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Title: Green grammar and grammatical metaphor, or language and the myth of power, or metaphors we die by
Authors: Goatly, A. 
Issue Date: Apr-1996
Citation: Goatly, A. (1996-04). Green grammar and grammatical metaphor, or language and the myth of power, or metaphors we die by. Journal of Pragmatics 25 (4) : 537-560. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper takes the position that ordinary language, especially the transitive clause, is inadequate to the representation of the world demanded by modern scientific theory, especially ecological theory, and suggests ways in which the grammatical resources of the language can be used and developed to become more adequate. In particular it argues against the position of Halliday and Martin that adequacy can be achieved by science abandoning nominalization or grammatical metaphor, and points out that, on the contrary, these structures emphasize the primacy of process and downplay anthropocentrism. It begins in section 2 by explaining 'grammatical metaphor', showing that congruent and literal language use can be regarded as conventionalized metaphor. It continues by trying to account for the 'naturalness', the Marxist/humanist reality, which we accord to congruent structures, in terms of experientialist accounts of cognitive metaphor. Section 3, after suggesting an experientialist influence on Newtonian dynamics, gives a brief sketch of changes in scientific theory since Newton, leading up to a summary of Gaia theory. Section 4 is the technical core of this paper. It shows that the congruent grammar of transitive material process clauses lacks consonance with modern scientific theory, whether in physics or biology/ecology. And it gives an extended account of how the resources of transitivity/ergativity and grammatical metaphor may be utilised in favour of more consonance. Section 5 sums up, and concludes with some thoughts on the possibilities for an Ecological Critical Discourse Analysis, pointing to radical and less radical alternatives for the future.
Source Title: Journal of Pragmatics
ISSN: 03782166
DOI: 10.1016/0378-2166(95)00057-7
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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