Mutual Determination between Clausal Constituents

Qingshun He, Meiling Fu


In formal syntactic analysis, the noun phrase functioning as subject governs the verb phrase functioning as predicate,and the verb within the verb phrase in turn governs the noun phrase functioning as its object. Similarly, in SystemicFunctional Linguistics, the central element of a clause is the verbal group; it determines the nominal groupfunctioning as its participant. However, neither formal nor functional syntactic analysis can tell the differencebetween the two sentences Mary has become a good person and Mary has become a dead person. Following thebasic ideas of stratum, metafunction, cline and rank in Systemic Functional Linguistics, this research analyzes thefunctional syntactic structures of the two sentences from the ideational and interpersonal perspectives, proposing thatalthough it is the verbal group that determines the nominal group functioning as its object in a clause, the nominalgroup itself has a reflexive effect on the verbal group. That is, the constituents in a clause are mutually determined.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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