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Transitivity System Laurea Magistrale October 23 rd, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Transitivity System Laurea Magistrale October 23 rd, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Transitivity System Laurea Magistrale October 23 rd, 2009

2 CONTEXTCONTEXT Context of Culture Ideology Genre Context of Situation Register FieldTenorMode TEXTTEXT Discourse- Semantic Level Experiential Meaning How the writer describes what is going on Who does what to whom, when, where and how? Interpersonal Meaning How the writer describes his attitude to himself, the reader and the subject What is the writers attitude to himself, the reader, and the subject? Textual Meaning How the writer organizes the content of the text How is the content of the text organized? Lexical RelationsConversational StructureReference & Conjunction Lexico- Grammar Level Transitivity System Participants Processes Circumstances Clause as Representation Grammatical Metaphor Mood System Mood Modality: Degree of probability or obligation Appraisal Clause as Exchange Thematic System Theme & Rheme Given & New Information Clause as Message ExpressionGraphology / Phonology

3 The term text refers to any instance of language, in any medium, that makes sense to someone who knows the language (cf. Halliday and Hasan, 1976: Chapter 1). To a grammarian, text is a rich, many-faceted phenomenon that means in many different ways. It can be explored from many different points of view. (Halliday 2004: 3)

4 A text is the product of ongoing selection in a very large network of systems – a system network. Systemic theory gets its name from the fact that the grammar of a language is represented in the form of system networks, not as an inventory of structures. Of course, structure is an essential part of the description; but it is interpreted as the outward form taken by systemic choices, not as the defining characteristic of language. A language is a resource for making meaning, and meaning resides in systemic patterns of choice. (ibid: 23)

5 (extracted from Widdowson, H.G. Explorations in Applied Linguistics)


7 Cement–clay grouts modified with acrylic resin or methyl methacrylate ester: Physical and mechanical properties Construction and Building Materials 21 (2007) 252–257 A 5-nuclease real-time reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction assay for the detection of a broad range of influenza A subtypes, including H5N1 Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease Scientific Research Article

8 Transitivity = information about the Ideational meaning (Experiential + Logical meanings) of a text as well as the Field variable of register. Basic aspects of Transitivity: Types of Processes (nature of Participants) Grammatical Metaphor

9 Clause as representation Language is a means of representing the world. More precisely: a means of representing worlds. Language encodes our experience. It plays a crucial role in our involvement with other people. Analyzing events, people, and things in terms of what is represented, we shall use the terms process and participant.

10 The process = the part of the clause that is realized by the verbal group. What goings- on are represented in the whole clause? The participants = the entities involved in the process. Participants are not always human or even animate. We also find inanimate participants.

11 Process: Material The prototypical action-type clause is called: material process clause, labelled as Process: material. Most material processes could reasonably be said to involve doing-words. Actor = The performer of an action (Process). Goal = The person, the animal or the thing that undergoes the action. Beneficiary = The participant that does not undergo the impact of the Process (Goal), but actually benefits from the Process.


13 Process: Mental Mental processes involve processes that can be best described as states of mind or psychological events. Verbs that express mental processes are: think, know, see, feel, smell, hear, want, like, hate, please, disgust, admire, enjoy, fear, frighten. They do not involve doing-words. Senser = The participant experiencing the process. It is a sentient being. A human or at least animate creature. Phenomenon = what is experienced. It can be animate or inanimate. It can also be realized as a clause.


15 Process: Relational Relational processes can be realized by the verb be other copular verbs: e.g. seem, appear, become verbs such as have, own, possess. Relational processes can be distinguished in Attributive Processes and Identifying Processes.




19 Grammatical Metaphor Focus on M ETAPHOR as a LINGUISTIC PHEONOMENON in English As a linguistic phenomenon, metaphor can take on two major forms: it can be a lexical mechanism, i.e. a feature which belongs to the lexis or vocabulary of a language; it can be a grammatical phenomenon, i.e. a special resource of the grammar of a language Etymology Greek meta-, beyond + phora, from pherein, to carry = a kind of movement from one thing to another, one thing is carried beyond itself to something different.

20 Lexical Metaphor Traditional concept of metaphor: basically lexical. A word, a lexeme, i.e. one particular word which does have its own literal meaning, is used to express a new figurative meaning. There is a movement from something literal to a new figurative meaning Examples : All the senior managers will be swept out He didnt grasp it The sky is crying For further study, see Lakoff and Johnsons Metaphors We Live By (1984), which introduces the notions of donor domain and recipient domain.


22 Grammatical Metaphor Halliday draws on the notion of lexical metaphor and introduces his notion of grammatical metaphor (Introduction to Functional Grammar, 1985). Halliday uses different types of nominalizations as typical instances of grammatical metaphor: Johns writing of a letter to his sister surprised me. They started a letter writing campaign Rewording: John wrote a letter to his sister (last week …)

23 Grammatical metaphor = a movement: from a process as clause (the default encoding of a process) to a process as noun phrase. Grammatical metaphor = is a variation between something common, standard, default (i.e. a process realized as a clause) and something which is extended from that (i.e. a process realized by some other form, e.g. a noun phrase). similar to the traditional type of metaphor, but lexical metaphor = from a lexeme to another lexeme grammatical metaphor = from a grammatical form or a grammatical means of expression to another grammatical form or another grammatical means of expression Thus, the grammatical metaphor consists in two aspects: the metaphorical movement the variation between the grammatical forms

24 Halliday sub-classifies the grammatical metaphor into: Experiential grammatical metaphor Logical grammatical metaphor Interpersonal grammatical metaphor

25 Experiential grammatical metaphor or nominalization

26 Nominalization frequently appears in genres such as university textbooks, academic journals, scientific writing. Generally speaking, texts which make heavy use of nominalization are able to pack in a lot of information economically. Texts rich in nominalizations usually refer to expert-to-expert communications.

27 Logical grammatical metaphor

28 Interpersonal grammatical metaphor

29 Metaphorisation in Scientific Language a) The researcher set up the equipment carefully so the experiment succeeded b) Researchers careful setting up of the equipment resulted in experimental success.

30 The metaphorical shift has involved two kinds of grammatical movement: one in rank, the other in structural configuration. From clause complex to complex noun phrase

31 Other Examples The contents of the tank are discharged by a pump Discharge of the contents of the tank is effected by a pump A station in which people observe the weather both by day and night A day and night weather observation station Oscillations depend on frequency Oscillations are frequency-dependent The tyre does not skid The tyre is non-skid Danger does not practically exist Danger is practically non-existent

32 Grammatical metaphor in translation EN IT (Scarpa 2001: ) Verb Phrase Noun Phrase Conversely, any point below […] the schedule corresponds to depreciation, improving competitiveness, and increasing aggregate demand. Viceversa, tutti i punti al di sotto della retta […] corrispondono a un deprezzamento della moneta nazionale, al miglioramento della competitività e allaumento della domanda aggregata

33 Adjective Noun Phrase In general, all these ferrous metals are very strong, relatively inexpensive, easy to form and machine, and must be protected from corrosion. I metalli ferrosi fin qui elencati presentano in genere caratteristiche di resistenza meccanica, di economicità, di deformabilità e di lavorabilità alla macchina e richiedono una protezione dalla corrosione.

34 Subordinate clause Noun / Prepositional Phrase If youre writing a legal contract, […] you can number headings, paragraphs […] Per la redazione di un contratto legale […] è possibile numerare i titoli, i paragrafi […] When they are issued, the bonds are noncurrent liabilities. Al momento dellemissione, i titoli emesis sono passività a lungo termine

35 Lexicalized Verb De-lexicalized Verb + Noun Phrase Modify / effettuare una modifica Borrow /contrarre un prestito Preposition + - ing Form Prepositional Phrase By eliminating / Attraverso leliminazione Relative clause Prepositional Phrase / Adjective a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in memory un neurotrasmettitore di fondamentale importanza nel funzionamento della memoria. Changes you want / i cambiamenti desiderati

36 Adverb + Past Participle Prepositional Phrase Currently used / di uso corrente Noun + Prepositional Phrase Il fatto che + subordinate clause The potential for capital flows to finance a current account deficit is extremely important Il fatto che i movimenti di capitali possano finanziare un disavanzo di conto corrente è estremamente importante Assume … / Take … / Suppose … Posto che + Congiuntivo Assume the upper end of the oil is open to the atmosphere […] […] posto che la sua superficie si trovi allaperto, a contatto con latmosfera […]

37 Clause Nominalization (assenza / esistenza /presenza …) The infections recur because […] / Lapparizione delle recidive è dovuto al fatto che … Because the immune system is detective / In assenza di unefficace risposta immunitaria Clause Noun A carpenter applies V-groove tongue-and-groove redwood siding to an eave soffit, using a pneumatic nail gun. Applicazione, mediante una pistola sparachiodi pneumatica, di doghe con scanalatura a V collegate a maschio e femmina per il rivestimento dellintradosso di un aggetto di gronda.

38 - ing form Noun Phrase Opening a document / Apertura di un documento Borrowing money / Accensione di debiti Prepositional phrase Subordinate clause For goods market equilibrium […] we requie a higher level of output Per raggiungere lequilibrio del mercato dei beni […] è necessario un livello più elevato di produzione Adjective Relative clause Conscious minorities / minoranze che hanno una coscienza collettiva Their farmland / la terra che coltivano

39 Bibliography Bloor T. and Bloor M., The Functional Analysis of English, London, Arnold, 2004, 2 nd edition, pp Halliday M.A.K., An Introduction to Functional Grammar, London, Arnolod, 2004, pp Halliday, M.A.K., The Language of Science, London, Continuum, 2006 Lipson M., Exploring Functional Grammar, CLUEB, Scarpa F., La Traduzione Specializzata, Milano, Hoepli, pp Widdowson H.G., Explorations in Applied Linguistics, Oxford, OUP, 1976, p.. 26

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