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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Martin's Model Of Paralanguage

Martin et al (2019: 28):
Our model of paralanguage might also prove of interest as a contribution to the growing field of interactional linguists (Ochs et al. 1996; Fox et al. 2013; Couper-Kuhlen and Selting 2001, 2018). These linguists see language structure as an emergent phenomenon which can only be understood in relation to the use of language in dialogue, and they draw heavily on Conversation Analysis (CA) in their research. This brings paralanguage and other modalities of communication into the picture as far as our understanding of language is concerned (cf. Heath and Luff 2013). SFLs perspectives on multimodality creates an opportunity for linguistics to make a stronger contribution to this transdisciplinary exercise (Martin forthcoming).

Blogger Comments:

The authors end their paper by leaving the reader with the confirmation that Cléirigh's model of body language is henceforth their model of paralanguage.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Model Of Intermodal Convergence

Martin et al (2019: 27-8):
As we stressed at the beginning of the paper building models of intermodality is facilitated if the descriptions of distinct modalities are informed by the same theoretical principles; and this is important for applications. Work in educational linguistics, for example Hood (2011) and Hao and Hood (in press), regularly has to deal with the interaction of language, paralanguage and imaging on Power Point slides. And for forensic linguistics, for example Martin and Zappavigna (2013) and Martin and Zappavigna, 2018, Zappavigna and Martin (2018), language and paralanguage interact with the semiotics of the location of the legal proceedings (which are very different for courtrooms and Youth Justice Conferences). The model of intermodal convergence (ideational concurrence, interpersonal resonance and textual synchronicity) presented in Table 2 above is far easier to operationalise when each of the modalities involved is interpreted from the perspective of SFL.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, the authors have concluded that paralanguage is an expression system of language.  That is, in their own terms, they have not provided a model of intermodality any more than proposing a phonological or graphological system of language would be a model of intermodality.

[2] To be clear, since the authors have concluded that paralanguage is an expression system of language, language and paralanguage do not interact, any more than language and phonology interact.

[3] To be clear, the model of intermodal convergence is one idea, redundantly given different names for each metafunction.  Moreover, the one idea is merely the superficial observation that different semiotic modes can make the same meaning.

More importantly, since the authors have concluded that paralanguage is an expression system of language, this model of intermodal convergence no longer applies, which, in turn, undermines the entire argument of the paper, given that the paper is predicated on the intermodal convergence of language and paralanguage (sonovergent vs semovergent).

Monday, 18 March 2019

Our Evolving Work Using Cléirigh's Model

Martin et al (2019: 27):
Our evolving work on these dependencies can be tracked through Martin et al. (2010), Hood (2011), Martin (2011), Martin, Zappavigna, Dwyer, and Cléirigh (2013) Martin and Zappavigna, 2018, Zappavigna and Martin (2018), and Hao and Hood (in press). From the perspective of SFL the most pertinent work on relations between modalities to compare with these studies is Painter et al. 2013 (on language and image in children’s picture books). Beyond these initiatives, multimodal discourse analysis research is best guided by Bateman et al. (2017).

Blogger Comments:

[1] This is misleading, since it misrepresents the authorship of this first publication featuring Cléirigh's model of body language.  The actual citation is:
  • Zappavigna, M., C. Cléirigh, P. Dwyer & J. R. Martin. 2010. The coupling of gesture and phonology. In M. Bednarek, & J.R. Martin (eds.), New discourse on language: Functional perspectives on multimodality, identity and affiliation. London: Continuum. 219–236.
The function of misrepresenting Martin as the first author is to position Martin as the origination of "our evolving work". (The paper was primarily written by Zappavigna, using Cléirigh's model; Dwyer and Martin were the tenured academics who were granted funding for the project.)

[2] As the clarifying critiques on this blog demonstrate, "our evolving work" involves serious misunderstandings of Cléirigh's model of body language, with these misunderstandings now rebranded as Martin's model of paralanguage.

[3] To be clear, Bateman favourably reviewed Martin's first major publication, English Text (1992). However, in doing so, he neglected to check the provenance of "Martin's" ideas or to consider whether the work was consistent with SFL theory or even with itself; evidence here.  For some of Bateman's misunderstandings of SFL theory, see here.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

On This Paper Clarifying The Theoretical And Descriptive Challenges Posed In Martin (2011)

Martin et al (2019: 27):
This of course makes research into the relation between language and paralanguage an interesting case study as far as research into intermodality in general is concerned, possibly helping to clarify some of the theoretical and descriptive challenges posed in Martin 2011.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, if, as the authors argue, paralanguage is an alternative expression plane of language, then the relation between language and paralanguage is not 'intermodal', since language and paralanguage are just two perspectives on the same semiotic mode.

[2] To be clear, given the wealth of theoretical confusions in this paper that have been identified here, any clarifications of any theoretical and descriptive challenges are purely accidental.

On the other hand, ignoring the fact that Martin (2011) begins by misunderstanding Saussure's sign (pp243-5), and the relation between Saussure's sign and linguistics (p245), and ignoring all the other theoretical misunderstandings that follow, the questions posed by Martin can be listed here so that the reader can assess which of them this paper has helped to clarify.

Based on this reading of Saussure one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. Do you conceive of the sign as an entity that realises a meaning located outside itself (in the material world or in the mind or elsewhere) or alternatively as a meaning construing act?
2. Where and how, if at all, do you explicitly model valeur (i.e. the system of differences among signs)?
Based on this reading of Hjelmslev and Halliday, one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. For a given semiotic system, how many strata are you proposing, and on which stratum is your description located?
2. Are your strata related by metaredundancy (as patterns of patterns)?
3. Are there distinct systems of valeur on each of the strata you propose?
4. Is there any ontogenetic or phylogenetic evidence suggesting that any stratified system you propose evolved from an unstratified or a less stratified system?
Based on this reading of Halliday, one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. For a given stratum, how many ranks are you proposing, and at which rank is your description located?
2. Are there distinct systems of valeur on each of the ranks you propose?
3. Are your distinct systems of valeur related by constituency (as parts to wholes)?
Based on this reading of Halliday, one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. For a given semiotic system, how many metafunctions are you proposing?
2. Are there topologically distinct systems of valeur for each of the metafunctions you propose?
3. By what criteria are systems of valeur seen as relatively independent or interdependent of one another?
Based on this reading of Halliday one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. For a given semiotic system, how many kinds of structural realisation are you proposing?
2. Are the different types of realisation associated with different types of meaning?
3. When analogising from metafunctions in language to your semiotic system did you take kinds of meaning or types of structure as point of departure?
Based on this reading of paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations in SFL one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. Are your descriptions formalised as system/structure cycles, explicitly showing the relation of systemic choices to structural consequences?
2. How many system/structure cycles are you proposing and how are they related to one another (by strata, rank, metafunction or some other theoretical parameter)?
Based on this reading of system and text in SFL one could ask of any multimodal analyst:
1. Is the complementarity of realisation and instantiation addressed your description?
2. If so, how are you distinguishing axial realisation (the defining interdependency of system and structure) from instantiation (the logogenetic unfolding of realisational resources as text)?
3. As far as the contextual specification of your system is concerned, what genres/registers/text types do you propose?
In relation to Matthiessen’s proposed cline of integration one could ask the multimodal analyst:
1. Do you manage intermodality by proposing a single system of valeur, on a higher stratum or not, realised axially or inter-stratally by two or more modalities (realisational integration); or do you propose a coupling process weaving together meanings from different modalities in a single text (instantial integration)?
Based on these intermodal integration and complementarity issues one can ask the multimodal analyst:
1. Are the relations you recognise as obtaining between modalities in an intermodal text the same as those you find between units of a text in a monomodal one?
2. Do you recognise different kinds of intermodal relations depending on the kind of meaning involved (ideational/interpersonal/textual)?
Based on this discussion of affordances and commitment one could ask the multimodal analyst:
1. How do you model the amount of meaning committed and thereby the complementary contribution of different semiotic systems in an intermodal text?
2. How does the semantic weight of a given system’s contribution reflect its affordances?
In light of this reading of Cléirigh, one could ask:
1. Is the semiotic system you are working on a denotative semiotic system, with its own content form and expression form?
2. If not, does it involve parametric resources of the kind outlined by van Leeuwen (i.e. multiple, simultaneous, graded, binary systems)?
3. If so, could it be usefully factored into protosemiotic, denotative semiotic and epilinguistic systems?
In light of these concerns with identity and affiliation, one could ask:
1. How do you describe the allocation of the semiotic resources you are focusing on to repertoires of users?
2. How do these repertoires engender communities of such users?
3. Is there a distinctive role for denotative semiotic, protosemiotic and episemiotic systems in this process?
In light of these concerns with the limits of semiosis, one could ask:
1. On what basis do you distinguish between the semiosis you are considering and its biological and/or physical environment?
2. To what extent do you feel that interdisciplinary research involving neurobiologists and/or physicists is necessary to give a full account of the discourse you are considering?
3. Are you deliberately treating aspects of biological and physical materiality as if they were semiosis?

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Paralanguage As Language Expression

Martin et al (2019: 26-7, 28):
In this model, the content form of face-to-face linguistic communication can be realised as phonology (of spoken language) or sign (including the sign languages of deaf communities and the emblems’ of hearing ones), plus in both cases sonovergent and semovergent paralanguage; and for many languages we have a graphological system used for written communication. This leaves us with the terminological challenge of how best to name the sound quality and gestural resources we have been calling paralanguage in this paper (since they wouldnt be para- anymore); we will not attempt to improve on our usage here. 

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, content form is form, not function, and only refers to grammatical forms (clause, phrase/group, word, morpheme).  In terms of SFL theory, the authors here confuse 'form' with 'plane' (the level of symbolic abstraction that includes the strata of semantics and lexicogrammar).

[2] Here the authors reduce the expression systems of Sign languages to mere emblems, such as the thumbs-up sign and the middle finger salute.  To be clear, Sign languages are languages, and so, tri-stratal, and their gestural systems realise the lexicogrammar, just as phonological systems realise the lexicogrammar of spoken languages.  Emblems, on the other hand, are bi-stratal signs, and so their expressions only realise meaning directly, without the considerable semogenic power that a stratum of grammatical systems provides.  This is why emblems are types of epilinguistic body language in Cléirigh's model.

[3] To be clear, the expression systems of sonovergent paralanguage (Cléirigh's linguistic body language) only realise the linguistic content that prosodic phonology realises.  That is, it cannot realise the linguistic content that articulatory phonology realises, such as lexical items.  So the authors are seriously mistaken in presenting sonovergent paralanguage as an alternative to the entire phonological system.

[4] As previously explained, the claim that semovergent paralanguage (Cléirigh's epilinguistic body language) is an alternative to phonology and graphology is falsified by any clause that cannot be realised in semovergent paralanguage, such as the Leo Szilard quote:
A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues is not to persuade, but to clarify.
To be clear, no grammatical structures can be realised in epilinguistic expressions (semovergent paralanguage) because epilinguistic semiosis is bi-stratal, not tri-stratal, and so expressions realise meaning directly, without the considerable semogenic power that a stratum of grammatical systems provides.  It is the absence of a grammar that the parlour game Charades exploits.

[5] To be clear, the authors began the paper by rebranding Cléirigh's model of body language as their model of paralanguage, and now, having satisfied themselves that their paralanguage is not paralanguage, the authors shy away from rebranding it with a more appropriate term, such as body language.

Friday, 15 March 2019

The Argument That Paralanguage Is An Expression System Of Language

Martin et al (2019: 26-7, 28):
But what about the stem -language which para- is prefixed to? The drift of consensus in gesture studies, as reviewed and promoted by Fricke (Fricke 2013) appears to be towards treating aspects of what we have been calling paralanguage here as part of language (in fact as part of grammar in Fricke’s work). From the perspective of SFL this argues for a re-interpretation of the taxonomy in Fig. 44 above as Table 6 below, with paralanguage positioned not alongside language but as part of its expression form.

Blogger Comments:

[1] To be clear, consensus is not argument, and to present it as argument is the logical fallacy known as Argumentum ad populum.

[2] To be clear, from the perspective of SFL, Fricke (2013) provides no argument with regard to theorising in SFL, because she does not proceed from the same theoretical assumptions as SFL.  That is, Fricke operates with a different conception of grammar, and a different conception what constitutes inclusion in a grammar, as the following quote (op. cit.: 734) makes clear:
[3] To be clear, the claim that paralanguage is an alternative to phonology, graphology and the expression systems of Sign languages is easily falsified by the fact that the following clause can be realised by genuinely linguistic expression systems, but not by Martin's semovergent paralanguage:
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
To be clear, in SFL, to be part of language, a semiotic system has to be systematically related to the grammar (Halliday 1985/9: 30).  This is why Cléirigh's linguistic body language ("sonovergent paralanguage") is called linguistic — because its gestures realise the same grammatical features as prosodic phonology, differing only in the parts of the body used to express them.

Epilinguistic body language ("semovergent paralanguage"), on the other hand, is not systematically related to the grammar, and like all semiotic systems other than language, is bi-stratal, not tri-stratal, which is why, unlike genuinely linguistic expression systems, it cannot realise the Einstein quote above.

It is instructive to consider the overall argument of this paper:
  • Firstly, Cléirigh's types of body language were rebranded as types of Martin's paralanguage, and then misunderstood and misapplied.
  • Second, gestures realising numbers (claimed to be examples Kendon's emblems) were claimed to be expressions of language, not paralanguage.
  • Finally, all paralanguage was claimed to be expressions of language (because people using other theories agree that it is).

To be clear, the reasons why the authors have interpreted their paralanguage as expressions of language are because
  • linguistic body language ("sonovergent paralanguage") is language, and 
  • the authors have confused intersemiotic relations ('convergence') with intrasemiotic stratification (realisation) and 
  • have set out with the narrow intention to relate the expressions of epilinguistic body language ("semovergent paralanguage") to Martin's discourse semantic systems (his rebrandings of Halliday's speech function and cohesion).