Category Archives: Ideational function

Activity: verbal and relational clauses

Here is a quick activity I often do with young learners or lower level students. It’s a quick way to highlight the difference between relational and verbal clauses. All you need is two sets of animal cards (or any semantic … Continue reading

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Behavioural Processes 1

Behavioural processes construe “(typically human) physiological and psychological behaviour, like breathing, coughing, smiling, dreaming and staring” (H & M, p248). The participant who is ‘behaving’, typically a conscious being, is labelled the behaver (H & M, p250). I’ve noticed that in … Continue reading

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Material Clauses 4

Material clauses represent “a quantum of change…unfolding through distinct phases” (H & M, p.184). This unfolding necessarily has an outcome: “a change of some feature of one of the participants” (H & M, p.184). This outcome may be either creative … Continue reading

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Existential Processes 2

Most, if not all, EFL textbooks first introduce existential clauses through either singular/plural (There is a…/There are some…) or mass/count (There is some…/There are some…) distinctions. This, however, I think misses the whole point of the existential process. Singular and mass etc. … Continue reading

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Existential Processes

An existential clause, such as There was an old person of Dover, functions to “represent that something exists or happens…The word there in such clauses is neither a participant nor a circumstance – it has no representational function in the transitivity … Continue reading

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Relational Processes (1)

A typical EFL first lesson often includes self-introductions of the kind like: My name is Taro. I am 12 years old.  These clauses use relational Processes, which “serve to characterize and to identify” (H & M, p.210). These two categories may … Continue reading

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Mental Processes

Mental clauses “are concerned with our experience of the world of our own consciousness” (H & M, p.197). Mental clauses consist of a Sensor, which is a human participant, and a Phenomenon: Mary (Sensor) liked (Process: mental) the gift (Phenomenon) … Continue reading

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Material Processes 3: Scope

There are two different kinds of scope: i. Scope: entity – which construes “an entity which exists independently of the process but which indicates the domain over which the process takes place” (H & M, p.192). This gives us, for … Continue reading

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Circumstances

The third element in the figure of the clause as representation is the Circumstance. Circumstantial elements are “attendant on the process” (H & M, p.260) by giving more information about such notions as when, where, how or why the process … Continue reading

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Participant

The second element in the figure of the clause as representation is the Participants, which “are inherent in the process: every experiential type of clause has at least one participant” (H & M, p.175). The type of participant (bold) is … Continue reading

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