Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Implicitly Endorsing Serious Misunderstandings Of Theory: Martin's Internal Conjunctive Relations

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 41):
The orientation towards tenor is thus likely to be reflected in the semantic organisation of texts operating in ‘recommending’ and ‘exploring’ contexts in the use of fairly global internal relations – called internal conjunctive relations (see Halliday & Hasan, 1976; Martin, 1992) or internal rhetorical relations (see Mann & Matthiessen, 1991).

Blogger Comment:

Ethically, this is another Lie of Omission that undermines both the learning and development of the theory in the community.

Here, the significant omission here is that Martin (1992) does not understand the distinction between internal and external conjunctive relations, as demonstrated here.

The reason why this undermines the learning, and therefore the development, of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory is that, for the newcomer and the less theoretically-oriented, it functions as an endorsement of work whose inconsistencies derive from misunderstandings of Halliday's theory. This affects the brighter students all the more, since they will be able to see the inconsistencies, but risk internalising them as failures of their own understanding, thereby undermining their confidence with regard to theory.

In terms of academic practice, and intellectual integrity, citing poor work, merely because it is work purported to be done within the SFL framework, owes more to the nepotism of organisations like the Freemasons than to a scientific approach to theory-building.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Implicitly Endorsing Serious Misunderstandings Of Theory: Martin's Field, Tenor And Mode

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 33):
While there are still no comprehensive descriptions of the context of culture, the general categories of context have been known for a long time – see Halliday, McIntosh & Strevens (1964: 90–94); and they have been explored under the headings of field, tenor and mode (e.g. Hasan, 1973; Halliday, 1978; Halliday & Hasan, 1985; Martin, 1992).

Blogger Comments:

Ethically, this is another Lie of Omission that undermines both the learning and development of the theory in the community.

Here, the significant omission here is:
  • Martin (1992) does not describe context of culture in his explorations of field, tenor and mode;
  • Martin (1992) misapplies field, tenor and mode to register (language) instead of context.
The theorising in Martin (1992) is inconsistent with the architecture of SFL theory and inconsistent with itself.  This double inconsistency complicates any meticulous critique of Martin's theorising.  For example:
  • Martin misconstrues context of culture as genre; and
  • Martin misconstrues context of situation as register.
Martin misinterprets the dimensions of context, the systems field, tenor and mode, as dimensions of register. That is, he misconstrues an instance of the cultural context (situation) as a sub-potential of language (register).

Further inconsistencies arise where Martin uses the term 'field', without distinction, to refer to both 'activity sequences' in the text — i.e. semantics, not context — and 'activity sequences' in the material environment of the text.

Detailed explanatory critiques are available at the following links:
Again, the reason why this undermines the learning, and therefore the development, of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory is that, for the newcomer and the less theoretically-oriented, it functions as an endorsement of work whose inconsistencies derive from misunderstandings of Halliday's theory. This affects the brighter students all the more, since they will be able to see the inconsistencies, but risk internalising them as failures of their own understanding, thereby undermining their confidence with regard to theory.

Again, in terms of academic practice, and intellectual integrity, citing poor work, merely because it is work purported to be done within the SFL framework, owes more to the nepotism of organisations like the Freemasons than to a scientific approach to theory-building. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Implicitly Endorsing Serious Misunderstandings Of Theory: Martin's Register And Genre

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 29n):
Here the term ‘register’ thus refers to a functional variety of language (see e.g. Halliday, 1978; Hasan, 1973; Matthiessen, 1993b; Ghadessy, 1993; Lukin et al., 2008). It has also been used in a related, but different way, to refer to the contextual values associated with such a functional variety (see Martin, 1992, and other contributions to the ‘genre model’ within systemic functional linguistics; cf. Matthiessen, 1993b).

Blogger Comment:

In ethics, this is known as a Lie of Omission, and it is one of the practices in the SFL community that undermines both the learning and development of the theory in the community.
A lie of omission is a method of deception and duplicity that uses the technique of simply remaining silent when speaking the truth would significantly alter the other person's capacity to make an informed decision.
Also known as a continuing misrepresentation, a lie by omission occurs when an important fact is left out in order to foster a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions.
Here, the significant omission here is:

A. Martin's use of 'register' is:
  1. inconsistent with the notion of register,
  2. inconsistent with the notion of context, and
  3. inconsistent with Systemic Functional Linguistic theory;
Evidence here.

B.  Martin's use of 'genre' is:
  1. inconsistent with the notion of genre,
  2. inconsistent with the notion of context,
  3. inconsistent with Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, and
  4. not equivalent to Martin's use of 'register'.
Evidence here.

The reason why this undermines the learning, and therefore the development, of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory is that, for the newcomer and the less theoretically-oriented, it functions as an endorsement of work whose inconsistencies derive from misunderstandings of Halliday's theory. This affects the brighter students all the more, since they will be able to see the inconsistencies, but risk internalising them as failures of their own understanding, thereby undermining their confidence with regard to theory.

In terms of academic practice, and intellectual integrity, citing poor work, merely because it is work purported to be done within the SFL framework, owes more to the nepotism of organisations like the Freemasons than to a scientific approach to theory-building.