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The Negative Interrogative form has a double emphasis due to the insertion of the negative

Specifier not. The Negative Interrogative form has two different versions: the non-contracted or full

form (do I not work?) in which only the auxiliary do is fronted and the contracted form in which both

the auxiliary do and the Specifier not, cliticized onto do ( don’t I work?).

The Interrogative and Negative Interrogative forms in the Present-Simple of to be and to have

(have got) obviously do not need the do-support, yet they follow the general “interrogative” rule of the

subject-verb inversion movement. The necessary addition of got makes no difference to the sense of

this verb. Have can be conjugated with the auxiliary do to indicate habitual actions (do you have..?).

2.3.2 Present Perfect: Finite Operator/ Non-Finite Predicator

To form the English Present Perfect is necessary the so-called aspectual auxiliary. The aspectual

auxiliary, which is used to signal the presence of the Perfect (or Perfective) Aspect in the Verb

Phrase, is have. The Present Perfect is thus formed by the Present Simple of have followed by the

Past Participle of the Main Verb (I/you/we/they have worked; he/she/it has worked).

The two dimensions of present (Present Simple) and past (past participle) indicate that the period of

time considered is the present, but it also includes the past. The auxiliary have is the Finite Verb

that marks the Tense (present) and represents the I-Node of the sentence. The form of the Main

Verb is a Past Participle, which means that it is a Non-Finite Verb which can only signal the Perfect

(completed) Aspect of the process. The Not-finite form of the Main verb is defined Predicator in

Halliday’s Functional Grammar. The Tense of the Present-perfect form is Present, a finite verb-form

focusing on the present time of the Speaker’s perception of the process. The Aspect that introduces

the duration of the process that began in the past is instead represented by the Non-finite form of

the Past Participle. For the Negative form it is necessary to insert the negative Specifier not

between the auxiliary verb have and the main verb (contracted version Haven’t/hasn’t).

The Interrogative form shows a Subject-auxiliary inversion movement. Have precedes the subject.

The Interrogative Negative has 2 forms:

Full one there’s only a subject-auxiliary inversion movement;

♦ Cliticized the Specifier not is fronted together with the auxiliary verb and cliticized onto it.

The present perfect forms of to be and to have follow the same syntactic rules of the other verbs.

However their past participle are irregular (been/had). The grammar rules that allow semantics to

be actualised into Pragmatics have been defined as Syntax.

2.4. VERB PRAGMATICS: PRESENT SIMPKE AND PERFECT IN DISCOURSE

2.4.2 Pragmatic Functions of Tense and Aspects

Pragmatics concerns communication and it focuses on the kind of message that a Speaker intends to

communicate to his/her Listener. To achieve their communicative goals Speakers often manipulate

language to produce their intended effects. Such language manipulation occurs unconsciously, but

also in some cases consciously. The studies that explores the mechanisms of language manipulation

is called Critical Discourse Analysis (field in Pragmatic).

Their sense implications, or connotations are automatically understood by most native members of a

speech community and they are part of the socio-linguistic schemata that members of the

community have developed over time by communicating with each other within native socio-cultural

contexts of interaction. If on the one hand the social-semiotic schemata informing the syntactic

code of that community, on the other hand, the socio-linguistic schemata represent the cognitive-

pragmatic code by which members of that community use the syntax of their language to

communicate their meanings.

Present Simple semantically represents mere facts. That is why it is the Tense and Aspect

dimension that can best express in discourse the mere presentation of factual truths in their plan

nakedness, without any subjective comment (even without any affective involvement) from the

Speaker. The pragmatic function of the Present Simple is primarily that of expressing objective facts

with the Speaker’s intervention and involvement reduced to the minimum.

a. when we use the Present Perfect, we focus on the experience that the Subject has

built so far, not simply on the relevance of that past experience on the present; and

because this experience has been built up to the current time, in the Present Perfect

form two temporal-experiential components co-exist: present and past;

b. when we use the Present Simple, we focus objectively on a present fact, with no

direct emotional involvement of the Speaker in the experience.

MODULE 5

TIME- SEQUENCE: PAST SIMPLE AND PERFECT

2.5 SYNTAX AND SEMANTICS OF THE PAST SIMPLE

2.5.1 Past Simple: Syntax

The Past Simple in regular verbs is formed by adding –ed to the Infinitive without to. There are,

however, some exceptions:

a. verbs ending in e add –d only (love-loved);

b. verbs ending in y following a consonant, change the y into I before adding –ed (carry-

carried);

c. but y following a vowel does not change (obey-obeyed).

In the Affirmative conjugation, the same form is used for all persons.

The Past-Simple Negative form of regular and irregular verbs is formed by using the past tense of

the “dummy” auxiliary “do”: did followed by not and the Infinitive without to.

The auxiliary did represents the Finite Operator that carries the Past Tense inflection and it

represents the I-Node of the sentence [-present], whereas the Infinitive of the Main Verb represents

the Non-Finite Predicator. S

NP I VP

[+Tense, -present] spec V

[+ Agr]

She did not work

Finite Operator Non-Finite Predicator

The Past Simple Interrogative of regular and irregular verbs is formed with did+ Subject+ Infinitive

without to. The transformational rule, called Subject-auxiliary inversion movement, requires the

auxiliary did to be fronted (to precede the Subject in order to add a special emphasis to the

Interrogative form (I did work; Did I work?).

The Negative Interrogative has 2 variations: (a) full one, with a simple Subject-auxiliary

inversion and (b) a cliticized one, with the Subject-auxiliary/negative Specifier inversion.

The Past Simple of to have displays the same base-form for all the persons, had, with no help from

the dummy auxiliary do. Also the Past Simple of the verb to be does not need the dummy auxiliary

do but to be has in the Past Tense singular different forms for the three persons.

2.5.2 Past Simple: Semantics

The English Past Simple is used for actions completed in the past at a definite time. The Past Simple

is used:

a. for a past action when the time is given;

[Past completed process] Present moment of speaking

b. when the time is asked about;

c. when the action clearly took place at a definite time even if this time is not mentioned.

The Past Simple is used when the action is perceived by the Speaker as Past.

The Present Perfect is used when the action (the process) and the moment of speaking are

perceived by the Speaker as Present.

2.6 SYNTAX AND SEMANTICS OF THE PAST PERFECT

2.6.1 Past Perfect: Syntax

The form of the English Past Perfect is structured with the aspectual auxiliary had followed by the

Past Participle of the Main Verb. The aspectual auxiliary had represents the Finite Operator that

carries the Past Tense inflection, thus, represents the I-Node of the sentence [-present]. The Past

Participle of the Main Verb represents the Non-Finite Predicator. The Negative counterpart of this

sentence is formed by inserting the negative Specifier not between the auxiliary had and the Past

Participle of the Main Verb. S

NP I

VP [+Tense, -present]

[+ Agr]

She had works

Finite Operator Non-Finite Predicator

The Past Perfect Interrogative form is structured again according to the transformational rule of the

Subject-auxiliary inversion movement, which consists in the fronting of the aspectual auxiliary

had in order to make it precede the Subject and add a special emphasis to the Interrogative form.

Also the Negative Interrogative form of the Past Perfect has 2 variations: (a) the full one, with the

Subject-auxiliary inversion and (b) the cliticized one, with the Subject-auxiliary/negative Specifier

inversion. The Past Perfect forms of to be and to have follow the same syntactic of the other verbs

and their past-participle are irregular.

2.6.2 Past Perfect: Semantics

The Past Perfect is used for an action (or process) which began before another action in the past,

and

(a) was still continuing at the time, or

(b) stopped at the time, or some time before it.

The verb in the Past Perfect form indicates a time in the past that is more remote than the time

signalled by another verb in the Past Simple within the same sentence.

2.7 PRAGMATICS OF PAST SIMPLE AND PERFECT

This Time correlation in semantics is also reflected in the pragmatics of actual discourse, where Past

Simple and Past Perfect forms are always correlated into a time-sequence to convey the idea of the

experiential relevance of a past action to a subsequent past action.

MODULE 7

THE CONTINUOUS ASPECT IN ENGLISH DISCOURSE

3.1 SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC DIMENSIONS OF THE PRESENT AND PAST SIMPLE

CONTINUOUS

Another Aspect of the verb is the Continuous (or Progressive) Aspect. This Aspect can be

associated to the Present and Past Tense, but also to the other two Aspects, Simple and Perfect, and

indicates that the process represented by the verb is taking place over an open and extended period

of time.

3.1.1 Present Simple Continuous: Syntax

The Present Simple Continuous is formed with the Present Simple of the aspectual auxiliary be+ the

Present Participle of the Main Verb morphologically marked by the –ing suffix. The morphological

structure of the Present Participle may show some exceptions:

a. In verbs ending in a single e, this e is dropped before the –ing suffix- with the exception of the

verbs age (invecchiare) and dye (tingere) [love-loving].

b. In verbs ending in y, the –ing suffix added without any modification.

c. In verbs of one syllable with one vowel and ending in a single consonant, this consonant is

doubled before the suffix –ing is attached.

d. In verbs of two or more syllables, with the last syllable containing only one vowel and ends with

a single consonant, this single consonant is doubled before the suffix –ing only if the stress

falls on the last syllable.

e. In verbs ending in l after a single vowel, the l is always doubled in British English (not in

American English)

The Present Simple Continuous in its Affirmative “full” and “contracted” forms is conjugated in the

following way (I’m [I am] working). This form can be represented as a Verb Phrase composed by:

1. a Finite Operator represented by the aspectual auxiliary be which expresses the I-

Node of the clause (its Primary Tense Inflection establishing the notion of time at the

moment of speaking);

2. a Non-Finite Predicator expressing the Secondary Tense of the clause. This a time

different that marks instead the Aspect of the Verb Phrase which is Imperfective. An

Imperfective Aspect is an aspect of the Verb that expresses an event or state with

respect to its internal structure, instead of expressing it as a simple whole. The

Continuous or Progressive Aspect is an Imperfective Aspect insofar as it expresses

an ongoing, but not habitual process expressed by the verb.

S

NP I

VP [+Tense, +present]

[+ Agr]

She is working

Finite Operator Non-Finite Predicator

The Negative form is constructed by adding the Specifier not after the aspectual auxiliary be. The negative

Specifier can also be cliticized into the auxiliary in the contracted form. The Interrogative form is constructed

by means of the transformational rule known as Subject-auxiliary inversion movement, according to which

the auxiliary be is fronted to precede the Subject.

S

NP I

VP [+Tense, +present]

[+ Agr]

is She working?

The Negative Interrogative form has two structures: a non-contracted one is marked by a simple

Subject-auxiliary inversion and a contracted one, characterized by a Subject-auxiliary/negative

Specifier inversion (am I not working?).

3.1.2 Present Simple Continuous: Semantics

The Present Simple Continuous is used to indicate an ongoing process happening in the present

time. It may indicate:

a. A process happening now, at the moment of speaking;

Doer of the action

“Now”- “this very moment in the present”

b. A process happening about this present time but not necessarily at the moment of speaking;

c. A definite plan in the near future;

Doer of the action

“In this present period of time”

Present moment of speaking Plan of the near future

d. A process that is repeated frequently, which annoys the speaker. In this case, the frequency

adverb always is added for emphasis.

3.1.3 Past Simple Continuous: Syntax

The Past Simple Continuous is formed by the Past Simple of the aspectual auxiliary be+ the

Present Participle of the Main Verb, marked by the –ing suffix. The Negative construction requires

the Specifier not after aspectual auxiliary be, which can also cliticized in the contracted form. The

Interrogative form needs again the Subject-auxiliary inversion movement, with the fronting of the

auxiliary be to precede the Subject. The Negative Interrogative form has a non-contracted

construction characterized by a simple Subject-auxiliary inversion and a contracted construction

characterized, also in this case, by a Subject-auxiliary/negative Specifier inversion.

3.1.4 Past Simple Continuous: Semantics

The Past Simple Continuous is used to indicate:

a. A developing processes which started in the past and continued for some time, without

specifying the exact time of its beginning and of its end because this is uncertain, or not

known, or simply considered as irrelevant.

……………_______________………………

uncertain past process in uncertain present moment of speaking

start progress ending

b. A past process that began before a specific point in the past and probably continued after it.

Considered point in

The past time

……………_______________………………

beginning past process in continuing present moment of speaking

progress

3.2. SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC DIMENSIONS OF THE PRESENT AND PAST PERFECT

CONTINUOUS

3.2.1 Present Perfect Continuous: Syntax

The auxiliaries be and have signal Aspect ( the way the meaning of the Main Verb is perceived in

time). The 2 principal categories of Aspect in English are the Imperfective (Continuous or

Progressive) and the Perfective (Perfect) Aspects. The Continuous Aspect represents the main

verb as indicating an ongoing process and is perceived as taking place over a particular period of

time perceived as “present” as it is signalled by the auxiliary is in the Present Tense, hence the

emphasis is on the Duration of the process in the present. The Perfect Aspect signals that a process

which took place in a recent past is still somehow relevant at the moment of the utterance.

Auxiliaries can combine, as in the form of the Present Perfect Continuous composed by the Present

Perfect of the verb be+ the Present Participle of the Main Verb. In cases , the first auxiliary is

always the one that carries Tense and thus represents the Finite Operator of the sentence,

determining its Inflectional Node.

The other auxiliaries and the Main Verbs are instead Non-Finite and represent the Predicator.

S

NP I VP

[+Tense, +present] V VP

[+ Agr]

She has beenwork

Finite Operator Non-Finite Predicator

The Affirmative conjugation of the Present Perfect Continuous form is I have been working.

In the Negative form, the negative particle not always follows the first auxiliary verb. The

Interrogative form of the Present Perfect Continuous has the Subject-auxiliary inversion, with only

the first auxiliary carrying the Tense in the sentence being inverted (fronted) to precede the Subject.

The Negative Interrogative has a non-contracted form with the Subject-auxiliary version of the first

auxiliary and a contracted form with a Subject-auxiliary/negative Specifier inversion (Have I not

been working?).

3.2.2 Present Perfect Continuous: Semantics

The Present Perfect Continuous is used to indicate:

a. an action which began in the past and is still continuing without interruption;

Present moment of speaking

Past Continuous process up to now

b. an action which began in the past and is still continuing with normal, periodical interruptions

that the speaker wants to ignore in order to emphasize a sense of constancy in doing it;

Present moment of speaking

___….____…._____……____…

Past Continuous process up to now

3.2.3 Past Perfect Continuous: Syntax

The Past Perfect Continuous is formed by two aspectual auxiliaries had been+ the present

Participle of the Main Verb. The first auxiliary had carries the Tense and represents the Finite

Operator of the sentence. The Affirmative conjugation of the Past Perfect Continuous is I had been

working. The Negative form has the negative particle not following the first auxiliary verb. The

Interrogative form has the Subject-auxiliary inversion, with the fronting of the first auxiliary had to

precede the Subject. The Negative Interrogative has the Subject-auxiliary inversion of the first

auxiliary in its non-contracted form (Had I not been working?) and a Subject-auxiliary/negative

Specifier inversion in its contracted counterpart (equivalente).

3.2.4 Past Perfect Continuous: Semantics

The Past Perfect Continuous is used in a time-sequence with the Past Simple to indicate:

a. a process that began before the moment of speaking in the past and continued without

interruption up to that moment, or stopped just before it.

Past moment present moment of speaking

Past continuous process

b. a repeated process in the past that is expressed as a continuous process to add emphasis.

Past moment present moment of speaking

………………….

Past repeated process

MODULE 10

FUTURE PROCESSES

4.1 MOOD AND MODALITY IN ENGLISH AND ITALIAN NOTIONS OF “FUTURE”

Tense signals a morphological phenomenon related to the chronological phenomenon of Time.

Tense is the morphological marking of the Main Verb indicating Time-reference. Aspect marks the

Speaker’s perspective on the process indicated by the Main Verb. Aspect is signalled by the non-

finite verb-forms, determining the Predicator. In English, Aspects can be of three types: Simple,

Perfect and Continuous (or Progressive). Mood is a grammatical category which relates to the

factual meaning of a verb. The only Mood is the Indicative Mood. The shortage of Moods in

English is compensated by the grammatical category of Modality which is a modification of the

Indicative Mood by modifying its perspective in some ways. The ways by which Modality modifies the

Indicative Mood of a verb are determined by the introduction of non-factual elements in its meaning.

These elements are marked by the so called modal verbs, or modal auxiliaries which in English

express non-factual hypotheses that are rendered in Italian by the Conditional and Subjective

Moods.

The function of the English Simple Aspect is to render the idea of permanence of a state, or

regularity of a process. The Italian notion of Indicative is associated also with the Future Tense,

which doesn’t exist in English. The English language has only 2 categories, Past and Present,

syntactically signalled by the two corresponding Tenses, but it has no specific semantic categories for

the Future, which is in fact syntactically rendered by the Present Tense. In English, only the Past

Tense excludes present and future times. Future is an implicit condition of the Present Tense.

4.2 PRESENT SIMPLE AND CONTINUOUS FORMS OF FUTURE PROCESSES

In the syntactic marking of future processes in English, therefore, the Aspect may change, but the

Tense remains the same the Present Tense.

4.2.1 Notions of Future expressed by the Present Simple

The Present Tense is related to all times unless there’s an adverb, or an adverbial/prepositional

phrase, restricting its reference to time. The image schema conveyed by the Present Simple when it

is referred to a Future process is that of a complete mental image of the process projected in a

near future. This form of Future is used when the Speaker refers to a future event that is already

scheduled. The form of the Present Simple is only one of the possible ways of expressing the notion

of Future in English.

4.2.2 Notions of Future expressed by the Present Continuous

This Future form is constructed by the Present Continuous of the verb to go+ to Infinitive of the

main verb. This Future structure is used to express:

a. the Subject’s intention to do, or not to do, a certain future process, but without the idea of a

definite arrangement expressed by the Present Continuous;

b. the Speaker’s prediction of a process expected to happen in the near future. This prediction is

determined by the Speaker’s feeling of certainty based on present evidence.

4.3 MODALIZED PRESENT TENSE EXPRESSING FUTURE PROCESSES

4.3.1 Modal Auxiliaries Shall and Will

The modal auxiliaries will/would, shall/should, can/could, may/might, must are always Finite since

they carry Tense. They are all inflected in the Present Tense. They take neither the inflectional

suffixes –s for the third person singular of the Present Tense, nor –ed for the Past Tense. They are

also markers of a chronological Future Time since they suggest, respectively, the intention,

determination, possibility, permission and obligation of the Speaker to perform a future process

indicated in the main verb.

4.3.2 Future Simple with Modal Auxiliaries: Syntax and Semantics

The semantic concept of Future is a modalized form of Present Simple. The Future Simple is

formed by the modal auxiliaries will or shall+ the Infinitive without to of the Main Verb. This is its

Affirmative structure which is the same for all the persons (I shall/will work).

The modals will and shall represent 2 alternatives that are not interchangeable, for they convey 2

different shades of meaning. The contraction unifies the 2 modals into the unique cliticized form ‘ll.

S

NP I

VP [+Tense, +present]

[+ Agr]

She will work

Finite Operator Non-Finite Predicator

The auxiliary modal will (and also shall) is marked as +present in the I-Node, which means that the

Tense it signals is the Present. The Negative structure of the Future Simple is formed by the addition

of the Specifier not between the modal auxiliary verb and the main verb.

The corresponding Negative contracted structure shows forms of cliticization: won’t (will not) and

shan’t (shan’t).

The Interrogative structure of Future Simple shows the Subject-auxiliary inversion movement

according which will or shall are fronted to precede the personal pronoun and marks the clause as

“interrogative”. The corresponding Negative Interrogative structures shows 2 version: a full one

marked by the fronting of will or shall, followed by the personal pronoun which is followed by the

Specifier not, and a contracted one marked by the fronting of the cliticized auxiliary forms won’t

and shan’t.

a. will indicates intention and volition (volontà);

b. shall indicates determination or obligation.

The verbs denoting volition/ intention and determination/obligation are in the Present Tense,

whereas the action that these verbs project in the future is in the Infinitive form denoting the non-

finiteness of this process that is still to come.

Present moment of speaking projection of a future process to be

realized

“Mary will/shall…” (present tense) “…work” (non-finite form)

“Maria vuole/deve…” (present tense) “…lavorare” (non-finite form)

4.3.3 Future with Modal Auxiliaries: Syntax and Semantics

The concept of a complete process projected in the future time is rendered in English by means of the

Present Perfect modalized by the auxiliaries shall and will. The syntactic structure of the Future

Perfect is formed with the modal auxiliaries shall/will + the Perfect Infinitive of the main verb. This

is its Affirmative form that is the same for all persons (I shall/will have worked).

S

NP I VP

[+Tense, +present] V V

[+ Agr]

She will have worked

Finite Operator Non-Finite Predicator

The Negative structure is formed by inserting the negative Specifier not between the modal auxiliary

shall or will and the aspectual auxiliary have, marking the Perfect Aspect. Contraction follows the

irregular cliticization of shall/will +not turned into shan’t and won’t. The Interrogative version is

again based on the transformational rule of the Subject-auxiliary inversion movement, with the

modal auxiliaries shall and will being fronted to precede the personal pronouns. The Negative

Interrogative has in its full form of the modal, will or shall, and the addition of the negative

Specifier not after the Subject. In its contracted form the whole cliticized form of shan’t and

won’t, composed by modals+ Specifier, are fronted and precede the Subject.

The Future Perfect is used for a process that at a given time will be in the past, or will just have

ended. It is normally used with a time expression beginning with by (entro).

Present moment of speaking projection of a complete future

process

“Mary will/shall…” (present tense) “…have worked”

“Maria …” (omitted present marking) “…avrà lavorato” (future tense)

4.3.4 Future Simple Continuous with Modal Auxiliaries: Syntax and Semantics

The form of the Future Continuous is constructed with the Future Simple of “to be” (will/shall+ be)+

the Present Participle of the Main verb. The negative Specifier not is then introduced between the

modal auxiliary shall pr will and the aspectual auxiliary be to mark the Negative structure in its full

form. As for the contracted version, the cliticization won’t and shan’t are placed between the

personal pronoun and the aspectual auxiliary be.

The Interrogative counterpart shows the transformational rule of the Subject-auxiliary inversion

movement. The Negative Interrogative version is inclusive of the Specifier not which, in the full

structure, is inserted between the personal pronoun and the aspectual auxiliary be, whereas, in the

contracted structure, takes the cliticized forms of shan’t and won’t that are fronted.

Semantically, the form of the Future Simple Continuous has 2 uses:

a. it can be used as an ordinary continuous form indicating a process that starts before a given

point in time and probably continues after it. Only that, in this case, the time of the process is in

the future;

b. it can express a notion of unintentional future process, which will occur in the normal course of

events.

4.3.5 Future Perfect Continuous with Modal Auxiliaries: Syntax and Semantics

This form of Future contains auxiliaries of three different types. The Future Perfect Continuous is

formed with shall/will+ have been+ the Present Participle of the main verb. These are all its forms

in full and contracted. Semantically, the Future Perfect Continuous can be used instead of the Future

Perfect:

a. when the process indicated by the main verb is continuous;

b. when the process is emphatically expressed as a continuous process.

4.4 PRAGMATIC DIMENSIONS OF THE FUTURE

4.4.1 The Use of Future in Political Speeches: Critical Discourse Analysis

The Modal auxiliary verbs shall and will are often used in institutional discourse to convey

pragmatic meanings that are not immediately recognizable by readers or listeners and therefore, can

easily affect their interpretation. The analysis of the writer/speaker’s covert intentionality is the field

of Critical Discourse Analysis. Critical Discourse Analysis investigates how language is used to

support certain institutions and to manipulate public opinion. The use of modal auxiliaries is crucial in

conveying the position of the Speaker on the topics he introduces in the course of his speech.

MODULE 13

AGENTS AND CAUSATION: TRANSITIVITY AND SYNTACTIC MOVEMENTS

5.2 A FUNCTIONAL VIEW OF ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICES OF THE ENGLISH VERB:

SYNTACTIC STRUCTURES

5.2.1 Logical, Grammatical and Psychological Subject: Active/Passive Focus on Implicatures

Voice (Active and Passive)

TENSES ASPECTS VOICES

SIMPLE

(-ed/ auxiliary did) ACTIVE

CONTINUOUS PASSIVE

(auxiliary be+ ing) (auxiliary be)

PERFECT

(auxiliary had+ -ed)

SIMPLE

(-s / auxiliary do/does) ACTIVE

PRESENT CONTINUOUS PASSIVE

(auxiliary be+ -ing) (auxiliary be)

PERFECT

(auxiliary have/has + -ed)

shall/ will

MODALIZES should/ would ACTIVE

PRESENT can/ could PASSIVE

(FUTURE) may/ might (auxiliary be)

must

Halliday claims that language has evolved in such a way that our interpretation of experience and our

interpersonal exchanges are coded into semantic structures which are shared by a specific speech

community. As for the semantics and pragmatics of the English Voice System, Halliday connects it

to the notion of Subject that the subdivides into three dimensions:

a. Logical Subject: the Agent or doer of the action (semantic dimension of language);

b. Grammatical Subject: that of which something is predicated (syntactic dimension);

c. Psychological Subject: the concern of the message (pragmatic dimension).

Transitive Verbs requiring a Direct Object to complement their meaning, and on Ditransitive Verbs

requiring both a Direct and an Indirect Object. Intransitive Verbs don’t need any following constituent

to complete their meaning and can have the Active Voice, Transitive and Ditransitive Verbs can occur

in both Active and Passive forms.

Halliday renames these three functions of the Subject according to the role they play in the clause. So

that:

a. the Logical Subject is the Actor in a clause as semantic representation;

b. the Grammatical Subject is simply the Subject in a clause meant as syntactic structure;

c. the Psychological Subject is a Theme in a clause meant as pragmatic message.

Though the deep semantic sense underlying these surface sentence-structures is the same,

pragmatically, these are utterance subtly but significantly different in meaning. The purpose is to

emphasize within each utterance a particular aspect of the message as its Topic. This implies that

the rest of the utterance is left in the background as a Comment, or in Halliday’s terms, in a rhematic

position (or Rheme). In Grice’s definition, conversational Implicatures are non-stated meanings that

can be assumed by inferring them from particular syntactic patterns of words, thus qualifying their

shared pragmatic use in actual communicative contexts.

5.2.2 Schema Conceptualization of Transitivity and Syntactic Movements

Transitivity System that organizes, in the human mind, the semantic meaning of the Process

expressed by the Verb. This cognitive organization of a process is exclusively “schematic” and

“logical”, based on how people from a particular socio-cultural community conceptualise the world

and may or may not coincide with the syntactic organization of the sentence that expresses that

process “linguistically”. The semantic implication of these Active and Passive forms of the same

sentence is that in the human mind the Conceptualization of the Process is the same in both. The

focus of attention (the emphasis) changes.

a. in the Active form of the sentence, the emphasis is as the Actors, the “doers” of the process,

taking the prominent role of the syntactic Subject;

b. in the Passive form of the same sentence, the emphasis is on the Beneficiary of the process,

that takes this time the role of the Subject.

These basic semantic notions of Voice inform the syntactic movements of the Active and Passive

structures of the English Verb. The Direct Object of the Active sentence moves to the front to become

the Subject of the Passive Sentence. The Subject of the Active sentence moves to the end of the

sentence to appear, in the Passive version of the same sentence, in a phrase introduced by by.

Another necessary change has occurred in turning the Active structure into a Passive one and that is

the introduction of the passive auxiliary verb be always followed by the Past Participle of the Main


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Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in lingue culture e letterature straniere
SSD:
A.A.: 2017-2018

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher francescacaropreso di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua e traduzione inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Salento - Unisalento o del prof Guido Maria Grazia.

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