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HALLIDAY'S TRANSITIVITY SYSTEM

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Elena Cuellar

on 18 May 2014

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Transcript of HALLIDAY'S TRANSITIVITY SYSTEM

What is transitivity?
TYPES OF PROCESSES
Mental processes
PRACTICE
PRACTICE
PRACTICE
HALLIDAY'S TRANSITIVITY SYSTEM
Traditional view
: it is a grammatical feature which indicates if a verb takes a direct object (
transitive
) or not (
intransitive
).
According to Halliday
: it is a development of the old concept. Whether a verb takes or does not take a direct object is not a prime consideration. There are three components of what Halliday calls a “transitivity process”:
process
,
participants
, and
circumstances
. And the concept of transitivity depends on how these components interact in the sentence.

3 MAYOR TYPES
* Material
* Mental
* Relational

3 MINOR TYPES
* Verbal
* Existential
* Behavioural
There are three
types
of mental processes


of perception
of cognition
of affection and desideration
There are two
participants
the
Experiencer
(who perceives)
the
Phenomenon
(which is perceived)
a) We organize our mental contact with the world.
b) They show the Experiencer’s reaction to something.
c) Mental processes are typically stative and non-volitional.
(1) the human participant
reacts
to a phenomenon.
Ex.: I heard you crying


Possible constructions:
(2) the phenomenon
activates
the attention of the experiencer
Ex.:
The increase in violence horrifies most people.
1.COGNITIVE PROCESSES
It refers to the process of remembering, knowing, and other mental actions that involve the use of the mind.
Nobody
knows
his name
Beryl
thought
that you were ill
She has
forgotten
what you said
She
remembered
to leave us the key
2.PERCEPTION PROCESSES
It is an involuntary state. The perceiver receives the visual and auditory sensations non-volitionally.
I
see
the train approaching.
I
heard
her voice.
She
smells
the gas. (non-volitionally)
They
feel
sadness.
3.AFFECTIVE AND DESIDERATIVE PROCESSES
AFFECTIVE
He
likes
using the computer.
They
hate
to go to the doctor.
She
loves
her niece.
DESIDERATIVE
They can be positive or negative
Do you
want
anything else?
I
wish
to meet a beautiful lady.
She
desired
to go to university.
RELATIONAL PROCESSES
They express the notion of being or becoming in a wide sense.
There are two patterns:
IDENTIFYING
ATTRIBUTIVE
Attributive
Circumstantial
Possessive
1.Attributive process
CARRIER
ATTRIBUTE
CURRENT
RESULTING
.
We kept
quiet
.
He became
my boyfriend.
2.Circumstantial process
CARRIER
CIRCUMSTANCE (obligatory) = ATTRIBUTE
His school
is
round the corner.
(location in space)
This poem
is
by Shakespeare. (agency)
3.POSSESSIVE PROCESS
POSSESSOR
POSSESSED
Possession as Attribute:
the verb
be
is usually used. The Attribute/Possessor is encoded by a possessive pronoun or a genitive phrase.

Ex: This pen
is
mine.
This room
is
my mother’s.
Possession as Process:
use of verbs that express possession (have, own,...). The Carrier is the Possessor and the Attribute is the Possessed. Also include verbs such as lack, need, deserve, include, contain...
Ex: The girl
has
green eyes.
She
lacks
beauty.
The box
contains
glasses.
IDENTIFYING PATTERN
IDENTIFIER
IDENTIFIED
It gives the new information.
It is the element which is being identified.
Susan
is
the person you are looking for.
The Thames
is
the river where I met you.
Verbal Process
SLOGANS WITH UNEXPECTED ENDINGS
These slogans have a shocking or unexpected ending. How could they end? Say the type of process implicated.
- It relates “any kind of symbolic exchange of meaning’ (Halliday, 1985:129)
Sayer, Target, and Verbiage.
Big Ben
tells
the time in London

She
told

me
that it was raining
Sayer
Verbiage
Behavioural Process
- It relates the physical and psychological behaviors such as

Breathing
Coughing
Smiling
Dreaming
Staring
(1985:128)
Existential Process
It represents that something exists or occurs.
There

is

a man

at the door
Existent
Circumstance
MATERIAL
PROCESSES


AGENT:
- Entity operates on itself or others
- Typically human
- What did X do?
The Prime Minister resigned


Processes of Doing
FORCE (or inanimate agent):
- Accounts for natural phenomena, their power or energy is non intentional
- Inanimate
Lightning struck the oak tree
MATERIAL PROCESSES
Processes of Doing
NORMALLY IT IS
THE SUBJECT
AFFECTED:
- Affected by that action expressed by the verb
- What happened to X?
Ted kicked the ball
EFFECTED:
- Created or brought into being by the action expressed by the verb
- What was brought into being was Y
Mary made an omelette
NORMALLY IT IS
THE DIRECT
OBJECT
MATERIAL
PROCESSES
Processes of Doing
BENEFICIARY:
- Optional, Non-inherent
- For whom the service is done
- Oi, optional
- Rarely becomes the subject of the corresponding passive clause
- Corresponding S P Od Op -> (for + Op)
She mixed James a cocktail
RECIPIENT:
- To whom the action is directed
- Typically animate and human
- Oi
- Becomes subject of the corresponding passive clause
- Corresponding S P Od Op -> (to + Op)
I’ll give the children some sweets
Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar or Linguistics (SFG or SFL)
“This theory is known as ‘systemic’ theory.
Systemic theory is a theory of meaning as choice, by which a language, or any other semiotic system, is interpreted as networks of interlocking options… whatever is chosen in one system becomes the way into a set of choices in another, and go on as far as we need to, or as far as we can in the time available, or as far as we know how.”

Metafunctions
1. The interpersonal metafunction
2. The ideational metafunction
3. The textual metafunction
Transitivity system
1. Material process.
2. Mental process.
3. Relational process.
4. Behavioral Processes.
5. Verbal Processes.
6. Existential Processes.
Theme and Rheme
Halliday (1989: 4):
"For some linguists (e.g. Chomsky, 1957; Lamb, 1966), the preferred mode of interpretation is the psychological one, in which language is to be explained in terms of the processes of the human mind or the human brain".
"For other linguists, perhaps, the direction might be a psychoanalytic one, or an aesthetic one, or any one of a number of possible perspectives."
"For us, then, the perspective primarily adopted – not to the exclusion of the others, but because this is where we look first to seek our explanations for linguistic phenomena – is the social one.
We attempt to relate language primarily to one particular aspect of human experience, namely that of social structure."

give, send, lend, grant, pay, ect.
fetch, make, buy, pour, or verbs that can be replaced by make.
This is reversed in case of a passive construction
Material Processes
-Processes of Doing
-Processes of Causing
-One-Participant Processes

MATERIAL PROCESSES
Processes of Causing
Two types
a) S P Od Co
S--> Causative agent
Od--> Affected participant
Co--> Resulting attribute
They are making the road wider
b) S P Od
S--> Causative agent
Od--> Affected participant
A stone broke the window
MATERIAL
PROCESSES
One-Participant Processes
Agentive subject of a voluntary process
-Voluntary
-Carried out by an agent
Birds fly

-Natural phenomena represented intransitively
-Inanimate, non-volitional agent or force
The clouds disappeared
e
Affected subject of an involuntary process
- Animate or Inanimate
- Non-volitional
- What happened to X?
The dog died
Expressing the properties of an entity
-Affected subject in processes that are typically two-participant
-Different from other intransitives
1 Express a general property of the entity.
2 The possible activity of an Agent is necessarily implicit.
3 Accompanied by a modal, negation or some adjunctive specification.
4 They are called ‘Pseudo-passive’ but the meaning cannot always be
expressed by the passive.
5 There is no corresponding transitive construction with Agentive subject.
6 They are difficult to paraphrase.
Glass breaks easily

Causative processes with corresponding
one-participant processes: ergative pairs
Situations with a causative agent expressed as subject can be expressed with the causative agent suppressed.

The subject is the affected in a one-participant process.
The water boiled

With volitional activities such as walk, jump or march the affected participant is involved.
I'll walk you home

Ergative pairs are very common in English.
Burn, close, cook, move, run, stretch, etc.
Mood and Modality
1. Process
2. Participants
3. Circumstances
Halliday's SFL
VGs
NGs
AdvGs or Prep. Ph
John

is crying
Existential
Mathesius (Linguistic Circle of Prague school)
Every utterance has two different structures:
grammatical
informational
1.
Theme
: point of departure.
2.
Rheme
: the goal of discourse.
The lion
beat the unicorn all around the town.
Theme
Rheme
all around the town
the lion beat the unicorn
Your cat
is adorable
Target
“(…)there are many directions in which we can move outside language in order to explain what language means."
Halliday (1985: xiv)
Analysis of a political discourse
Obama's speeches:
1. Obama's Victory Speech
2. Obama's Inaugural Address
First
: - Simple words and sentences
- Easy and colloquial language
Second
: - Material process
Third
: - Modality
ISSN 1798-4769
Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 254-261, May 2010
© 2010 ACADEMY PUBLISHER Manufactured in Finland.
doi:10.4304/jltr.1.3.254-261

The ideology of patient information leaflets: a diachronic study
1900-1930
Lack of reference to the patient
Lack of factual information
Patients are not very frequently Agent or Sayer--> Doctors as authorities
Bare imperatives and passives--> instruct and command

‘On the whole, the relationship between patients and medical professionals that is reflected and constructed by the transitivity in the early PILs is of one that is extremely distant and formal’

2000-2005
‘Patients are paramount in the modern PILs’
Transitivity choices represent them as being directly involved in their treatment
Patients are addressed directly
Not use bare imperatives, instead they use modulation
Active instead of passive--> ‘you’

‘Therefore, on the whole, the modern PILs represent a much more personal and cooperative relationship between patients and medical professionals.’

‘Overall, this research has clearly demonstrated that transitivity, in representing a particular view of the ‘world’, constructs/reflects particular ideologies, thus providing an insight into the socio-cultural context within which texts are situated. Furthermore, it has highlighted the usefulness of carrying out comparative transitivity analyses from a diachronic perspective, in order to elucidate ideological changes in society. In this connection, this study implies that it may be advantageous to extrapolate this method to other genres, since in doing so, it may be possible to uncover ways in which the attitudes of society in relation to various other socio-cultural contexts have altered over time.’
DISCOURSE & COMMUNICATION 2009; 3; 27
DOI: 10.1177/1750481308098763
EXAM QUESTIONS
1. Main differences between transitivity as seen in traditional grammar and in SFL.
2. Name the types of processes and provide two examples of each with different participants.
3. Name and briefly explain the 6 main types of participants in material processes of doing.
4. Give 3 examples of one-participant sentences with an Affected subject of an involuntary process.
5. Give an example of a process with an Agentive subject and an Affected object that are reversed when passivized.
6. Give 3 examples of cognitive, perceptual, and desiderative processes.
7. What are the two possible syntactic constructions of mental processes? Explain.
8. What is the difference between "I saw the rain through the window" and "I'm watching TV"? Give two more pairs of examples similar to this.
9. Give 3 examples of possessive relational processes where the possessor is the attribute and others where it is the carrier.
10. Explain the identifying pattern and provide examples.
11. Explain the concept of theme and rheme, and provide examples.

The gardener dug a hole
She has forgotten to leave the key
Mangos taste delicious
I persuaded my mother to see a doctor
There were a lot of people cheering for my team
She watched the television
Chomsky vs Halliday
Universal Grammar
(UG)
Systemic Functional Grammar or Linguistics
(SFG or SFL)
Chomsky's UG
1. Principles
2. Parameters
A set of implicit abstract that govern the grammatical operations allowed and not allowed in all natural languages.
Specific variations “which children have to learn as part of the task of acquiring their native language."
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