that each of the two processes of generation and understanding involves a different kind of 'problem-solving'. This arises because the two processes operate in different directions. More specifically, the evidence that is taken into account when deciding to make one analysis rather than another when parsing the syntax of a text is different from the evidence that is drawn on to determine the choices in generation. In parsing, the available linguistic data are those that are observable in the surrounding text at the level of form; in generation in the decisions are taken at the level of meaning (or in a higher component), so that the data that affect choices are at the level of semantics (or above it).

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, here Fawcett is not concerned with modelling language, but with the problems that a computational linguist needs to solve when trying to use a theory of language for the purposes of text generation and parsing.  Moreover, the theory of language being used is his own 'flowchart' model ('syntax', 'level of form', 'level of semantics'), which, as previously demonstrated, is inconsistent with the architecture of SFL Theory.

[2] To be clear, when applied to language, rather than computation, this is at odds with SFL theory, where structural interpretations are made on the basis of systemic contrasts. Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 49):
Giving priority to the view ‘from above’ means that the organising principle adopted is that of system: the grammar is seen as a network of interrelated meaningful choices. In other words, the dominant axis is the paradigmatic one: the fundamental components of the grammar are sets of mutually defining contrastive features. Explaining something consists not in stating how it is structured but in showing how it is related to other things: its pattern of systemic relationships, or agnateness (agnation).
[3] To be clear, this confuses linguistic data with linguistic theory. Linguistic data are what is to be modelled, whereas 'level of form' and 'level of meaning' are dimensions of Fawcett's theoretical model (Figure 4).

In terms of SFL Theory, lexicogrammar is a purely abstract level of representation. Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 613-4):
For these to be possible you need a semiotic of a different kind, one that allows for a purely abstract level of representation "in between" the two faces of the sign, To put this another way (as we did at the beginning of the book), the sign has to be deconstructed so that, instead of content interfacing directly with expression, the relationship is mediated by a systematic organisation of form (a lexicogrammar).

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Concepts Required For The Structural Description Of A String Of Words

Fawcett (2010: 104):
For the purposes of analysing a string of words in a text, it is necessary to be able to specify the concepts that are required for the structural description of that string of words — and to be able to do so, moreover, without drawing at every stage on one's knowledge of the procedures by which the string of words was generated. In other words, it must be possible to carry out the process of analysing the syntax of a text (traditionally known as parsing) independently of the process of generation.

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, in the case of SFL Theory, the concepts that are required for the structural description of a string of words in a text are specified in all four editions of IFG:
  1. Halliday (1985)
  2. Halliday (1994)
  3. Halliday & Matthiessen (2004)
  4. Halliday & Matthiessen (2014).

Sunday, 10 November 2019

On The Unjustifiable Approach Of Halliday (1993)

Fawcett (2010: 104):
One might expect, in principle, that it would be sufficient to characterise the 'form potential', and that the theory required to describe the instances would follow automatically from this — and if this was so the approach taken in "Systemic theory" would be justified. But in practice this does not provide the framework of concepts that is required in the applications to which a model of language is put. In other words, it is not enough to model language in its generative mode (or 'at rest'); the theory must supply the concepts that are required for modelling the use of language in both the generation and the analysis of text-sentences — and it must do this for each level of language that is recognised in the theory.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading. This presents Fawcett's model, Figure 4, as if it represents the architecture of SFL Theory.  By 'form potential' Fawcett means realisation rules (divorced from system networks), and by 'instances' Fawcett means syntagmatic structures (rather than instances).


[2] This is misleading. "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is merely a brief article in an encyclopædia that sets out in 3 pages the history, basic concepts, and development of Systemic Theory, written for readers of encyclopædias, rather than an academic publication for scholars seeking a deep understanding of the theory.  Fawcett's complaint is that a 3-page summary does not set out the theory in all its complexity.

[3] This is misleading. The systems and realisation statements that specify grammatical structures are set out in Lexicogrammatical Cartography (Matthiessen 1995), with some also incorporated in the third (and fourth) editions of IFG (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004 (and 2014)).  The grammatical structures that realise these systems are set out in all editions of IFG.

[4] To be clear, Fawcett's compliance with this stipulation amounts to splitting one level of abstraction (systems and their realisation rules) into two levels (meaning and form), in the case of the left-hand column of Figure 4, and misunderstanding selection expressions and syntagmatic structure as instances, in the case of the right-hand column of Figure 4.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday On Theory Exposition


Fawcett (2010: 103-4):
The fact that "Systemic theory" omits any specification of the part of the theory that would be used in a description of the outputs from the grammar leaves the reader in a highly unsatisfactory position. Since the paper is entitled "Systemic theory", this omission seems to imply that the theory does not need to specify these concepts. On the other hand, it is just possible that Halliday has omitted them on the grounds that if one specifies the 'form potential' in the realisation statements, there is no need to specify the outputs, on the grounds that this is what the realisation statements do.
Whatever Halliday's position on this issue, I wish to make clear that my view is that a theory does indeed have the responsibility to specify these concepts explicitly. In other words, it is the task of a theory of SF syntax to specify both the apparatus that generates the text-sentences that are the outputs from the grammar (the realisation component) and the concepts that are required to model those outputs. Moreover, both of these must be treated as int[e]gral parts of the theory, as the use of the theory for modelling the generation and understanding of language in computers shows clearly. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading. To be clear, "Systemic Theory" is an article in an encyclopædia that outlines the origins, architecture and development of the theory in 3 pages; it is oriented to theory rather than text description.  On the other hand, the "outputs of the grammar" had been previously set out in 350+ pages of the first edition of IFG (Halliday 1985), a text oriented to text description rather than theory.

[2] This is misleading, because it misrepresents Halliday's model (realisation statements in system networks) as Fawcett's model (realisation rules at the level of form).

[3] This is misleading, because these concepts are set out in great detail in the four editions of IFG (1985, 1994, 2004, 2014).

[4] This is misleading. To be clear, the grammatical systems that are realised as grammatical structures are set out in Lexicogrammatical Cartography (Matthiessen 1995) and the grammatical structures that realise grammatical systems are set out in the four editions of IFG.  Moreover, the most important grammatical systems are also included in the third and fourth editions of IFG.

[5] This is misleading, because it misrepresents Halliday's model (Systemic Functional Theory) in terms of Fawcett's approach (a theory of syntax). As Halliday (1994: xiv) makes clear:

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

On The Differences Between Halliday's Encyclopædia Article And IFG2


Fawcett (2010: 102, 103):
Why should "Systemic theory" introduce so many concepts that have little or no role to play in IFG? And, if the concepts of 'unit', 'class of unit', and 'element of structure' are present in IFG — if only in the background — why should they be absent from "Systemic theory"? Or, to put the question in more general terms, why should there be this great disparity between the presentations of the theory in these two works of the early 1990s? 
The answer, I believe, lies in the fact that the two works are intended for different readerships, so that Halliday foregrounds different aspects of SFL in each of the two works. …
It is because IFG is intended primarily as a grammar for students and others who are engaged in the task of text analysis that the emphasis is on the description of the outputs from the grammar, rather than on the grammar itself. This is probably also the reason why the focus in IFG is on the substantive categories of the description (such as Subject and Actor) rather than on the abstract categories of the theory that underlies the description, (such as 'functional element' and 'class of unit'). 
However, while this may be the reason for the differences between the two works, it is far from being a satisfying answer to the question with which this section began. 

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is an entry in an encyclopædia that sets out the architecture of Systemic Functional Theory, whereas IFG (Halliday 1994) is a work that sets out the structural realisations of grammatical systems, as Halliday (1994: x) makes clear from the outset:
The reason the present work is not called an introduction to systemic grammar is that that is not what it is. Since it was being written specifically for those who are studying grammar for purposes of text analysis, I did not include the systemic part: that is, the system networks and realisation statements, which constitute the main theoretical component (and would be central if the book was an introduction to systemic grammar). What is presented here is the functional part: that is, the interpretation of the grammatical patterns in terms of configurations of functions. These are more directly related to the analysis of text.
Fawcett provides no argument as to why Halliday's clarification — which he misrepresents above as his own conclusion — is 'a far from satisfying answer' to the question he initially raises above.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Misrepresenting The Theoretical Architecture Of IFG2 And Halliday (1993)

Fawcett (2010: 102-3):
As we saw in Section 5.2 of Chapter 5, IFG is intended as an account of the outputs from the operation of the grammar, and not as an account of the grammar itself. It describes the instances, but only at the level of what is assumed to be the 'final' output at the level of form (in terms of the diagram in Figure 4 in Section 3.2 of Chapter 2). In contrast, the emphasis in "Systemic theory" is wholly on describing the potential of a language — and at the levels of both meaning (the system networks) and form (the realisation operations). This contrast in goals explains why the concepts of 'system', 'system network' and 'selection expression' play so little part in IFG. And, at the level of form, it explains why the focus in "Systemic theory" is on the generative apparatus of SFL and so on the 'realisation statements' that constitute the 'form potential', at the expense of the output structures that they generate. (Nonetheless, the lack of any mention of many of the categories and relationships that specify the outputs leaves a notable gap in what is intended as an account of the theory.)

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it presents IFG (Halliday 1994) in terms of Fawcett's model (Figure 4) which, as previously demonstrated, is inconsistent with the architecture of SFL theory — as well as being internally inconsistent, as exemplified by the modelling of syntagmatic structure as an instance of realisation rules:
In terms of his own model, Halliday (1994: xv) writes:
What is presented here, however, is not the systemic portion of a description of English, with the grammar represented as networks of choices, but the structural portion in which we show how the options are realised.
[2] This is misleading. The emphasis in "Systemic theory" (Halliday 1993) is on outlining the architecture of the theory in summarised form for an encyclopædia article.

[3] This is misleading, because, as Fawcett knows, Halliday locates realisation statements in system networks, not as Fawcett's 'form potential'.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Summary Of The Differences Between "Categories" And IFG2 [3]

Fawcett (2010: 102):
Thus all three of the 'categories' of 'unit', 'class of unit' and 'element (of structure)' are in fact alive and well in IFG, and the 'rank scale' is also there in the background for use when needed. Moreover, while the concept of 'delicacy' is never mentioned, it is illustrated throughout IFG whenever MOOD is analysed, in the sense of an analysis in terms of 'primary' and 'secondary' structures. (For a discussion of the relevance of 'delicacy' to 'structure', see Section 10.3.4 of Chapter 10.)
We might say, then, that IFG is a description of English that is based on the concepts of "Categories" — but with the addition of the concepts of 'parataxis' and 'hypotaxis' from Halliday (1965/81). 
However, there is one highly significant difference that is not covered by what has been said so far. It is that it is assumed in "Categories" that a clause has a single structure, where the typical elements were "S Ρ C A", etc. But in IFG, as we shall see, a clause is seen as having simultaneously five or more different structures. The problems raised by these representations will be our major concern in the next chapter.


Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, as already explained, in SFL theory, delicacy is a dimension of systems, not structures, and is a type of elaboration (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999: 144-5).  In applying the term to Mood structure — e.g. Subject and Finite as components of Mood — Fawcett confuses delicacy (elaboration) with composition (extension).

[2] To be clear, this grossly misrepresents the degree of difference between the two theories: Category & Scale Grammar (Halliday 1961) and Systemic Functional Grammar (Halliday 1994).  Among the most important differences are the introduction, in the latter theory, of system and metafunction as major organising principles.

[3] This is misleading. To be clear, in IFG, the clause has three lines of structure:
  • experiential (transitivity),
  • interpersonal (mood), and
  • textual (thematic).
"As we shall see", Fawcett will misrepresent:
  • information as a system of the clause,
  • mood structure as two structures, and
  • thematic structure as two structures.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Summary Of The Differences Between "Categories" And IFG2 [2]

Fawcett (2010: 101-2):
We have seen that the influence of "Categories" on IFG does not at first appear to be very strong, in terms of the overt use of its concepts. But we have also seen that, if we read the descriptive chapters of IFG with "Categories" in mind, we find that the two concepts of 'element of structure' and 'class of unit' are present throughout the book (even though the latter is hardly ever referred to overtly). And the concept of 'units on a rank scale' (around which the "Categories" framework is structured) is also present, though it seems to be kept in the background except when it is brought in for the two purposes of (1) explaining the limitations on 'rank shift', and (2) providing the criterion by which the classes of group recognised in IFG are set up. Interestingly, however, Halliday injects a note of caution about the concept of the 'rank scale' (IFG p. 12), and we shall examine his words at this point more closely in the context of other such indications in the full discussions of 'rank' in Section 11.1 of Chapter 11 and of 'embedding' in Sections 11.8.3 to 11.8.5.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, "Categories" (Halliday 1961) and IFG (Halliday 1994) present two different theories:  the superseded Scale & Category Grammar and the current Systemic Functional Grammar, respectively.

[2] To be clear, as previously pointed out, the IFG chapters on groups and phrases and group and phrase complexes are both organised on the basis of 'class of unit'.

[3] To be clear, the rank scale of units forms the basis of the book's organisation, and in terms of theory, each rank unit on the scale provides the entry condition to system networks of functions.

[4] As previously demonstrated, this is misleading because it is the opposite of what is true. See Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On The Concept Of Rank Scale.

[5] It will be seen in the examination of Chapter 11 that Fawcett confuses embedding with nesting (internal bracketing).

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Summary Of The Differences Between "Categories" And IFG2 [1]

Fawcett (2010: 101):
From the viewpoint of comparing the theoretical framework that underlies IFG with that of other works in SFL, IFG is disappointing. Despite the twenty-two pages of its "Introduction" and another thirty-three pages of two further introductory chapters that are largely about 'constituency', IFG does not provide even a brief summary of the theoretical framework that underlies the description of English given in the book.

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, Fawcett concludes that IFG (Halliday 1994) is disappointing on two grounds:
  1. his comparison of the number of index entries in IFG for terms in a different theory: Category & Scale Grammar (Halliday 1961); and
  2. the absence of a theoretical summary in the work which explicitly states in its introduction (1994: xxvii):
This is not an account of systemic theory. 

Friday, 25 October 2019

Confusing Formal Constituent With Functional Element In Misrepresenting Halliday (1994)

Fawcett (2010: 101):
To summarise; while the evidence of the index is that only one of the "Categories" concepts, i.e., 'element', is referred to throughout the description of English in IFG, the fact is that, if we supplement these references by all of the many other times when terms such as "constituent" and "function" are used to express essentially the same concept, we find that the concept of 'element of structure' occurs frequently throughout the book. And we saw in Section 6.2.1 that 'class of unit' is presupposed throughout the book, even though it is barely mentioned. We can therefore at least say that the two concepts that will be foregrounded in Part 2 as the central categories of syntax also play a central role in IFG. The only caveat — and it is an important one — is that we shall use different criteria for identifying the class of a unit from Halliday's — so that the concept itself is significantly different. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, Fawcett has used a word count, based on the index of Halliday (1994), to determine the salience of theoretical concepts in Halliday's superseded 1961 theory ("Categories") in Halliday's theory that replaced it, Systemic Functional Grammar.

[2] This is misleading. In SFL theory, constituency is modelled as a rank scale of form, whereas 'element' refers to a function in a structure.  For example, a nominal group is a constituent of a clause, whereas a Sayer is an element of the function structure of a verbal clause.

[3] As previously demonstrated, this is misleading, because it is not true. For example, the notion of 'class of unit' provides the underlying organisation of chapters on both groups and phrases and group and phrase complexes. Moreover it is misleading in another way, since Halliday (1994: 12) explicitly states, with regard to the notion of grammatical form in general:
One of the aims of this initial chapter has been to introduce the notion of constituency, so that it becomes familiar as a general principle of organisation in language and can be taken for granted throughout the subsequent discussion.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On The Notion Of Delicacy


Fawcett (2010: 100):
As for the concept of 'delicacy', it is not mentioned at all in IFG. However, it is illustrated at various points in the book in one of its two main "Categories" senses, i.e., in terms of the 'primary', 'secondary' and even 'tertiary' structures that are shown for the 'thematic' and 'interpersonal' structures that Halliday recognises in the clause. (For a discussion of the relevance of 'delicacy' to a modern theory of SF syntax, see Section 10.3.4 of Chapter 10.)

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, in SFL theory, delicacy is the scale from the most general features in a system network to the most specific features. That is, delicacy is a dimension of paradigmatic systems, not a dimension of syntagmatic structure.

[2] To be clear, "Categories" (Halliday 1961) presents Halliday's early (superseded) theory, known as Scale & Category Grammar. This is a distinct theory from Halliday's later (current) theory known as Systemic Functional Grammar.

[3] To be clear, here — and in Section 10.3.4 — Fawcett mistakes delicacy, which, in SFL theory, is an elaborating relation in paradigmatic systems, with composition, which is an extending relation in syntagmatic structures. The structures that Fawcett discusses are Finite and Subject as components of the Mood element of structure, and textual, interpersonal and topical Themes as components of the Theme element of structure.

As can be seen from the systems of Theme and Mood (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 106, 162), below, these "secondary" structural elements do not feature as more delicate systemic choices:

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Misrepresenting The Theoretical Importance Of Realisation In Halliday (1994)


Fawcett (2010: 100):
The term "realisation" (formerly "exponence") is not prominent in IFG either (with half a dozen index entries), but this is not surprising in a book about the outputs from the grammar — i.e., the instances at the level of form — rather than about how they are to be generated from the system networks. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, realisation is the fundamental relation of semiotic systems, namely: the relation between levels of symbolic abstraction, such as between
  • signifié and signifiant,
  • content and expression,
  • function and form,
  • meaning and wording,
  • paradigmatic system and syntagmatic structure.

[2] To be clear, the discussions of realisation in IFG are significant.  For example, Halliday (1994: 15) identifies realisation as the relation between strata:
The grammar, in this broader sense of lexicogrammar, is the level of 'wording' in a language.  The wording is expressed, or REALISED, in the form of sound or writing; hence the two levels of phonology and graphology serve as alternative modes of expression. We usually the metaphor of vertical space and say that phonology and graphology are the strata 'below' the grammar.  At the same time, the wording REALISES pattern of another level 'higher than' itself — but still within the system of language: the stratum of SEMANTICS.
Halliday (1994: 38) identifies realisation as the relation between function and form:
First position in the clause is not what defines the Theme; it is the means whereby the function of Theme is realised in the grammar of English.
In outlining the model of grammatical metaphor, Halliday (1994: 342) identifies realisation as the relation between semantics and lexicogrammar:
In other words, for any given semantic configuration, there will be some realisation in the lexicogrammar — some wording — that can be considered CONGRUENT; there may be also various others that are in some respect 'transferred', or METAPHORICAL.
And Halliday (1994: 343) identifies realisation as the relation between paradigmatic system and syntagmatic structure:
(i) selection of process type: material, mental, relational, with their various intermediate and secondary types; realised as
(ii) configuration of transitivity functions: Actor, Goal, Senser, Manner, etc. representing the process, its participants, and any circumstantial elements.

[3] As previously explained, in Fawcett's model, 'instance at the level of form' corresponds to grammatical structure.  That is, Fawcett's model confuses the relation between system and instance (instantiation) with the relation between paradigmatic system and syntagmatic structure (realisation).

Friday, 18 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On The Concept Of Rank Scale

Fawcett (2010: 100):
Interestingly, Halliday seems to be sounding a note of caution about the concept of the 'rank scale' when he writes that, while "the guiding principle [when one is describing a text] is that of exhaustiveness at each rank, [...] 
it is an integral feature of this same guiding principle that there is indeterminacy in its application. [...] The issue is whether, in a comprehensive interpretation of the system, it is worth maintaining the global generalisation, because of its explanatory power, even though it imposes local complications at certain places in the description [my emphasis]" (Halliday 1994:12). 

Blogger Comments:

Here Fawcett misleads through strategic omission. This can be demonstrated by restoring the text — in green below — that Fawcett chooses to omit. Halliday (1994: 12):
There is a clearly defined hierarchy in writing, with just a few ranks, or layers of structure, in it: sentence, some sort of sub-sentence, word and letter. The guiding principle is that of exhaustiveness at each rank: a word consists of a whole number of letters, a sub-sentence of a whole number of words, a sentence of a whole number of sub-sentences. At the same time, there is room for manœuvre: in other words, it is an integral feature of this same guiding principle that there is indeterminacy in its application; and we have met this already — for example, is there one layer of sub-sentences or are there two? Such issues will be resolved empirically; but not by single instances of jousting between examples and counter-examples. The issue is whether, in a comprehensive interpretation of the system, it is worth maintaining the global generalisation, because of its explanatory power, even though it imposes local complications at certain places in the description.

[1] As can be seen above, Halliday is not "sounding a note of caution about the concept of a rank scale".  The point he makes is that, even under the constraints imposed by the principle of exhaustiveness at each rank, there is still a degree of indeterminacy (for which, see [3] below).

[2] As can be seen above, Halliday is not concerned with describing a text, but with elaborating on his theoretical approach.

[3] As can be seen above, the complication Halliday refers to is exemplified by the indeterminacy in the number of ranks between word and sub-sentence (clause).  This is the complication of treating phrase and group as the same rank — despite the fact that a phrase includes a group — because both realise functions at clause rank.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On Rank And Rank Shift

Fawcett (2010: 100):
Interestingly, the concepts of 'rank' and 'rank shift' (alias 'embedding') have only a relatively small role to play in IFG. This is in large measure because the book focusses so strongly on the clause that groups and their internal structures are not fully explored — and the fact is that all classes of group frequently contain other groups and clauses within them, as Part 2 and the outline description of English in Appendix B both clearly illustrate. However, in IFG the theory itself is also responsible for the reduced role of 'rank shift', because it treats many relationships between units that would in other approaches be analysed as cases of embedding as 'hypotaxis', i.e., as 'dependency without embedding'.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading. To be clear, IFG (Halliday 1994) devotes four chapters (196 pages) to the rank of clause and two chapters (52 pages) to the rank of group.  Rank shift is discussed with respect to 
  • the Qualifier of nominal groups (pp187-8), 
  • the Numerative of nominal groups (pp195-6),
  • the Postmodifier of adverbial groups (pp210-1),
  • embedded expansions (pp242-50),
  • embedded locutions and ideas (pp263-4), and
  • facts (pp265-9).
[2] This is misleading, because it is the direct opposite of what is true.  The two chapters (52 pages) devoted to groups (and phrases) outline
  • the experiential and logical structure of nominal groups (pp180-91 and pp191-6),
  • the experiential and logical structure of verbal groups (pp196-8 and pp198-207),
  • the logical structure of adverbial groups (pp210-1),
  • the logical structure of conjunction groups (p211),
  • the logical structure of preposition groups (p212),
  • the experiential and interpersonal structure of prepositional phrases (pp212-3),
  • the logical structure of nominal group complexes (pp275-6),
  • the logical structure of adverbial group / prepositional phrase complexes (pp277-8),
  • the logical structure of verbal group complexes (pp278-91).
[3] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  Only nominal and adverbial groups include embedded elements (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014: 329, 424, 492); see also [4].

[4] It will be seen in later discussions that Fawcett mistakes nesting for embedding.

[5] This is true, and, moreover, as will be seen, it arises from grammatical reasoning, and results in increased explanatory power of the model.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On 'Classes Of Group'

Fawcett (2010: 99):
So far we have looked for the "basic concepts" in the opening chapters of IFG — and without much success. … However, there are two alternative approaches to locating the "basic concepts' of a book which turn out to yield more interesting results. These are to count the entries for each major concept in the book's index, and to read the text with a constant eye to the concepts that underlie it. 
Let us take as out starting point the index entries for the four 'categories'. The concept of 'unit' has just six entries, all being in the first twenty-five pages of this 434-page book. As for the concept of 'class', the word-form "class" also occurs frequently in the early pages (pp. 25-30). However, it is usually being used in the context of the highly generalised discussion of the differences between 'class-oriented' and 'function-oriented' grammars that we noted above. The word "class" in fact only occurs once with the technical meaning of 'class of unit' (on p. 214), and even then the reference is to 'word classes', rather than to the more controversial issue of 'classes of group'. Indeed, the concept of 'class of group' does not appear explicitly at all. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To remind the reader, Fawcett is here looking for the basic concepts of Halliday's previous theory, Scale & Category Grammar (1961), in a book (IFG ) that exemplifies the deployment of Halliday's later theory, Systemic Functional Grammar (1994), and that explicitly states (1994: xxvii) it is not an account of the theory.

[2] This is misleading, because it is the direct opposite of what is true.  For example, Halliday (1994: 180; 274):
In this chapter we shall examine the structure of the three main classes of group: nominal group, verbal group and adverbial group; along with a brief reference to preposition and conjunction groups. …
Groups and phrases form complexes the same way that clauses do, by parataxis or hypotaxis. Only elements having the same function can be linked in this way. Typically this will mean members of the same class: verbal group with verbal group, nominal group with nominal group and so on.
To be clear, as Halliday (1994: 27-8; 24) explains in Chapter 2:
With minimal bracketing (ranked constituent analysis) … the notion of constituency is being made to carry less of the burden of interpretation. …
… if we are using minimal bracketing some other concept is being brought in in order to explain the grammatical structure. This is where the concept of FUNCTION is introduced.
Accordingly, in SFL theory, formal constituency is modelled as a rank scale, and each unit — clause, group/phrase etc. — serves as the entry condition to a system of functions.  This is why Halliday (1994) takes the units of clause and group/phrase as the point of entry in his demonstration of grammatical functions.

Friday, 11 October 2019

On The Absence Of A Summary Statement Of Theoretical Concepts In IFG

Fawcett (2010: 98-9):
Thus, the twenty-two-page "Introduction" and the further two introductory chapters of IFG introduce many important and interesting ideas. And yet, even though much of the discussion is about 'constituency', there is no summary statement of the concepts that are required for the description of English in IFG that is in any way comparable to the earlier statement in "Categories".

Blogger Comments:

To be clear, as Halliday (1994: xxvii, xxvi) explicitly states in the Introduction:
This is not an account of systemic theory… No attempt is made to 'teach' the categories.
On the other hand, "Categories" (Halliday 1961) is an outline of a theory, though a different one: Scale & Category Grammar.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On Formal Constituency And Function Structures

Fawcett (2010: 98):
But what happens in practice, as we read on through IFG? Do "other, more abstract types of relationship" take over from 'constituency'? The fact is that they do not. The different structures that Halliday proposes for each strand of meaning are all represented in the same way, i.e., by the use of 'box diagrams'. It is true that in some cases the significant elements (such as Theme' and 'New') tend to be found at the beginning and end of their structures, but there are too many exceptions to the generalisations that he proposes for it to be worth setting up different types of structure for different types of meaning. Halliday's solution to the problem of finding an adequate notation is to use box diagrams for representing all of the various types of structure that he claims to find in the clause. But box diagrams, as Halliday himself makes clear (IFG p. 36), are just one of several ways of representing the concept of 'constituency'. (For a critical examination of the role of the concept of 'constituency' in a theory of syntax, see Section 11.1 of Chapter 11.) The picture twith which these chapters of IFG leave the reader with is one of a reluctant recognition that, after all, the 'flat tree' type of constituency provides the best way of representing structure. And, as we shall see in Chapter 7, there is a compelling reason for Halliday to represent each of the different lines of structure in the same way.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it is the exact opposite of what is true.  The metafunctional structures that Halliday proposes are more abstract than formal constituency because function is more abstract than form — form (Token) realises function (Value).

[2] To be clear, here Fawcett confuses the notion of structure (Value) with the diagrammatic representation of structure (Token), and presents the confusion as evidence that metafunctional structures are not more abstract than formal constituency.  See [1] above.

[3] Here Fawcett (bizarrely!) presents the sequencing of functions in structures as Halliday's theoretical motivation for proposing different types of metafunctional structure, rather than the nature of metafunctions themselves.  This is another instance of the red herring fallacy, a fallacy of relevance.

[4] This is misleading.  What Halliday (1994: 36) actually writes is:

[5] To be clear, Systemic Functional Grammar is not a theory of syntax. It is Fawcett's Cardiff Grammar that is a theory of syntax.

[6] To be clear, the wording 'reluctant recognition' is deeply misleading here, because it falsely implies that Halliday does not deploy a 'flat' model of constituency. As Halliday (1995 [1993]: 273) makes clear:
'Rank' is constituency based on function, and hence 'flat,' with minimal layering;
On the other hand, Fawcett here again confuses formal constituency with functional structure, and further confounds this by confusing such theoretical dimensions with their diagrammatic representation.

[7] To be clear, the review of Chapter 7 will identify the knot of confusions on which Fawcett's claim is based.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On Constituency, Metafunction And Structure

Fawcett (2010: 98):
From the viewpoint of our purposes in this book, it is a matter of regret that Halliday did not use a greater proportion of the "Introduction" and the two introductory chapters to provide a guide to the theoretical framework that underlies the description of English in the rest of the book. Indeed, a number of readers of the book — and indeed reviewers of the book — have expressed the view that the general discussions of 'constituency' are not what the reader needs at that stage of the book (if at all).
Surprisingly, Halliday himself drastically downgrades the importance of 'constituency' at the end of Chapter 1 when he suggests that, "as one explores language more deeply, constituency gradually slips into the background, and explanations come more and more to involve other, more abstract kinds of relationship" (IFG p. 16). (Readers will only understand what Halliday is hinting at here if they are familiar with his idea that the meanings of the different metafunctions' are realised in different types of structure — a view that we shall explore in Section 7.1.1 of the next chapter.) 

Blogger Comments:

[1] As Halliday (1994: xxvii, xxvi) explicitly states in the Introduction:
This is not an account of systemic theory… No attempt is made to 'teach' the categories.
[2] To be clear, mere opinion — even if sourced — is not reasoned argument based on evidence.  More importantly, the reason Halliday begins with the notion of constituency is in order to to guide the reader gently from the more familiar and less abstract to the less familiar and more abstract.

[3] This is misleading. To be clear, this is not at all surprising to any reader who understands what Halliday has written in the chapter (which is Chapter 2, not Chapter 1).  As Halliday (1994: 27-8) explains:
With minimal bracketing (ranked constituency analysis), only those items are identified that have some recognisable function in the structure of the larger unit. This means that the notion of constituency is being made to carry less of the burden of interpretationThe concept of constituent structure is much weaker in a functional grammar than a formal one.
[4] The wordings 'only understand' and 'hinting at' here are very misleading indeed, and pettily so. To be clear, Halliday introduces the notion of metafunction and the different types of structure immediately after the discussion of grammatical constituency — in the very same chapter.

Friday, 4 October 2019

On There Typically Being Several More Than Three Strands Of Meaning In The Clause


Fawcett (2010: 97-8):
We shall now return to our search for a summary of the underlying concepts of IFG. The last two sections of IFG's Chapter 2 are directly useful to the reader, as they introduce the second major concept — after the concept of 'class of unit' — that underlies the structure of the book: the 'multiple structure' that Halliday's model claims that each clause has. Here he introduces the concept that there are three structures that show "three strands of meaning" in the clause (IFG p. 34) — though in fact there are typically several more than three, as we shall see in Section 7.2 of the next chapter.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, because it misrepresents IFG. Halliday (1994: xxvii, xxvi) explicitly states in the Introduction:
This is not an account of systemic theory… No attempt is made to 'teach' the categories.
[2] This is misleading, because it misrepresents a major concept Fawcett's model, 'class of unit', as a major concept of Halliday's model.  To be clear, Systemic Functional Grammar prioritises function over form.

[3] To be clear, the three functional configurations of the clause are metafunctional: textual, interpersonal and experiential.  It will be seen in the review of Chapter 7 that Fawcett (p114):
  • misrepresents INFORMATION as a system of the clause,
  • misrepresents logico-semantic relations as a system of the clause, and
  • misrepresents the interpersonal structure of the clause as two distinct structures, with the difference between them misunderstood as a difference in delicacy.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday (1994) On 'Class Of Unit'

Fawcett (2010: 96-7):
However, Halliday makes a claim in this section that runs counter to the view of syntax to be taken here, and we shall address it at this point. The claim is that grammars which use "maximal bracketing" (e.g., most grammars in the tradition that uses 're-write rules' such as "S -> NP VP") tend also to use 'class' labels (such as "noun phrase") in their tree diagrams, while grammars that use 'minimal bracketing' (i.e., most grammars in the functional tradition) tend to use 'functional' labels (such as "Subject"). At first this may seem to be a neat matching of two pairs of concepts, but in fact it does not correspond to the way in which descriptions of structure are made in a modern SF grammar — even in Halliday's own version. The reason is that in all SF grammars — including IFG the concept of 'class of unit' is as central as the concept of 'element of structure'.
Indeed, the way in which the book itself is structured demonstrates this point — even though the concept of 'class of unit' is hardly mentioned outside the discussion in Chapter 2. Thus all of Part I of IFG is about the clause (a 'class of unit'), and each of the various chapters of Part II is defined in relation to the clause ("above", "below", "beside", "around" and even "beyond" the clause). And the sections of Chapter 6, which is about groups and phrases, are all identified in terms of the 'class of unit' that is being described. Thus, even though the concept of 'class of unit' is itself barely mentioned, the whole book is, in a sense, structured around it. As we shall see in Part 2, 'class of unit' is one of the two core categories, with 'element of structure', that are required in a modern theory of SF syntax.
Thus, while Halliday is right in pointing out that the formal, 're-write rule' tradition in linguistics typically ignores the concept of 'element' in favour of 'class', he goes too far in suggesting that 'functional grammars' necessarily foreground 'element' (or "function" in the sense of 'functional element') over 'class of unit'.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, what Halliday (1994: 27) actually writes is:
Maximal bracketing is associated with class labelling
Minimal bracketing is associated with functional labelling
[2] This is misleading, because it is the opposite of what is true.  Halliday's version of Halliday's theory uses functional labelling (e.g Actor, Process, Goal) for the structures at each rank (e.g clause).

[3] This is misleading, because it is the opposite of what is true.  Because Systemic Functional Grammar is a functional theory, elements of function structure are more "central" to the theory than classes of form.

[4] To be clear, IFG is organised in terms of the rank scale because each rank provides the entry condition to the paradigmatic system of functions that are realised syntagmatically as function structures.

[5] To be clear, 'clause' is a unit, as distinct from a class of unit, such as 'adverbial clause'.

[6] As we shall see in the examination of Part 2, Fawcett confuses constituency (e.g nominal group) with element of function structure (e.g. Subject).

[7] This is misleading, because it is untrue. Chapter 2 of IFG (Halliday 1994: 17-36) says nothing whatsoever about the "formal 're-write rule' tradition in linguistics".

[8] This is misleading.  What Halliday (1994: 27-8) actually writes is:
In using maximal bracketing (immediate constituency analysis), the grammarian is trying to explain as much as possible by reference to the notion of constituency; this means putting a bracket where each successive construction can be shown to occur, whether or not that item is functional in the context of the larger structure. With minimal bracketing (ranked constituency analysis), only those items are identified that have some recognisable function in the structure of the larger unit. This means that the notion of constituency is being made to carry less of the burden of interpretation. The concept of constituent structure is much weaker in a functional grammar than a formal one.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Misrepresenting Bracketing Notation

Fawcett (2010: 96):
The next two sections of Chapter 2 describe the differences between "maximal bracketing" and "minimal bracketing" — i.e., what Hudson earlier (1967/81:103) called the "few-ICs approach" vs. the "many-ICs approach (where "ICs" stands for "Immediate Constituents"). Here, we should understand that the term "bracketing" refers to a concept rather than a notation, but it is derived from the ultimately misleading concept that 'constituency' in syntax can be adequately represented by a linear representation of a bracketed string of words and/or morphemes. (See Section 11.2 of Chapter 11 for a discussion of alternative notations for representing the 'componence' part of 'constituency'.)

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, it is Halliday's discussion of maximal and minimal bracketing that provides the argument that explains why a functional approach necessarily entails adopting the ranked constituency approach (minimal bracketing); see previous post.

[2] This is misleading, because it is the exact opposite of what is true.  Bracketing is a notation; it is a means — along with tree structure diagrams — of representing constituency analysis, whether immediate constituency or ranked constituency.

[3] This is misleading, because it is untrue.  The linear representation of minimal or maximal bracketing expresses precisely the same constituency analysis as a tree diagram, which is Fawcett's preferred mode of representation.

[4] To be clear, as previously explained, Systemic Functional Grammar is not a theory of syntax.

[5] To be clear, Fawcett also (unwittingly) adopts the ranked constituency approach, but uses tree structures, rather than minimal bracketing, as his means of representation, but confuses formal constituents (clause and nominal group) with functional elements of structure (S/Ag, M, C/Af, h, dd, &). Fawcett (2010: 260):
 
In the above analysis, Fawcett interprets a graphological structure signal (Halliday 1994: 3) as a clause constituent (E).

Friday, 27 September 2019

Misrepresenting Halliday's IFG2 Chapter 2: Towards A Functional Grammar

Fawcett (2010: 96):
It is only in Chapter 2 that we reach the application of the 'constituency' concepts discussed in Chapter 1 to grammar itself, and Halliday simply presents the concept of a 'rank scale' of units from 'sentence' to 'morpheme' as "strengthening this conception of grammatical structure" (IFG p. 23). The concepts are simply presented to the reader, with no attempt to justify them as preferable to alternatives by supportive arguments. This is understandable in a work that is presented as a textbook but it does not help us in our quest to understand the theory that underlies the description. In fact they are open to challenge, as we shall see in Section 11.1 of Chapter 11.

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is very misleading indeed, because it is deeply untrue.  Halliday clearly sets out the reasons why a functional approach is based on a rank scale, that is: a ranked constituent analysis (minimal bracketing) rather than immediate constituency analysis (maximal bracketing). For example, Halliday (1994: 22-3):
Literally interpreted, the wording 'minimal bracketing' would presumably mean no bracketing at all.  It does not mean that, of course; what it means is functional bracketing — bracketing together only those sequences that have some function relative to a larger unit. …
If we use maximal bracketing, we are taking the concept of bracketing as a powerful explanatory device; in other words, we are attempting to explain as much of grammar as possible in terms of constituent structure.  The concept of constituency is being made to do a lot of work.  If we use minimal bracketing, we are relegating the concept of bracketing to a less important role, requiring the notion of constituency to take us only a limited way in the explanation of the grammar, and no further. This means, of course, that we have to bring in other concepts to take over the burden of interpretation where constituent structure is no longer relevant.  The concepts in question are, in the first instance, functional ones. …
The rank scale provides the basis for a constituent analysis of the 'minimal bracketing' type. In minimal bracketing, each node corresponds to a unit on the rank scale; this is why we refer to it as a 'ranked' constituent analysis. …
We can see now more clearly the difference between the two ways of bracketing.  Maximal bracketing is a statement of the order of composition of the constituent parts. It expresses the idea that some constructions are more closely bonded than others, to the extent that, given any grammatical structure, it is possible to specify the order in which all the pieces are put together, pair by pair. …
It says nothing about the function that any of the pieces have in any construction; in fact it does not imply that they have any function at all. … This is in marked contrast to minimal bracketing, which means putting together as constituents only those sequences that actually function as structural units in the item in question.
It follows from this that, as we expressed it earlier, maximal bracketing is a way of explaining as much as possible about linguistic structure by means of the notion of constituency. … With minimal bracketing we are merely saying: combine those and two and tall and trees, in a single operation; the result is a group consisting of four words. This tells us very little, and so it suggests that if we are using minimal bracketing some other concept is being brought in in order to explain the grammatical structure. This is where the concept of FUNCTION is introduced. It will be necessary to to say something about the particular function that each part has with respect to the structure as a whole. 

[2] As previously noted, Halliday (1994: xxvii, xxvi) explicitly states in the Introduction:
This is not an account of systemic theory… No attempt is made to 'teach' the categories.

[3] As will be seen, in the challenge in Section 11.1, Fawcett confuses formal constituent (rank unit) with functional element of structure, thereby invalidating his argument.