Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The Demonstrated Advantages Of Unpacking Ideational Metaphor

Martin & Rose (2007: 152):
Here is an example of ‘conjunction-as-quality' in Tutu’s argument:
Many of those in the security forces who have come forward had previously been regarded…as respectable members of their communities.
This could be unpacked as:
Many of those in the security forces who have come forward were regarded as respectable members of their communities before…they came forward.
How much we choose to unpack ideational metaphors in our analyses will depend on our purposes. We have shown two advantages of unpacking experiential and logical metaphors. One is that by paraphrasing highly metaphorical discourse in a more spoken form, we can show learners how it means what it does, and also design a curriculum that leads from more spoken to more written modes. Another is that we can recover participant roles and logical arguments that tend to be rendered implicit by ideational metaphor. This can be a powerful tool for critical discourse analysis — revealing implicit nuclear relations such as agency and effect, and implicit logical relations such as cause and effect.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, this (inelegant) attempt to unpack grammatical metaphor involves reconstruing the temporal Location of a Process — not a Quality — as a temporal relation between two Processes, the second of which is a repetition of the Process embedded as Qualifier:

Many of those in the security forces who have come forward
had
previously
been
regarded as
respectable members of their communities
Carrier
Process:
Location
relational
Attribute

Many of those in the security forces who have come forward
were regarded as
respectable members of their communities
before
they
came forward
α
× β
Carrier
Process: relational
Attribute

Behaver
Process: behavioural

[2] This is misleading, because it misrepresents what the authors have demonstrated. To be clear, Martin & Rose have not shown these advantages of unpacking ideational metaphors, not least because, in focusing on individual words, they have confined their explication to elemental metaphors, and largely ignored the syntagmatic syndromes in which elemental metaphors appear, such as the reconfiguring of functions that is necessitated when a sequence is metaphorically reconstrued as a figure. Merely paraphrasing text does not provide a theoretical understanding of what is involved in grammatical metaphor, still less a theoretically-informed curriculum design.

Moreover, because of this narrow focus, Martin & Rose have not shown how to recover participants and logical relations made implicit by ideational metaphor. For example, the unpacking of metaphor, above, does not recover any implicit participants or feature of time. See also the previous illustrative examples:

[3] To be clear, this is presumably 'effective', a feature of the grammatical system of AGENCY.

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