Workshop Notes no. 10
Relational Processes: Classifications
Relational Processes: Modes
Relational Processes: Types
Relational Processes: Attributive
Relational Processes: Identifying
Table of Circumstantial Adjuncts
Of all the processes, the relational process is the one which may present you with the greatest difficulty. According to Halliday, there are three types of relational processes:
The above three types come in two modes:
(1) intensive 'x is a' (2) circumstantial 'x is at a' (3) possessive 'x has a'
The six possible classifications of relational processes in terms of modes and types are given below:
(i) attributive 'a is an attribute of x' (ii) identifying 'a is the identity of x'
|mode||(i) attributive||(ii) identifying|
|(1) intensive||the performance is great|| Mr Nathan is the President
the President is Mr Nathan
|(2) circumstantial||the lecture is on a Wednesday|| today is the eighteenth;
the eighteenth is today
|(3) possessive||John has two motorcycles|| the two motorcycles are John's
John's are the two motorcycles
We can note from the above that:
|quality (intensive)||John||is / looks||great|
|in the lecture theatre
| the computer
| is / belongs
| Ahmad's / to Ahmad
| Ah Chong
| the teacher
| the twentieth
the entire box
| the piano
1 The verb 'to be' may present a problem with regard to passivization. But according to Halliday, passivization of a clause with this verb follows from the reversal of the positions of token and value, which are terms which he applies to all relational process clauses (see table 5(7); 5(6) from last workshop's notes: token being the more specific, whilst value is the more general of the two entities). Passivization however, as I have stated above, can work only in the identifying mode, as token and value in the attributive mode cannot be reversed. Try to see how passivization works in relation to the verb 'is' in Halliday's table of relational process clauses in the identifying mode in his figure 5-10 (second edition) or figure 5-18 (third edition). One must add here however, that Halliday's view that the verb 'to be' can be passivised is not shared by all linguists; many of them, of course, do not work with the same premises: for example, the notions of token and value (or similar notions) are not found in many other linguistic descriptions of the verb to be and other related verbs. Back to the earlier position in the text.
2. Notice that the clause 'the piano is Peter's', which is retained here from Halliday's original can also be analysed as an attributive relational process clause (cf. figures 5-9 and 5-10 in Halliday's first edition). Back to the earlier position in the text.
Closely associated with transitivity are the circumstantial adjuncts, which
together with the processes, and transitivity
itself, have to do with the ideational metafunction of
language. (You will also realise later, that the circumstantial
adjuncts are important in theme-rheme analysis, as
they, unlike the other adjuncts, carry topical weight, and
a circumstantial adjunct is regarded as the topical
theme itself if it is fronted). The following table, which
is found only in the second edition of Halliday's Introduction
[Table 5(9)], is quite useful in telling us about the types
of circumstantial adjuncts available; the third
edition has a more elaborate table [Table 5(28)]: you
are advised to take a look at it. See pp. 137-44; 149-61;
259-80 of Halliday's Introduction for a further
elaboration on the nature of these adjuncts.
||Type||Specific categories (subtypes)|
|3||Manner||means, quality, comparison|
|4||Cause||reason, purpose, behalf|
|5||Contingency||condition, concession, default|
Texts to Analyse
An extract from Mrs Gaskell's Mary Barton.
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12 May 2017
© Ismail S. Talib 1996-2017.