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AHMED QADOURY ABED …

AHMED QADOURY ABED
HJELMSELV , LAMB AND HALLIDAY

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  • 1. 1HJELMSLEV , LAMB , AND HALLIDAY:THE POINTS OF SIMILARITYAHMED QADOURY ABEDAnother uneasy task. Today, there is no place for ‘but’, different’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘on the contrary ‘ ,and the like. We are behind ‘like’, ‘similar’, and ‘the same’ .Reviewing the points of similarity betweenthree ‘subsequent’ schools within one century requires in turn reviewing the common trends or tenets ofpart of the way linguists were thinking and regarding language and its representation. IimitatingGlossematics, Stratificational-Cognitive Linguistics, and Systemic –Functional Linguistics withHjelmslev, Lamb, and Halliday, respectively, is not a matter of neglecting sincere efforts of linguists likeUldall, Gleason, Hasan, Matthiessen, and many others. Halliday(1978:39;1994:xxvi) mentions bothHjelmslev and Lamb as sources of inspiration to his SFL.To start with basic similarities ,(1) no one can deny that these three schools ,appeared in the1930s,1950s, and 1960s, based their general framework on those dichotomies raised by de Saussure ,anddefinitions , illustrations ,and analyses considered by Bloomfield ; (2)these three schools aimed atdescriptive adequacy, and later Halliday moved to follow Chomsky in being a follower of explanatoryadequacy; (3) they are post-Bloomfieldians ,at least in terms of Mathews’(1993) and Newmeyer’s(1996);(4)they are behind formal syntax, in an algebraic sense, started with European Glossematics ,toopen the door to Americans like Harris , Chomsky , and their MIT to ‘a great-shot-in-the-arm-‘ oflinguistic field;(5) they describe language as a conglomerate of non-linguistic (e.g., physical,physiological, psychological, sociological) phenomena, rather than a self-sufficient totality, a structure suigeneris; (6)they follow relatively the empirical principle where a linguistic theory should be (a) self-consistent, (b) exhaustive , and (c) as simple as possible ; (7)they adopted a progressive deductive top-down division of the text into parts, and the parts into yet smaller parts ,and so on, in a sense that thenotion of text is open-ended in any possible text in any possible language; and (8) they all adopted non-linear representation. Moreover, no one can deny that the train of the history of linguistic theory in the20thcentury should stop on these three stations for fuel, as Mathews did in his (1993) and (2000).Also, Hjelmslev, Lamb , and Halliday have developed a unified notation as an adjunct to theirtheories. Hjelmslev used ‘cenemes’ ,’prosodemes’, ‘pleremes’ ,’taxemes’, ’glossemes’, etc. Lamb usedterms like ‘stratification’, ‘AND-relations’, ‘OR- relations’, ‘portmanteau realization’, etc. Similarly,Halliday used ‘systemic’, ’metafunctions’, ’interpersonal’, ‘axis’ ,’rank’ etc. A kind of coincidence isexistent between the terminologies of these theories, as in ‘content’ in Hjelmslev, ‘sememic’ in Lamb, and‘semantics’ in Halliday. Another example is ‘content-purport’,’hypersememic’ , and ‘context’,respectively.Are these schools relational or functional? Being away from regarding these two adjectives asslogans for two separate schools as mentioned in Sampson (1980), these three schools are relational sincethey are behind paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations on the one hand , and behind examining thesystems within a system, on the other. For instance, Halliday used both choices and chains in his model,and then he worked on the relations between ranks and metafunctions. They are functional since all thesetheories look for linguistic and extra-linguistic functions. For example, Halliday’ functions andmetafunctions are so evident in both linguistic and contextual reference. Hjelmslev’s concept of function
  • 2. 2is logical used to distinguish a very small set of possible relations between components,namely,(i)interdependence , (ii) determination, and (iii) constellation.Among these influential similarities between these three schools is the representation of languagesign in a relational network organized in strata (or layering), and their non-linear realization. ToHjelmslev’s Glossematics, there are four strata, namely ‘content-substance’, ‘content-form’ ,’ expression-form’, and ‘expression-substance’, of which the middle two belong to language proper and the first andlast are external realities which it is the task of a language to link with one another. In a similar way,Lamb’s model is also of four primary strata, and two additional peripheral ( usually extra-linguistic)strata. The four primary strata are sememic , lexemic , morphemic , and phonemic. The other twoperipheral strata are hypersememic and hyperphonemic. To Halliday, there are three main linguistic-proper strata and two extra-linguistic strata, and these are semantics, lexicogrammar , and phonology. Theother two extrinsic are context and phonetics. Four similar hints can be stated here : (1) there is a kind ofrelative correspondence between the primary strata of each school , regardless of their number; (2) thesethree schools influence the existence of extra-linguistic strata or relations , even earlier version ofSystemic Linguistics did not include them publically; (3) the three schools use ‘internal relationships’ forthose relationships between the elements in one stratum ,and ‘external relationships’ for those betweenthe different strata ; and (4) there are two further relationships: ‘intrinsic’ between the strata themselves(i.e., linguistic proper) , and ‘extrinsic’ between the peripheral strata and extra-linguistic factors.Additionally, adopting the same stratificational stance as Halliday, Lamb argued that all languages wouldat the same time be organized around three major components, or systems, namely semology,lexicogrammar, and phonology – conventionally, phonetics is included within the phonological system,although the units in each system are essentially different.The important point of similarity is the concept of system, and then the network system. Hallidayused this ‘network system’ more officially than the other two theories, and clearer evidence is also foundin the other two. In Glossematics ,the linguist should seek a ‘system’ through which the process (text)can be analyzed as composed of a limited number of elements that constantly recur in variouscombinations, and for doing that a deductive procedure was adopted. Lamb based his language on thefact that each primary strata system has a tactic pattern specifying the arrangement of its units and arealizational portion relating these units to adjacent systems. Like the primary systems, ,the peripheralsystems are seen as ‘relational networks’, but their organization of tactic and realizational portions aremainly extra-linguistic. Halliday has described the semiotic nature of language as a system with fourdimensions: metafunctions, rank, axis, and stratification. Halliday used ‘systemic network’ because eachof these dimensions is a system in itself that can be further classified into other systems and subsystems.The system of stratification is a very illustrative one. Here, many hints can be maintained: (1) Views oflanguage made a distinction between ‘Item-and- Process’ (IP) and ‘Item-and- Arrangement’ (IA) models ,and these three schools adopted the latter since items are not essential and processes are rejected insynchronic descriptions; (2) The above-mentioned hint leads to the workable dichotomy of paradigmaticand syntagmatic relations between the elements of one strata, which was described as ‘choice’ inHalliday’s terminology ; and (3)If we want to put these three schools in a scale with two poles ,namely,formal and functional, we can put Stratificational linguistics in the middle , with Glossematics to theformal pole , and Systemic linguistics to the functional one. If another classification is adopted, in itsoverall outlook, stratificationalism has a great deal in common with the other two schools.