An Introduction to the Grammar of Old English: A Systemic Functional Approach

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Overview

This book applies the techniques of systemic functional grammar to the description of the Old English historical dialect, 650-1150 CE. Systemic functional grammar is an approach to the description of language which distinguishes three separate functions in communication: language as representation, language as attitude, and language as the construction of text. Most applications of systemic functional theory have concentrated on modern English. This book is the first comprehensive description of the Old English dialect on systemic functional principles. The book begins with an outline of systemic functional grammatical theory. It then describes the Old English clause with a separate grammar for each of the three general functions it serves: the representational, the attitudinal, and the text-formative. Other areas covered include: structures and functions within nominal, verbal and adverbial groups; relationships among clauses; embedding; cohesion. The book is thus designed to suit the needs of systemic functional grammarians who are interested in the historical development of the English language. It is also designed for students of Old English who are looking for ways of explaining the grammatical system of Old English on terms other than those of traditional grammar.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845533632
  • Publisher: Equinox Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/21/2010
  • Series: Functional Linguistics Series
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cummings teaches as Professor emeritus at York University, Toronto. He is co-author or co-editor of The Language of Literature (1983), Linguistics in a Systemic Perspective (1988), and Relations and Functions within and around Language (2002). He has also published a number of articles and book chapters on the systemic functional description of Old English.
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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Introduction 1

1 Synopsis of systemic functional grammar 5

1.1 A general view of systemic functional grammar 5

1.1.1 The systemic functional perspective on language 5

1.1.2 Basic concepts 6

1.2 The grammar of the clause 8

1.2.1 Clause from an interpersonal perspective 8

1.2.2 Clause from an experiential perspective 11

1.2.3 Clause from a textual perspective 14

1.2.4 Major and minor clauses 16

1.3 Groups and phrases 17

1.3.1 The nominal group 17

1.3.2 The verbal group 20

1.3.3 The adverbial, conjunction and prepositional groups 23

1.3.4 Prepositional phrases 24

1.4 Complexes of clauses, groups and phrases 24

1.4.1 The clause complex: 1. Projection 25

1.4.2 The clause complex: 2. Expansion 26

1.4.3 Group and phrase complexes 28

1.5 Cohesion 30

1.6 Grammatical metaphor 31

2 The Old English clause from the interpersonal perspective 34

2.1 The clause as exchange 34

2.1.1 Propositions and proposals 35

2.1.2 The interactional structure of the clause 36

2.2 The Mood element 37

2.2.1 Terminology 37

2.2.2 Subject and Finite in declarative mood clauses 38

2.2.3 The meanings of Subject and Finite 43

2.2.4 Subject and Finite in interrogative mood 44

2.2.5 Commands and wishes 46

2.3 The structure of the Residue 48

2.3.1 The Predicator element 48

2.3.2 The Complement element 49

2.3.3 Types of Adjunct elements 49

2.3.4 Adjuncts in the Residue 49

2.3.5 Adjuncts outside the Residue 50

2.3.6 Mood Adjuncts 52

2.3.7 Comment Adjuncts 53

2.4 Types of modality 54

2.4.1 Modalization and modulation 55

2.4.2 Modal responsibility 55

2.5 Interpersonal systems of the clause 56

2.6 Other issues 58

2.6.1 Vocatives 58

2.6.2 Ellipses and minor clauses 58

2.6.3 Embedded clause as Subject 59

3 The Old English clause from the experiential perspective 61

3.1 The experiential perspective 61

3.1.1 The three metafunctional perspectives 61

3.1.2 The experiential perspective: participants and processes 61

3.1.3 Transitivity: process types and participants 62

3.1.4 The semantics of process, participant and circumstance 63

3.2 Material processes 63

3.2.1 Material processes and the Actor role 63

3.2.2 Transitive and intransitive clauses 64

3.2.3 Operative and receptive clauses 65

3.2.4 Creative and transformative clauses 66

3.2.5 Elaborating, extending and enhancing transformative clauses 67

3.2.6 Recipients and Clients 68

3.2.7 Scope and Attribute 68

3.3 Mental processes 70

3.3.1 Mental and material processes 70

3.3.2 Four types of mental process 70

3.3.3 Three different realizations of Phenomenon 71

3.3.4 Mental process clauses with unspecified Phenomenon 72

3.3.5 Hyperphenomenal mental process clauses 72

3.3.6 The emanating/impinging distinction 73

3.3.7 The operative/receptive distinction 73

3.3.8 Summary 74

3.4 Relational Processes 74

3.4.1 Relational processes and participants 74

3.4.2 The encoding, decoding distinction 75

3.4.3 Intensive, possessive and circumstantial relational processes 76

3.4.4 Possessive relational processes 77

3.4.5 Circumstantial relational processes 77

3.4.6 Summary 78

3.5 Other process types 79

3.5.1 Verbal processes 79

3.5.2 Behavioural processes 79

3.5.3 The existential process 80

3.6 Circumstances 80

4 The Old English clause from the textual perspective 82

4.1 Theme and Rheme 82

4.1.1 The textual metafunction in relation to the other metafunctions 82

4.1.2 The textual metafunction in the Old English clause 83

4.2 Theme and Rheme in major clauses 84

4.2.1 Simple unmarked Theme in declarative mood 84

4.2.2 Simple unmarked Theme in interrogative and imperative moods 85

4.2.3 Simple marked Theme 86

4.2.4 Multiple Theme including unmarked topical Theme in declarative mood 88

4.2.5 Multiple Theme including unmarked topical Theme in interrogative and imperative moods 89

4.2.6 Multiple Theme including marked topical Theme 91

4.3 Systems of major clause Theme 92

4.3.1 Particular systems 92

4.3.2 Combination of systems into a network 93

4.3.3 The elaborated system network 94

4.3.4 Selection expressions for the elaborated network 94

4.4 Theme and Rheme in minor and elliptical clauses 98

4.5 Thematic structures 100

4.5.1 Predicated Theme 100

4.5.2 Thematized comment 101

4.5.3 Preposed Theme 101

4.6 Theme and Rheme in clause complexes 102

4.7 Status of the unmarked Theme after marked Theme 103

5 Old English groups and phrases 105

5.1 Groups and phrases 105

5.2 The nominal group 106

5.2.1 The experiential approach 106

5.2.2 The logical approach 114

5.3 The verbal group 117

5.3.1 The experiential approach 117

5.3.2 The logical approach 118

5.4 The adverbial group 119

5.5 Prepositional phrases 122

5.6 Conjunction groups and prepositional groups 123

6 Complexes of clauses, groups and words 124

6.1 Unit complexes: the rank scale, the simplex and the complex 124

6.2 The clause complex 124

6.2.1 Logico-tactic relations: parataxis and hypotaxis 126

6.2.2 Logico-semantic relations 1: projection (and expansion) 128

6.2.2.1 Quoting 128

6.2.2.2 Reporting 129

6.2.2.3 Embedding 129

6.2.2.4 Facts 131

6.2.3 Logico-semantic relations 2: expansion 131

6.2.3.1 Elaboration 132

6.2.3.2 Extension 134

6.2.3.3 Enhancement 134

6.3 Group complexes 136

6.3.1 Nominal group complexes 137

6.3.2 Verbal group complexes 138

6.3.3 Adverbial group and prepositional phrase complexes 142

6.4 Word complexes 142

7 Beyond the clause: cohesion and metaphor 144

7.1 Clause grammar and beyond clause grammar 144

7.1.1 Cohesion and text 144

7.1.2 Metaphor and grammatical metaphor 144

7.2 Cohesion 145

7.2.1 Reference 145

7.2.1.1 Endophora and exophora 146

7.2.1.2 Anaphora and cataphora 146

7.2.1.3 Personal pronouns 147

7.2.1.4 Demonstratives 147

7.2.1.5 Homophora 149

7.2.1.6 Esphora 149

7.2.1.7 Comparison 150

7.2.2 Ellipsis 151

7.2.3 Substitution 153

7.2.4 Conjunction 153

7.2.5 Lexical cohesion 154

7.3 Grammatical metaphor 155

7.3.1 Congruent and metaphorical 155

7.3.2 Experiential metaphor: nominalization 156

7.3.3 Interpersonal metaphor 157

7.3.3.1 Indirect speech acts 157

7.3.3.2 Explicit subjective and objective modality 159

7.3.4 Textual metaphor 159

Further Readings 161

Index 162

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