"Judge takes no cap in mid-sentence": on the complementarity of grammar and lexis

M. A. K. Halliday

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

    Abstract

    The concept of lexicogrammar, as a unitary stratum of language, embodies a complementarity: it can be viewed from two perspectives, each of which highlights certain aspects but neither of which is optimal for all. However, while the classic complementarity of wave and particle is suggestive (grammar as wave, lexis as particle), lexis and grammar differ from this pattern in that they form the two poles of a continuum: one can approach the whole set of phenomena from either end -but the further one moves across towards the other end the more the explanatory scope becomes reduced, with increasing energy needed to produce diminishing returns. Because lexicogrammar is a unified semogenic resource, meanings can migrate along the cline; hence the wellknown phenomenon of "grammaticalization". The corpus (which is as much a treasury for grammarians as for lexicologists) makes it possible to study the patterns of both kinds on a quantitative basis; it also opens up the less immediately accessible region around the middle of the continuum, referred to by Francis and Hunston as "pattern grammar". Sinclair's work as lexicologist and as corpus linguist has been a major source of power in extending our theoretical understanding of the nature of lexicogrammar and the lexicogrammatical resources of contemporary English.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication"Judge takes no cap in mid-sentence"
    Subtitle of host publicationon the complementarity of grammar and lexis
    EditorsM. A. K. Halliday
    Place of PublicationBirmingham, UK
    PublisherDept. of English, University of Birmingham
    Pages1-23
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Print)0704423405
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    EventSinclair Open Lecture (1st : 2001) - Birmingham, UK
    Duration: 12 Jun 200112 Jun 2001

    Publication series

    NameSinclair open lecture
    PublisherDept. of English, University of Birmingham

    Conference

    ConferenceSinclair Open Lecture (1st : 2001)
    CityBirmingham, UK
    Period12/06/0112/06/01

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