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Introduction to SFL Experiential, Interpersonal and Textual meaning Lise Fontaine Cardiff University

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1 Introduction to SFL Experiential, Interpersonal and Textual meaning Lise Fontaine Cardiff University FontaineL@cf.ac.uk

2 Todays outline: the Introductory Programme General introduction to the 3 main metafunctions Experiential Interpersonal Textual Summary Questions - discussion

3 Introductory Programme Functional Grammar Lexicogrammar Functions of the clause and clause structure Spoken Language Phonology Intonation Text and Discourse Theme Information Structure

4 Grammatical Meaning Language as system of meanings When people use language, their language acts produce – construct meaning. (Bloor and Bloor, 2004:2) how meaning is built up through choices of words and grammatical resources grammar (ibid.) : semantic (concerned with meaning) functional (concerned with use) lexicogrammar (words and grammar are inextricably linked)

5 Multi-functional view of grammar each bit of language (e.g. Clause) expresses more than one type of meaning/function/use more than one way of looking at meaning 3 main strands of meaning sentence as representation of some phenomenon in the real world sentence as social interaction sentence as text

6 Grammatical choice I was given the new Jamie book for my birthday Kev gave me the new Jamie book for my birthday For my birthday, Kev gave me the new Jamie book I got the new Jamie book for my birthday Did Kev give me the new Jamie book for my birthday? Kev gave me the Jamie book for my birthday didnt he? Context

7 a useful metaphor: multifunctional view of the clause the clause experiential interpersonal textual logical different strands of meaning

8 I wasn't born into this party. I chose it. I've never joined another political party. I believe in it. I'm proud to be the leader of it and it's the party I'll always live in and I'll die in. Special conference, April 29 1995 example of language in use Tony Blair

9 "Like most people of my generation, I wasnt born into a political party. I am a liberal by choice, by temperament and by conviction. And when I talk to the people I represent, I become more convinced every day that only liberalism offers the answers to the problems they face." October 19th, 2007 Nick Clegg

10 Language as a (complex) system…. … of CHOICES among meanings I chose the labour party I am a liberal by choice Are they saying the same thing?

11 form and meaning system representation meanings forms stop go traffic control

12 language as semantic system language - a resource for communicating meanings to our fellow human beings potential sign system; potential text – an output of the language system an instance of language in use instance sign; instance

13 The sociosemantic nature of discourse (Halliday, 1978:128) Basic assumptions The semantic system is one of three strata (levels) of the linguistic system Semantic (the meaning) Lexicogrammatical (the wording: syntax, lexis, morphology) Phonological (the sound) The semantic system is made up of 3 main functional components Experiential Component Interpersonal Component Textual Component

14 Language as a (complex) system of choices among meanings Experiential Textual Interpersonal (Representing experience) (Speaker – Addressee interaction) (Organisation (text/language)) I chose (the labour party) I am a liberal by choice 3 (main) strands of Meaning clause

15 Experiential meaning: expressing the CONTENT; expressing the processes and other phenomena of the external world including thoughts, feelings, etc. (Halliday, 1978:48) The experiential component serves to "express our experience of the world that is around us and inside us" (Halliday, 1970) The Clause represents experience speaker as Observer

16 The Clause – a representation The clause is a configuration of a process, participants involved in it and any attendant circumstances (Halliday and Matthiessen, 2004:169) experience as events or goings-on Three components: 1. A PROCESS unfolding through time 2. The PARTICIPANT ( S ) involved in the process 3. C IRCUMSTANCE ( S ) associated with the process

17 Whats going on? Whats being represented? Kev gave me the new Jamie book for my birthday Someone is giving someone something Event of giving the Process Participating entities the Participants Why? Circumstance

18 Circumstance elements optional elements of the clause peripheral not directly involved in the process occur 'freely' in all types of processes (in theory) for Halliday, they do not have the potential of becoming Subjects PARTICIPANTS are "inherent" in the process process participantscircumstancesparticipants circumstances

19 3 main types of Experiential meaning Representing Experience Material Mental Relational « Outer » experiences Something happens There is a « doer » an ACTOR Ex: John drove the car. « Inner » experiences Something is sensed Internal world of the mind There is a SENSER Ex: John sees the car. Relating concepts Relating two concepts that refer in some way to the same thing Ex. John is the driver.

20 Material Process Type Process:material Proto-typical Action events doing, happening; physical actions Most salient type of process Participants: Actor, Goal, Beneficiary Performer of the action – Actor Impacted/affected by the action – Goal Benefits/receives from the action - Beneficiary Eat, kick, jump, hit, drive, walk, run, cook, etc. What did someone do? What happened?

21 Mental Process Type Process:mental Internal processes States of mind; senses Knowing, thinking, seeing, hearing,... Participants: Senser, Phenomenon Undergoing/experiencing – Senser Thing experienced – Phenomenon think, know, see, hear, like, want,... What did someone think or see or want?

22 Relational Process Types Process:relational Being; relating Processes that describe or identify something; express a relation between two concepts/entities Participants: Carrier, Attribute; Identified, Identifier The thing that carries the attribute – Carrier The attribute being ascribed – Attribute The identified entity – Identified The identifying entity - Identifier What is it? Who is it? What properties does something have? Be

23 Transitivity system

24 Same experience process: material (giving) I was given the new Jamie book for my birthday Kev gave me the new Jamie book for my birthday For my birthday, Kev gave me the new Jamie book I got the new Jamie book for my birthday Did Kev give me the new Jamie book for my birthday? Kev gave me the Jamie book for my birthday didnt he? 3 participants, 1 circumstance

25 I chose the labour party I am a liberal by choice Are they saying the same thing? Material Process: Tony Blair did something (Actor) Relational Process: Nik Clegg is described by something (Carrier); he is being something

26 Interpersonal meaning expressing relations among participants in the situation and the speakers own intrusion into it (Halliday, 1978:46) The Clause expresses (inter)personal relations Speaker as Intruder

27 Key elements for Interpersonal meaning and the Mood system The Subject of the clause the Finite element of the verb group The main system concerned is the MOOD system Experiential Textual Interpersonal Transitivity Theme MOOD clause indicative imperative interrogative declarative

28 2 key components: Mood and Residue In English, MOOD is determined by Subject and Finite: I have told you have you told me? no you haven't (you) tell me! SUBJECT and FINITE together form the main component of the clause at this level of analysis – Mood Block Declarative Interrogative Declarative Imperative Interpersonal meaning: Clause as exchange

29 Each « Finite » clause contains a VERBAL OPERATOR which expresses finiteness In SFL, the finite element gives the (clause) a point of reference: Tense Person Modality Mood The FINITE in English is a VERBAL OPERATOR which expresses either : TENSE or MODALITY The clause in English can be FINITE or NON-FINITE

30 Clause as exchange Hallidays metaphor of symbolic exchange Role in exchange Goods and services Information GivingOfferStatement SeekingCommandQuestion proposalproposition SPEECH FUNCTION

31 Clause as exchange – an example Role in exchange Goods and servicesInformation Give Offer Ill pick it up Statement John said he would pick it up Seek Command Pick it up yourself Question Cant John pick it up tomorrow? Can anyone pick up the parcel at the post office?

32 Clause as exchange Role in exchange Goods and servicesInformation Give Offer Declarative Ill pick it up Statement Declarative John said he would pick it up Seek Command Imperative Pick it up yourself Question Interrogative Cant John pick it up tomorrow? Direct (or congruent) exchanges

33 Clause as exchange Role in exchange Goods and servicesInformation Give Offer Interrogative Could I pick it up for you? Statement Interrogative How should I know? Seek Command Declarative Id like you to pick up the parcel Question Declarative I wonder who could pick up the parcel for me Indirect (or incongruent) exchanges

34 Kind of Modality Modal FiniteMood (Modal) Adjuncts probabilitymay, might, can, could, will, would, should, must probably, possibly, certainly, perhaps, maybe usualitymay, might, can, could, will, would, should, must usually, sometimes, always, never, ever, seldom, rarely obligationmay, might, can, could, should, must definitely, absolutely, possibly, at all costs, by all means readiness (inclination and ability) may, might, can, could, will, would, must, shall, can, could willingly, readily, gladly, certainly, easily The speakers own intrusion into the situation

35 Working with interpersonal meaning I was given the new Jamie book for my birthday Kev definitely gave me the new Jamie book Did Kev give me the new Jamie book? Kev might have given me the Jamie book Kev should give me the Jamie book Kev, give me that book!

36 According to Halliday (1978: 48): The TEXTUAL Function is intrinsic to language. « It is the function of creating text, or relating itself to the context – to the situation and to the preceding text » The Clause relates itself to text Speaker as Organiser or Relevance-maker

37 Key elements for Textual meaning and the Theme system The Theme of the clause The main system concerned is the THEME system Experiential Textual Interpersonal Transitivity Theme MOOD clause indicative imperative interrogative declarative material circumstance mental relational process marked unmarked

38 What is Theme? Seeing the clause as message The Textual function is the linguistic resource that lets Speakers create text. The word Text comes from Latin textere, which means to weave. A text is something woven. Theme is a key element, on which the message is hinged. Theme is defined as « the point of departure of the message … that which locates and orients the clause within its context ». (Halliday and Matthiessen, 2004:64)

39 Identifying Theme Theme corresponds to the first element having a role in transitivity: a participant, a process, or a circumstance Most commonly, the Theme will conflate with the Subject and will have a Participant role in the transitivity. marked Theme is said to be marked when it is not the Subject of the clause (ie Circumstance) Everything else in the clause is referred to as Rheme

40 Types of Theme But do you want to go? first element with a role in Experiential meaning Finite: concerns Interpersonal meaning Experiential Theme Interpersonal Theme tells us how this clause relates to others Textual Theme

41 Working with textual meaning I was given the new Jamie book for my birthday Kev gave me the new Jamie book for my birthday For my birthday, Kev gave me the new Jamie book

42 I chosetheLabourparty ActorProcess: MaterialGoal SubjectFinite/EventComplement Mood: Declarative ThemeRheme Experiential Meaning Interpersonal Meaning Textual Meaning I chose (the labour party) Multifunctional view of the clause

43 Questions?

44 References Bloor,T. & Bloor,M. (2004) The Functional Analysis of English. London: Arnold. Halliday, MAK (1978) Language as social semiotic. Edward Arnold, London.


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