7.1 Advanced Theoretical Studies in Grammar: What do we mean by clause as exchange and clause as representation?

Chapter 7

CLAUSE AS EXCHANGE AND CLAUSE AS REPRESENTATION

7.1 Analyze the juxtaposition that is inherent in clause as exchange and clause as representation.

Introduction

Another level at which the clause is organised is that of exchange. Here, the clause is used to exchange information and is therefore seen as an interactive event involving both the speaker/writer and the listener/reader. Both parties play distinct roles.

 CLAUSE AS EXCHANGE/ INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION

In the exchange, four speech functions are fulfilled as illustrated below:

 

Speech function Speaker Listener’s expected response
a) Offer Have some tea accepting/declining the offer
b) Command Lie down carrying out the command
c) Statement Kenya is beautiful acknowledging e.g. Indeed it is.
d) Question Is linguistics difficult? Answering question e.g. Not at all.

 

When viewed as an exchange of information, the clause is divided into two functional elements: the mood and the residue.

 

THE MOOD ELEMENT

In turn, the mood consists of two parts:

  1. Subject- this is a nominal group
  2. Finite element- this is the part of the verbal group that carries tense or modality( g. the modality of ability expressed by the modal auxiliary ‘can’). In some cases, the finite element is fused with the main verb as in “They walked for miles”. The verb ‘walked’, apart from indicating the action, also carries the past tense (-ed) which is the finite element. Contrast this with: “They had walked for miles” in which the past tense is carried by the finite element ‘had’ (the –ed is no longer a tense but a participle/perfect aspect marker).

In declarative sentences, the subject comes before the finite element and both make up the mood as shown below. Note that S and F stand for subject and finite respectively.

 

1) The students have behaved well.
S F
M O O D

 

 

2) Several people might have escaped.
S F
M O O D

 

 THE RESIDUE

What comes after the mood is the residue. It has three elements:

  • Predicator- this is in the form of a verbal group (minus the finite part that expresses tense or modality)
  • Complement- this may be in the form of: direct object, indirect object, subject complement or object complement
  • Adjunct- this is in the form of a prepositional or adverb

 

 

  DECLARATIVE SENTENCES

In the following examples P, C and A stand for predicator, complement and adjunct respectively.

 

3) The clerk had been signing the forms in the evenings
S F P C A
M      O       O      D R      E       S       I      D      U       E

 

4) Chesang has Sang the children a lullaby just now
S F P C C A
M O O D R E S I D U E

 

5) Chesang Sang the children a lullaby everyday
S F/ P C C A
M O O D R E S I D U E

 

6) A lullaby was Sang for the children by Chesang
S F P A A
M O O D R E S I D U E

 

7) The children were Sang a lullaby by Chesang
S F P C A
M O O D R E S I D U E

 

 YES- NO INTERROGATIVES

 In yes-no interrogatives, the finite element comes before the subject as (8) below illustrates.

8) Did the students behave well?
F S P A
M        O         O         D R        E     S     I     D     U     E

 

WH- INTERROGATIVES

In wh- interrogatives however, the subject comes before the finite element if the subject is in the form of a wh- word. Consider (9).

9) Who is your teacher?
S F C
M O O D RESIDUE

Here, the wh- word (who) is the subject of the sentence. Note that in cases like this, where a form of ‘be’ has been used as a main verb, there is no predicator.

If the wh- word is not the subject, then the finite element comes before the subject as in

(10) below.

10) What are you doing?
C F S P
M    O    O     D
R               E            S          I          D        U          E

 

The wh- word (what) is equivalent to an object because this question is derived from: “You are doing what” where the word ‘what’ could stand for something like ‘English’.

 

CLAUSE AS REPRESENTATION/ IDEATIONAL FUNCTION

We use language, specifically the clause, to talk about our experiences in terms of what goes on around us, what we do and what we feel. The clause makes it possible for us to encode real as well as imaginary events. It is in this sense that the clause is seen as representation (of our realities and experiences).

The clause as representation is said to be a process involving the following three important elements:

  1. the process itself (what is going on)
  2. the participants in the process (entity doing the action and the entity affected)
  3. the circumstances associated with the process (for example the location of the happening or manner in which the action is done)

Participant appear in the form of a nominal group, processes in the form of a verbal group while circumstances could either be an adverbial or a prepositional group. The following examples illustrate.

11) The chef cooked the food slowly on a stove
Participant Process Participant Circumstance Circumstance
Nominal group Verbal group Nominal group Adverbial

group

Prepositional

group

 

The first participant (the chef) is actually an ACTOR while the second one (the food) is a GOAL (The thing that the action is directed at).

In the following sentence, we have an actor but no goal because the verb is intransitive.

12) Soldiers march majestically
Participant Process Circumstance
Nominal group Verbal group Adverbial group

 

Having looked at formal and functional grammars, it is useful to wind up the syntax section by briefly outlining the main differences between the ideas of the leading lights in the two schools. These are Chomsky and Halliday respectively.

 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FORMAL AND FUNCTIONAL GRAMMARS

  • While Chomsky regards the distinction between competence and performance as being central to language study, Halliday maintains that it is too abstract to be To him, the dividing line between the two is too thin.
  • While Halliday closely associates syntactic structures with meaning, Chomsky considerably downplays the relatedness of syntax and For him, semantics is merely meant to interpret the syntax.
  • To Chomsky, language is innate and therefore a biological phenomenon. On the contrary, Halliday sees language as a social
  • While Chomsky begins by making ideal sentences (those that are free from all errors) to test his hypotheses about the nature of language, Halliday begins by collecting actual language
  • While Chomsky looks at the grammatical knowledge in the native speaker’s mind, Halliday looks at the functions of language in a
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s