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Research Paper - Systemic-Functional-Analysis-of-PIANO.pdf

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David Herbert Lawrence's Piano is a poem about 'nostalgia' for childhood. It is perceived by the researchers that, in this poem, while portraying his nostalgic condition, Lawrence presents himself as an affected, pathetic and helpless
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    23 International Journal of Research in Linguistics & Lexicography ISSN 2226-5589 (Online), ISSN 2226-4973 (Print) www.intjr.com  INTJR-LL-1-2-June 2012-Raja & Azmat 2012   Nostalgia, Anti-Heroic Passivity and Lexicogrammar: A Systemic Functional Analysis of D. H. Lawrence’s  Piano Arshad Mahmood Raja & Muhammad Azmat Abstract David Herbert Lawrence’s Piano is a poem about ‘nostalgia’ for childhood. It is perceived by the researchers that, in this poem, while portraying his nostalgic condition, Lawrence presents himself as an affected, pathetic and helpless character not only in relationship to the female characters around who dominate the present and past situations which he finds himself in but interestingly to his own anti-heroic affective self, influenced by the memories of his childhood. For this purpose, the study analyzes the style of Piano  with special reference to Halliday’s model of Systemic Functional Grammar based on three inter-related meanings: ideational, interpersonal and textual. The study concludes that Lawrence makes a judicious use of transitivity and cohesion in particular, yielding an unequal power relationship that the poet bears with not only the human and non-human characters but even to his own past self such that presenting himself as a nostalgic character, his present manhood is ultimately forfeited by his past self as a child.  Introduction David Herbert Lawrence’s Piano (1916)   is a poem about ‘nostalgia’ for childhood. Hornby and Crowther (1995) define ‘nostalgia’ as: “the feeling of sadness mixed with pleasure when one thinks of a happy period, event, etc earlier in one’s life” (p. 789). Experiencing such condition, the poet’s “manhood is cast down in the flood of remembrance” (lines 11-12) when “the glamour of childhood is upon [him]” (lines 10-11) as a woman plays a piano and sings to him. It is noteworthy that “the diction and tone used in this poem reveals the speaker's struggle as his feelings mix between his desire to be a man and his desire to return to his childhood” (WriteWork.com). It is perceived by the researchers that, while portraying his nostalgic condition, Lawrence presents himself as an anti-heroic, affected, pathetic and helpless character not only in relationship to the female characters around who dominate the present and past situations which he finds himself in but also to his own affective self influenced by the memories of childhood. The objective of this study is to analyze the style of Piano  with special reference to Halliday’s (2004) model of Systemic Functional Grammar, which gives us a lucid depiction of the linguistic patterns of the poem in terms of the nature of power relationships between various characters. The researchers believe that the poem can be decoded in full if it is studied through Halliday’s model. Such an examination offers deeper insights into various layers of meaning of Lawrence’s    24 International Journal of Research in Linguistics & Lexicography ISSN 2226-5589 (Online), ISSN 2226-4973 (Print) www.intjr.com  INTJR-LL-1-2-June 2012-Raja & Azmat 2012   poem, i.e. ideational, interactional and textual meaning in a lexico-grammatical sense on both the linguistic and literary levels. Halliday’s Model: Systemic Functional Grammar Systemic Functional Grammar is a useful descriptive and interpretive framework, which attempts to unearth how people employ language with each other to accomplish daily communal life. This attempt permits us, as Halliday (1978) remarks, to make the four ensuing claims about language: 1.   That we use language with a purpose; 2.   That its purpose is to make meanings; 3.   That these meanings are influenced by the socio-cultural context; and 4.   That using language is a semiotic process, a process of making meanings by choosing. To demonstrate that language use is a purposeful behavior, we need to focus on authentic, everyday social communication (texts: the linguistic products of everyday language events). This emphasis leads systemicists to propose that language is used in order to make meanings with each other. Being ‘Systemic’ Hallidayan grammar anchors around linguistic choices; while being ‘Functional’, it focuses on the function of language as of primary importance to which Halliday and Hasan (1985) refer to as ‘the fundamental property of language itself” (p. 17) to which this theory relates to meaning. In this connection, Halliday (1971, 2004) has argued that language is structured to make three types of meanings concurrently: ideational (the dimension of reality being referred to), interpersonal (the role relationship between the interactants and the writer’s or speaker’s attitude towards the subject matter) and textual (the organization of texts). The ideational meaning comes to life in patterns like experiential and logical. The experiential pattern incorporates transitivity, whereas, the logical one includes “the form of coordination, apposition, modification, and the like” (Halliday, 1971, p. 91). In transitivity analysis, we try to find out how language interprets our view of the world around us. However, through logical pattern we explore how far clauses are interdependent and what semantic relation there is between clauses. Hasan (1989) defines ‘transitivity’ as: “who does what in relation to whom/what, where, when, how and why” (p. 36). This suggests that the transitivity analysis involves some process, its participants, and the circumstances related to the process. Berry (1975) highlights these components of transitivity model as: In English Grammar we make choices between different types of process, between different types of participant, between different types of circumstance, between different numbers of participants and circumstances, between different type of combining processes, participants and circumstances. These choices are known collectively as the transitivity model. (p. 150) This shows that Hallidayan concept of ‘transitivity’ is different from the traditional one in the sense that the former is an extension of the latter in that it is applied to “the whole clause rather than just the verb and its Object” (Thompson, 1996, p. 78).    25 International Journal of Research in Linguistics & Lexicography ISSN 2226-5589 (Online), ISSN 2226-4973 (Print) www.intjr.com  INTJR-LL-1-2-June 2012-Raja & Azmat 2012   In Hallidayan transitivity system, process is the inevitable component that always makes a clause. It is always represented by a verb with or without its dependents. The various types of processes are – material, mental, verbal, existential, relational and behavioural – which might be represented by the acronym MMVERB. This suggests that there is not one kind of doing as such. Proceeding further, the processes involve the participants which are represented by the nominal groups. According to Halliday (2004) and Hasan (1989), material processes may involve either only one participant, i.e. Actor (who performs an action), or also Goal (whom the action is directed at), Beneficiary (a Recipient of goods or a Client whom the services are done for), Scope (the Range or domain over which the process takes place), and Initiator or Agent (an external cause); mental processes may involve either only Senser (the one that feels, thinks, wants, or perceives), or also Phenomenon (the one that is felt, thought, felt or perceived by the Senser); verbal processes may involve either only Sayer (that puts out a signal), or also Verbiage (which is said), Receiver (whom the signal is directed to), or Target (that is targeted by the process of saying); existential Processes involve only one participant, i.e. Existent (that is being said to exist); relational processes may involve Carrier (that carries an attribute) and Attribute (the quality assigned to the Carrier), Token (which stands for what is being defined) and Value (which defines). Hasan (1989) classifies all these roles as ‘dynamic’ and ‘passive’, through a ‘cline of dynamism’, adapted and illustrated as under: DYNAMIC 1 Actor (+ Animate Goal) John took Harry to London. 2 Actor + Inanimate Goal) John took the books with. 3 Sayer + (Recipient) John told Harry . . . 4 Sayer + (Target) John praised the system. 5 Sayer John talked. 6 Phenomenon (+ Senser) John/the picture attracted he 7 (Senser) John recognized the house Marry was attracted by it/him. 8 (Actor - Goal) John went away. 9 (Behaver) John woke up. 10 (Carrier) John was sleepy. 11 (Goal/Target) John took Harry with him. 12 (Range) John watched the house. 13 (Circumstance) John purchased it for my sister. PASSIVE  Figure 1.  Cline of dynamism It is clear from Figure 1 that the roles of Actor, Sayer and Senser have their further respective classification in terms of their relative degree of dynamism. Also, Circumstance which is suggested by the “where, when, how and why, etc.” in Hasan’s (1989) definition of transitivity, as aforementioned, may also be played as a participant role when it is represented by an adjunct. According to Azmat (2011), “different circumstantial roles may be represented by the acronym    26 International Journal of Research in Linguistics & Lexicography ISSN 2226-5589 (Online), ISSN 2226-4973 (Print) www.intjr.com  INTJR-LL-1-2-June 2012-Raja & Azmat 2012   MACRECALM that represents Matter, Accompaniment, Contingency, Role, Extent, Cause, Angle, Location, and Matter” (p. 59). The interpersonal meaning takes into account various interactional moves in a conversation, for instance, ‘mood’ and the associated ‘modality’. Halliday (2004) defines ‘mood’ as the element that “carries the burden of the clause as an interactive event” (p. 120). Moods are usually of three main types: declarative, interrogative and imperative. According to Eggins (1994), these three moods respectively refer to a statement, a question, and a command in their typical use. For example: i.   Ali writes a story. (declarative mood typically showing a statement) ii.   Write a story. (imperative mood typically showing a command) iii.   Does Ali write a story? (interrogative mood typically showing a question) These basic “move types” (Eggins, 1994, p. 150) are generally referred as speech functions, through which an interpersonal interaction is carried out such that an initiated speech function by one speaker is responded by supporting or confronting speech function by the other speaker. Resultantly, these speech functions establish a type of role-relationship between the interactants based on power, i.e. equal or unequal power relationship. Apart from the grammatical mood, lexical modality also throws light on the interpersonal nature of a clause. It shows the degree of certainty in a clause in terms of intermediate space between the two poles of polarity. The greater the degree of certainty, the lesser the modality is. Explaining the range of modality, Halliday (2004) observes: But there is more than one route between the two [yes and no]. In between the certainties of ‘it is’ and ‘it’s not’ lie the relative probabilities of ‘it must be’, ‘it will be’, ‘it may be’. Similarly, in between the definitive ‘do!’ and ‘don’t!’ lie the discretionary options ‘you must do’, ‘you should do’, ‘you may do’. (p. 147) The relative probabilities mentioned in the above quotation represent the values of modality, which according to Halliday are “attached to the modal judgment: high, median or low” (p. 620), as for example, marked by the use of may, will and must in the following sentences respectively: i.   Ali must go there. (low modality) ii.   Ali will go there. (median modality) iii.   Ali may go there. (high modality) Finally the textual meaning is linguistically instrumental to the aforementioned other two metafunctions, incorporating such main concepts as ‘theme/rheme’, ‘cohesion’ and ‘coherence’. Theme is what may be called the departure point of clause as a message. It comprises the chunk from the beginning of the clause up to (and including) the first element that performs a function in Transitivity, that is, a participant, a process, or a circumstance which, in the longer clauses, is called the Topical Theme. In a clause theme combines with the remainder so that the two parts together constitute a message. … The remainder of the message in which the Theme is developed, is called … the Rheme” (Halliday, 2004, p. 64). For example, in ‘So was then perhaps a mistake that I committed’, ‘So was then perhaps a mistake’ is Theme, while the rest, i.e. ‘that I committed’ is Rheme.    27 International Journal of Research in Linguistics & Lexicography ISSN 2226-5589 (Online), ISSN 2226-4973 (Print) www.intjr.com  INTJR-LL-1-2-June 2012-Raja & Azmat 2012   As far as ‘cohesion’ is concerned, it refers to the way a text shows internal connections. There are “different types of cohesion in text: lexical cohesion, reference, conjunction, and conversational structure” (Eggins, 1994, p. 95). By contrast, ‘Coherence’ refers to the way a group of clauses or sentences are related to the context. The context of language use is construed from the linguistic patterns in a discourse and vice versa. That is to say that language can also be inferred from the context. Anything taken out of context becomes complex in various ways, that is, it becomes intricate experientially and interpersonally. Such a deduction of context from text and text from context and the complexity of language detached from its context supply proof that in asking functional questions about language we must focus not just on language but on language use in context. Systemicists segregate context into a number of levels. The most notable among them are register and genre. According to Eggins (1994), register refers to the variation with respect to use, has three main dimensions: ‘field’ which means “topic or focus of the activity”, ‘tenor’ which means “role relations of power and solidarity”, and ‘mode’ which means the “the amount of feedback and the role of language” (p. 9). Genre refers to the general idea of what the interactants are doing through the language. It consists of the Register (Field, Mode and Tenor) and the purpose for which the language is being used. It may be investigated by the staged, step-by-step structure cultures institutionalize as ways of achieving goals. The level of context that has been emphasized upon within systemic linguistics is the level of ideology. No matter what genre we are writing or speaking in, and whatsoever is the register of the situation, our use of language will also be affected by our ideological stances: the ethics we hold, the prejudices and viewpoints we adopt. Reporting Halliday’s claim, Eggins (1994) first relates the context to lexicogrammar and then lexicogrammar to meanings, as illustrated in Figure 2:
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