Literary Stylistics:
Workshop Notes no. 13

What's on this page:

Clause Complexing: Some Advice
        Projection: Identification
        Expansion: Identification
        Expansion and Projection: Symbols
Table: Expansion and Projection
        Projection: Importance for Style
        Expansion: Importance
        Levels of Delicacy

Some Words of Advice in the Analysis of Clause Complexing

Level of Technicality

In the analysis of clause complexing in our literary stylistics course, a thorough technical analysis of the clauses in a sentence is usually not necessary. In spite of this, symbols may sometimes prove to be more economical than words, and here are some indications as to how you may go about doing a technical analysis (should it prove to be useful).

Clause and Sentence Divisions: Symbolic Representation

As seen in the last workshop, the division between the clauses in a sentence may be indicated by a blank space between them, and the division between sentences may be indicated by using different lines for different sentences. However, if you feel that the blank space between the respective symbol or symbols for each clause may not always be clear, and using a different line for each sentence is not economical, the following symbols can be used:

With reference to the above symbols, you may rewrite the sentence structure illustrated by the diagram (and by the structure of the sentence from Mrs Gaskell's Mary Barton), which is found in the handout last week (i.e. ) as

If the abovementioned is a sentence which appears before another sentence of the same structure, they can be represented as:

Projection and Expansion

Mental and Verbal Processes

As stated in the previous workshop, clauses can be related to one another in terms of projection or expansion. We have also noted that if the verb which controls the subordinate clause is either a verbal or mental process, then we are dealing with projection, which can involve a locution (something said) or an idea (something thought about). A rather complex example of a series of hypotactic projections in a sentence given by Halliday is:

However, if the subordinate clause is not controlled by a mental or verbal process verb, then it is likely that we are not dealing with projection, but with expansion. According to Halliday, there are three types of expansion:

  1. elaboration, where equivalent information to that found in the whole or part of the primary clause is added to the secondary clause;
  2. extension, where extra information to that found in the primary clause is added to the secondary clause;
  3. enhancement, where circumstantial information of relevance to the primary clause is given in the secondary clause.

Symbolic Representation

The categories of expansion and projection mentioned earlier can be represented by the following symbols:

(1) Expansion: (a) elaboration = ('equals') (b) extension + ('is added to') (c) enhancement x ('is multiplied by') (2) Projection: (a) locution " (double quotes) (b) idea ' (single quotes)

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These categories of expansion and projection are illustrated by Halliday's Table 7(2), which is reproduced below (note that the terms EXPANSION and PROJECTION are put in the wrong columns in the table on p. 197 of the first edition of his book, and this has been corrected on p. 220 of the second edition; also on p. 380 of the third edition):

(i) paratactic (ii) hypotactic
John didn't wait;
he ran away
John ran away
which surprised everyone
John ran away,
and Fred stayed behind.
+ 2
John ran away,
whereas Fred stayed behind.
John was scared,
so he ran away
John ran away.
because he was scared
John said
'I'm running away'
John said
he was running away
John thought to himself
I'll run away
John thought
he would run way

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Levels of Delicacy

There are further levels of what is called delicacy in relation to the analysis of clause complexing in Hallidayan grammar (for a detailed explication in relation to expansion, see pp. 202-19; 225-50; 395-441 of Halliday's Introduction). The question to ask here is whether these levels are needed in stylistic analysis. There is of course no absolute answer to this. As a general rule, we can say that

Projection is important for stylistic analysis (especially in relation to speech and thought presentation), and the ability to say whether a projected clause is a thought or locution is a further important requirement.
With reference to the more difficult divisions and sub-divisions of expansion however, their usefulness depends on

For example, a further level of delicacy may also be useful in relation to the series of paratactic clauses in the sentence found in ll. 1-4 from the first stanza of T.S. Eliot's 'East Coker'. All the clauses following the primary clause are of the paratactic extending type, but it may be useful to indicate the difference of the final clause, which is of the variational-alternative type, from the earlier clauses, all of which are of the additional-additive type, thus presenting the seemingly more positive alternative situation towards the end of the sentence (see pp. 207-8, 230-1, 405-7 of Halliday's Introduction for a further explication of these terms).

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Texts to Analyse

Emily Dickinson's 'The Soul Selects Her Own Society'.
Extract from T. S. Eliot's 'East Coker' from The Four Quartets.
The beginning of Joseph Conrad's Nostromo.
Extract from Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler.

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Last revised: 16 May 2017
Ismail S. Talib 1996-2017.