The Grammar of Ideational Meaning: TRANSITIVITY

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The Grammar of Experiential
Meaning: TRANSITIVITY
Widhiyanto
Universitas Negeri Semarang
[email protected]
Introduction

From MOOD system: In order to sustain a
dialogue successfully, participants must
keep negotiating, they must keep
exchanging commodities, playing the roles
of demander or giver, initiator or
responder, as they either argue about
information or transfer goods and
services.
Introduction
With the benefit of MOOD SYSTEM, it is
possible to suggest how interactants are
creating and clarifying their role
relationship with each other.
 In fact, it would not be possible for them to
create relationships WITHOUT talking
about something. Their talk has
CONTENT; it makes representational, or
experiential meanings.

Introduction
Thus we need to recognize that in order to
take parts in texts, participants must make
not only Interpersonal meaning but also
experiential meaning.
 We must also recognize that these type of
meanings are being made simultaneously.
 This simultaneous encoding of experiential
and interpersonal meanings is achieved
through the simultaneous structuring of the
clause which together are making up the
text.

Example:
But
George
In Switzerland
they
Adj:
Conj
Adj: Voc
Adj: Circum
S
ReCircum:location
THEME
give
F
P
Mood
Actor
Process:
Material
you
a cognac
Complement
Complement
-sidue
Beneficiary
RHEME
Goal
Experiential meaning: Clause as
Representation
How phenomena of the real world are
represented as linguistic structures.
 There are three semantic categories used:
1. Circumstances
2. Processes
3. Participants

Circumstances
Answer such question as when, where,
why, how, how many, and as what.
 They realise meaning about:

o
o
o
Time: when; is probed by when, how often,
how long.
Place: where; is probed by where, how far.
Manner: how
•
•
•
Means: by what means; is probed by what with.
Quality: how; is probed by how.
Comparison: like what; is probed by what like.
Circumstances
o
Cause: why
•
•
•
o
o
o
Reason: what causes the proces; is probed by
why or how.
Purpose: the purpose; is probed by what for.
Behalf: for whose shake; is probed by for whom.
Accompaniment: with(out) who or what; is
probed by who or what else.
Matter: about what or with reference to
what; is probed by what about.
Role: what as; is probed by as what.
Processes
are central to TRANSITIVITY
 Kinds of goings on.
 Seven different type of Processes:

o
o
o
o
o
o
o
Material
Behavioral
Mental
Verbal
Relational
Existential
Meteorological
Ideational Function
One way to describe a clause in functional terms is
in relation to how it represents our experiences of
the world.
 This is called the ideational function.
 This ideational function of language involves
representing three main aspects of our experiences.

3 Main Aspects of Experiences
1.
2.
3.
People, things or ideas in the world – called
Participants
Physical activities, mental activities or states of
being – called Processes
Conditions or circumstances in which these
activities are occurring – called Circumstances
Participants
The people,
ideas or things
participating in
the process
Processes
Circumstances
Physical
activities, mental
and verbal
activities, states
of being and
having
Conditions such
as when, where,
why or how the
process takes
place
Functional and Grammatical Labels
Functional
Labels
Grammatical
Classes
Participants
Processes
Circumstances
Noun group
(NG)
Verb group
(VG)
Prepositional
phrase (Prep-Phr),
Adverbial group
(Adv-G), NG
Description A NG can consist A VG is based on A prep-phrase
of one or more
nouns, adjectives
numerals or
determiners
a single verb and
may include
auxiliaries, non
finite elements
consists of a prep
and a NG. An AdvG consists of one
or more Advs. A
NG consists of
one or more
nouns.
Group and Phrase
The linguistic structure of a noun group, verbs
group, prepositional phrase or adverbial group may
involve a single word or group of words.
 Examples …

Participant
Her baby
daughter
Noun group
Process
Participants Circumstance
was born
The team
Noun group
Verb group
completed
Verb group
Phoebe
Noun group
Ran
Verb group
in the hospital.
Prepositional
phrase
the document
Noun group
very quickly.
Adverbial
group
five miles.
Noun group
Summary
Ideational Meaning
Realisation
Participants
Noun groups
Processes
Verb group
Circummstances
Prep. Phrs
Adv. groups
Noun groups
Examples
Dogs, the red-haired
lady, a tree with ripe
fruit, poverty and
honesty, veritable
humility, he, Sydney
Do, going to do, was,
will be, used to like
Down the stream, over
the moon, tomorrow,
very slowly
PARTICIPANTS
Participants
Participants can be categorised in various ways:
Human
Non-human
Girls and boys must go to school.
Trees provide shades from the sun.
Concrete
The buildings were destroyed.
Abstract
Love conquers all.
Specific
The dog barked all night.
Non-specific A banana is a healthy fruit.
(generalised)
People and things, ideas
Noun Group
A NG is a group of words with noun as the focal
point.
 It may include Classifiers and Describers,
Numeratives, Determiners, Embedded phrases or
clauses, or Nominalisations.
 NG may also be referred to as nominal group
 A NG may comprise a number of nouns linked
together, referred to as a noun complex.

Noun Group
Within a NG, different classes of words serve different
functions.
 Classifiers
• Typically classify the Participants
• They place the Participant into a particular category
or classification.
• They can be nouns, adjectives, e.g. stean trains,
primary colours, almond trees.
Noun Group

•
•
Describers
They are adjectives that serve the functions of
describing more precisely.
They provide information such as size, colour,
shape or qualities, e.g. large, red, round, huggable,
Noun Group
Numeratives
They provide information about number or
measurement such as five or first.
 Determiners
They serve the function of pointing out, querying or
indicating ownership, such as which, whose, that.

Noun Group
Embedded phrase or clauses
They serve the function of defining more precisely
the Participant being referred to, e.g. the girl with
dark hair, the book which I lost.
 Nominalisation
They are a form of abstraction in which a process is
turned into a thing, e.g. the killing of the dolphins.

Noun Group
Those
two
large
Determi Numerat Describ
ner
ive
er
science
books
With
hard
covers
Which I
lost
yesterday
Classifi
er
Thing
Embedd Embedd
ed
ed
phrase clause
Noun and Pronoun

Nouns and pronouns are classes of words which may
represent a single participants, a group or class of
Participants, or a number of Participants.
Single
Participant
She loves to sing.
Owen is tall.
Class of
Flowers grow wildly.
Participants People are coming for dinner.
A number They came late.
of
Crowds flocked to the seaside.
Participants
‘Mass’ and ‘Count’ Nouns
‘Mass’ noun
Use less water during
bushfires.
‘Count noun’
Fewer students proceeded to
university this year.
Proper Nouns
Proper nouns refer to names of particular people,
places or events.
 They mark the status with the use of a capital for
the first letter of the word.

The Round Table Conference
New South Wales
The Prime Minister
Beverly and Geoffey
The 2008 Olympics
Holden and Ford
Classifiers


Classifiers function to categorise a participant by allocating
it to a particular class or subclass.
They indicate what ‘type of thing’ it is in relation to other
classes.
The tennis match (as opposed to ‘the football match’)
The igneous rock (as opposed to ‘the sedimentary rock’)
Human communities (as opposed to ‘animal communities’)

Classifiers can be distinguished from describers in that it is
not possible to insert the word ‘very’ the classifiers, e.g a
very long match, but not a very tennis match.
Describers
Describers in noun group are generally adjectives.
 They describe attributes of the Participants such as
size, colour, shape or qualities.
 They may indicate degree of comparison within
their form - known as comparative and superlative -,
e.g. little – less – least; beautiful – more beautiful –
most beautiful

A gigantic monster
A microscopic virus
colour
Big, little, Huge,
Tiny, Microscopic,
gigantic
Maroon, blue,
Pink, yellow
shape
Circular, square,
round, octagonal
A round barrel
An octagonal room
quality
Good, fair,
Beautiful, kind
A fair result
Beautiful countryside
size
A blue and maroon hat
A yellow daffodil
Numeratives
Numeratives in the noun group usually consist of
either ordinal numbers (e.g. first, second, last) or
cardinal numbers (e.g. some, one, fifty).
 They may indicate precise and definite information
about size, weight, or order or give indefinite
information such as few, many.

Determiners
Determiners in a noun group are used to query or
point to a particular Participant, or to indicate
ownership or possession.
querying
which
whose
what
Which hat will you wear?
Whose car is that?
What music do you prefer?
pointing out
that
these
those
That big dog bites.
These shoes are too small.
Those tiny flowers smell sweet.
ownership
my, mine, our, My house is near hers.
ours, your, His tail wags constantly.
yours, his, Their cat and dog fight.
her, etc.
Embedded Phrases or Clauses
querying
 which
 whose
 what
 Which hat will you wear?
 Whose car is that?
 What music do you prefer?


pointing out
Embedded phrase
The man with the dog…
The girl with dark hair…
Embedded clauses
The man who was walking
the dog …
The girl who had dark hair
…
Nominalisations


Nominalisations may also be a component of a noun group.
Nominalisation involves the transformation of a process into
a thing.
They breed wild birds
The word breed represents a
Material Process
The breeding of wild birds
raises ethical issues
The Material Process has been
transformed into a Participant.
Examples
His winning the race was quite remarkable.
 The breeding of wild birds in captivity is morally
questionable.
 The slaughtering of seals is a sad affair.

Nominalisations
Nominalisations may be represented as abstract
nouns, gerunds or participles.
 Abstract nouns include those which commonly end
in –ment, -tion, -al, -age, -ity as in preferment,
agitation, proposal, reportage, longevity.
 They are commonly found in scientific writing.

Noun Complex
Two or more nouns or pronouns may be linked
together to form a noun group.
 This is referred to as a noun complex.

Sharks, whales, fish, crabs and coral live underwater.
She and her friend want to come.
Wind and waves beat on the rock.
Love and duty matter most.
My friend and I are not likely to come.
PROCESSES:
Material, Mental, Verbal, Relational
Physical, mental, verbal activities,
states of being
Material Processes
Material Processes are those when obvious action
takes place.
 Someone or something is carrying a physical
action.
 They are represented in the language by words
such as walk, do, act or jump.
 They are commonly found in texts such as
recounts, procedures and explanations.

Examples
Material
(doing,
behaving)
I’m going to drive to the movies tonight.
Adrian carries the load.
They had been going to walk to walk to …
Monkeys eat bananas.
Mental Processes

Mental processes are those which represent mental
activities of thinking, perceiving or feeling.
Mental
(thinking,
perceiving,
feelings)
I know how to make Laksa.
Marianne considered her response.
Duncan believes that story.
I perceive a fault.
I felt very unhappy about the decision.
Verbal Processes



Usually involve a participant who is human or who has been
given human attributes.
They are represented in the language by words such as
say, ask, tell, etc.
They are commonly found in narrative, exposition texts,
among others.
Verbal
Owen says it can be done.
(Saying, asking, Her temperature showed that she was ill.
telling)
Evelyn had told Phoebe.
Relational Processes
Relational Processes are those which establish
states of being or having.
 They are concerned with who or what someone or
something is or what they have.
 They are represented by words such as be, seem,
have, etc.
 They are commonly found in information reports
and exposition texts.

Relational Processes
Relational
(being, having,
becoming,
representing)
Her name is Jane.
Apples are crunchy.
Tadpoles have no legs.
Two plus two equals four.
Verb Groups
Processes of doing, thinking, and saying, and the
state of being and having are represented in the
clause by verb groups.
 A verb group may comprise a single verb or a group
of words.
 It may include auxiliaries and non-finite elements
such as participles.

Single verb
They ride bikes.
Evan builds houses.
She watches closely.
Auxiliaries and participles
They had been going to walk to the
park.
I will be able to serve you in a
moment.
Auxiliary verbs may assist in marking the time in
which a Process is occurring or in indicating voice
or modality.
 Auxiliary verbs which mark time or tense may be
derived from verbs such as ‘to be’ or ‘to have’.

Ben and Alex are going to the park
I had moved house.
Sally is doing her work.
Lynn has returned from

Participles in the ‘-ing’ (present) or ‘-ed’ (past) form or in the
base form may be included in the verb group.
I have walked two kilometres.
I’ve walked two kilometres.
Past participle
I was walking two kilometres.
I shall be walking 2 kilometres.
I’ll be walking 2 kilometres.
I shall walk to the station.
I’ll walk to the station.
Present participle
Base form of participle
Tense
Verbs may contain information about the time of the
action in relation to the speaker’s or writer’s time –
the moment of speaking, before it or after it.
 The term ‘tense’ is used to refer to the ways in
which these different times are represented in the
language.
 Tense is described as past, present, timeless
present and future.
 Tense is marked in the verb form.

Tense
Past
Action occurring in Sally went …
the past
Present
Action occurring in Sally is going …
the present
Future
Action to occur in
the future
Sally will go …
Action that is
generalised
Sally goes …
Timeless present
The timeless present
The timeless present (sometimes referred to as the
‘habitual’ present) is a common conventional
pattern of verb in information reports, descriptions
and expositions.
 Example:

Polar Bears live in the Artic. They have thick, w
furry coats to protect them from the cold.
Polar Bears are good hunters. They eat mainly
and seals.
They swim strongly using only their front legs.
The thick layer of fat under their skin helps them
to stay above the water and keeps out the cold.
CIRCUMSTANCES
Circumstances
Circumstances give information about the
conditions in which a Process occurs such as
where, when, how, with what, why, how far, how
long, about what or as what.
 Circumstances can be categorised in terms of the
type of information they provide: space, time,
manner, means, cause, extent, accompaniment,
matter, role.

Space
They work downstairs. (NG)
Time
She goes to church every Sunday. (NG)
Manner
The dog barked extremely loudly. (Av.G.)
Means
She goes there by taxi. (Prep.phr)
Cause
The sheep died of thirst. (Prep.phr)
Extent
We could see for miles and miles.
Accompaniment
Matter
Role
I left without my briefcase.
The book is about functional grammar.
He lived a quiet life as a beekeeper.
Last Saturday night (time), the local council he
a fancy dress ball for charity (cause) in the tow
Hall (place). The Lord Mayor, who came with h
current lady (accompaniment), was dressed as
Old King Cole (role). He pounced around regal
(manner), and the made a politically correct
speech about the homeless (matter).
Circumstances





Circumstances are realised / represented by prepositional
phrases, adverbial groups or noun groups.
A prepositional phrase is a word group that is introduced by
a preposition such as with, in, after, for.
Adverbial groups may contain one or more adverbs.
Adverbial groups which include the adverb very usually
indicate Circumstances.
Noun groups may be used to represent Circumstances as
well as Participants.
Prepositional
phrase
Adverbial group
Noun group
We arrived after lunch.
They sang out of tune.
They performed with great success.
We arrived early.
They sang softly.
They performed very successfully.
They will come next week.
It happened the day before yesterday.
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