The Language Dynamic - Gerard O'Grady

The Language Dynamic - Gerard O'Grady

Stratification, Redundancy and the Mechanism of Change

The Language Dynamic - Gerard O'Grady

Gerard O'Grady [+-]
Cardiff University
Gerard O'Grady is a professor in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University.
Tom Bartlett [+-]
University of Glasgow
Tom Bartlett is Professor of Functional and Applied Linguistics in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow. His doctoral fieldwork was on intercultural discourse between indigenous groups, national government and international development organisations. His research interests lie in the relationship between culture and genre and in developing hybrid genres that enhance the participation of minority groups in gatekeeping discourses.


In Chapter 4, Stratification, Redundancy and the Mechanisms of Change we revisit the conception of stratification in order to illustrate that an open, dynamic and cyclical system must be stratal and that the relationship between strata must be realisational. We specifically examine the relationship between the higher semantic stratum and the lower lexicogrammatical stratum and suggest a modification to the content expression boundary. Our arguments are grounded in a close textual and prosodic analysis of a short political statement. We show that slippage between strata leads to creativity and illustrate how the use of explicit objective interpersonal meanings rearticulates meanings. This is a topic we will examine further in a follow up companion volume, where we will argue that such rearticulations are a major driver in ideological formations such as populist discourse. The opening part reintroduces metafunctional meaning (discussed in chapters 2 and 3) in order to illustrate how a text is simultaneously the aggregate of particulate, prosodic and wave-like meaning-bearing elements. We conduct a close textual analysis and examine the choices made in field, tenor and mode. Our analysis includes both lexicogrammar and prosody. We note that recombinations of lexicogrammar and prosody have the effect of shifting experiential-like meanings into prosodic interpersonal meanings. We further note that while many of the prosodic choices were predicted by the lexicogrammar and hence redundant others were not. The recombination of prosody and lexicogrammar in order to realise a thought illustrates how the realignment of by the chapter reviewing both Halliday’s and Hjelmslev’s notions of stratification in order to explicate the bidirectional nature of realisation between higher and lower strata.

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O'Grady, Gerard; Bartlett, Tom . Stratification, Redundancy and the Mechanism of Change. The Language Dynamic. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2023. ISBN 9781800503342. Date accessed: 30 Sep 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44589. Nov 2023

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