Workshop Notes No. 7
You should read chapter four of Halliday's Introduction in relation to the analysis of mood and modality.
One way by which one can glimpse at some of the preliminary issues in Halliday's approach to mood and modality, which are regarded by Halliday as belonging to the interpersonal metafunction of language, is by looking at a modification of the simple grammatical illustration below, which has been used in the previous workshop notes:
|I||am||writing||handouts||for my students|
As you can see from the above table, we have added two more
Mood and Residue, and that
The Finite element of the clause involves
what is called a finite verbal operator. The finite
verbal operator, as you can see in the tables below (from p.
75 of the first edition of Halliday's Introduction),
(Cf. p. 76 of the second edition or p. 116 of the third).
If the finite verbal operator is Temporal,
it can represent
or (according to Halliday) Future.
If it is Modal, it can be
Table of Finite Verbal Operators
There is a revised and in some ways more useful version of the tables on p. 76 of the second edition or p. 116 of the third, which also deals with the positive and negative versions of these operators. By looking at the tables below, it should be obvious to most of you that the past, present, and future, which are used to describe the temporal operators, are indicators of tense (to be more precise, we can describe it as primary tense [pp. 75; 75; 115-16]). It should also be obvious that the modal operators are identical with the modal auxiliaries of traditional grammar. There is a difference of terminology here, with the word operator being used to indicate that each of these verbs performs a function on another verb, and does not stand alone.
|a) Temporal operators||b) Modal operators|
| did, was,
| does, is,
| will, shall,
| can, may,
is to, was to
| must, ought to,
has to, had to
One reason why the subjunctive is excluded from the analysis of mood by some modern grammarians of English, may lie with the fact that many clauses which can be classified as subjunctive can also be analysed in terms of one of the other types of clausal mood. The main clause of the above sentence ('Suppose'), for example, can be analysed in terms of the imperative mood, while the subordinate clause following it ('it were perfectly certain') can be analysed in terms of the declarative mood.
Some of you may face problems with the grammatical
classification of the WH-element in WH
interrogatives (also known as 'open'
interrogatives), as it can function as
This is of some interest to us, as the classification of the WH-element as subject, complement or adjunct may be of stylistic consequence. Examples of wh-elements functioning as subject, complement or adjunct are given below.
The above examples however, should not present too great a problem for those of you who have done some exercises in WH- movement in transformational grammar. By transforming a question to a declarative clause, for instance (or, in other words, by deriving the d-structure [which is always declarative in orthodox transformational grammar] from the given s-structure of the question), the reason why the WH-element is a subject or complement will become more apparent to you (e.g. from 'Which road is it?' to 'It is which road').
That 'where' in 'where have you been' (table 6.7) is an adjunct however, may seem less apparent. You may wonder for example, why it is an adjunct when what in 'what have the elephants done to the pier' is a complement. But where in the first clause clearly forms a locative function (possible d-structure: 'you have been [to] where'), and is thus an adjunct, whereas what in the second clause refers to something which the elephants have done, and thus has a direct object relationship with have . . . done, and is thus a complement.
There may also be some problems in relation to the analysis of the imperative mood. Examples which have a close relationship to Halliday's examples (pp. 85; 88; 140), are given below.
|come||into the lecture theatre||will||you|
Example d) does seem to be problematic, as it could also be an interrogative:
There are at least two ways to analyse sentences a) - c) . We can either analyse the whole of each of sentences a) - c) in terms of the imperative mood, which seems to be Halliday's position, or we can regard Halliday's 'mood tags' as interrogatives, and the clauses before the tags as imperatives. The tags at the end of sentences a) - c) seem to be examples of yes-no interrogatives, and are not only grammatically quite unlike the clauses preceding the tags (note the use of the grammatically significant modal operators), but from a functional perspective, they also seem to moderate the imperative nature of the antecedent clauses.
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10 May 2017
© Ismail S. Talib 1996-2017.