Friday, 19 January 2018

Cosmogonic Myth Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [5]

Genesis (1:5):
5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, this symbolism from Abrahamic mythology can be interpreted as further construing the genesis of construing experience as meaning through language.

This fifth verse construes the stratification of linguistic content into two levels of symbolic abstraction: meaning and wording.

In the first clause, the creator of meaning verbally assigns a relation of symbolic identity that encodes the meaning the light by reference to the wording day:

God
called
the light
Day
Assigner
Process: identifying: symbol
Identified Value
Identifier Token

In the second clause, the creator of meaning verbally assigns a relation of symbolic identity that encodes the meaning the darkness by reference to the wording night:

and
the darkness
he
called
Night

Identified Value
Assigner
Process: identifying: symbol
Identifier Token

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Cosmogonic Myth Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [4]

Genesis (1:4):
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, this symbolism from Abrahamic mythology can be interpreted as further construing the genesis of construing experience as meaning through language.

The first clause construes the phenomenon as a domain of the mental perception of the creator of meaning:

and
God
saw
the light

Senser
Process: mental: perception
Phenomenon

That is to say, the creator of meaning sees what language construes of experience as meaning.

The second clause attributes a positive value (attitude) to the phenomenon:

that
it
was
good

Carrier
Process: attributive
Attribute

and construes the attribution as a cognitive projection of the creator of meaning (God saw…).  This introduces the ascription of interpersonal values (attitudes) to experiential phenomena by the creator of meaning; cf the notion of 'categorising on value' in the neuroscience (TNGS) of Edelman (1992).

The third clause construes the creator of meaning as the cause of the distinction between mutually-defining phenomena:

and
God
divided
the light from the darkness

Agent    
Process
Medium

Monday, 15 January 2018

Cosmogonic Myth Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [3]

Genesis (1:3):
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, this symbolism from Abrahamic mythology can be interpreted as further construing the genesis of construing experience as meaning through language.

Here the creator of meaning verbally projects a proposal for a phenomenon to exist:

and
God
said

let
there
be
light
1
"
2

Sayer
Process: verbal

Process:

existential
Existent

and this results in the existence of the phenomenon:

and
there
was
light


Process: existential
Existent

That is to say, the phenomenon is construed here as a linguistic construal of experience, made by the creator of meaning.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Cosmogonic Myth Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [2]

Genesis (1:1):
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, this symbolism from Abrahamic mythology can be interpreted as construing the genesis of construing experience as meaning through language.

The clause construes time beginning with the creator of meaning — see previous post — making an initial categorial distinction between phenomena:

in the beginning
God
created
the heaven and the earth
Location: time
Creator
Process: existential
Existent

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Cosmogonic Myth Through Systemic Functional Linguistics [1]

The Gospel of John (1:1):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Blogger Comments:

From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, this symbolism from Abrahamic mythology can be interpreted as construing the genesis of language, as meaning potential, and if it is language that primarily distinguishes humans from other apes, as construing the genesis of humanity itself.

The first clause construes time beginning with the existence of the Word (Greek logos 'word', 'speech', 'discourse'); that is, with the existence of language:

in the beginning
was
the Word
Location: time
Process: existential
Existent

The second clause extends this by construing God (creator) as an Attribute of language:

and
the Word
was
with God

Carrier
Process: attributive
Attribute: accompaniment

And the third clause extends this by construing the identity of language and its creator:


and
the Word
was
God

Identifier Token
Process: identifying
Identified Value

That is to say, this clause construes a relation of identity in which the creator of meaning is encoded by reference to the meaning created.


From the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, mythologies are sub-potentials of cultural semiotic systems that are realised in — and construed by — language in the first instance (followed by other semiotic systems made possible by language).

Mythologies are the oldest surviving reconstruals of experience, and were made possible by the stratification of the content plane of language into wording and meaning.  Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 25):
This stratification of the content plane had immense significance in the evolution of the human species — it is not an exaggeration to say that it turned Homo ... into Homo sapiens. It opened up the power of language and in so doing created the modern human brain.
And it was the stratification of content into wording and meaning that made metaphor possible. Where science uses grammatical metaphor to understand the environments in which humans must fit, mythology uses lexical metaphor to construe ways of fitting into physical and social environments.