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Exophoric ellipsis

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:30 pm
by kapvijay
Hello, Greetings.........

Halliday and Hasan, in their book Cohesion in English, stated exophoric ellipsis has no place in cohesion (pg. no. 144) and didn't discuss much about it. Ellipsis is normally an anaphoric relation(meaning is supplied from the previous text) and occasionally an exophoric relation(meaning is understood from the situation). But one can see numerous exophoric elliptical forms in advertisements and medical reports and understand such forms' meanings from the (present) situational relation rather than the (preceding) textual relation(,don't we?).

Why didn't they accommodate the exophoric ellipsis in cohesion?
Are there any scholars did an extensive study on exophoric ellipsis?

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:38 am
by fluffyhamster
It might be good if you gave some examples to help people respond. Cos it's a bit hard to know quite what exophoric ellipsis in medical reports looks like. (If it's something like 'the patient' or their name being ellipted, i.e. there just being notes like Blood pressure 160/105, then surely the medical record's cover or folder supplies the "missing" name and should count as part of the overall text. Either way it is more recoverable by the doctor and other professionals concerned than a distant linguist, who may have only received and be working with incomplete texts). As for who's reading or hearing an advert, for example a medical poster (Foaming at the mouth, but unable to drink? See a doctor for a rabies test ASAP!), I think it's too much like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs to tell anybody that whoever reads it is indeed the intended recipient and referent. Anyway, I guess there just isn't enough of linguistic interest (at least the grammar in my above examples is pretty basic and easily recoverable) or amenability (exact referents may be hard to exhaustively enumerate let alone establish) to justify linguists spending as much time on this stuff as endophoric phenomena. Plus linguists of whatever persuasion do like to delimit their area of study and try to keep things more linguistic than extra-linguistic (real-world knowledge and reference can become overwhelming and even a bit too philosophical). Lastly, I must say I found what little I managed to read of Halliday & Hasan somewhat dry. Have you tried other, more general S-F works, such as Halliday & Matthiessen, or Thompson?

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:40 am
by kapvijay
Thank you fluffyhamster.

Here are some examples:
Exophoric Ellipsis in advertisement
1) Cement available

Exophoric Ellipsis in medical report
1) Patient conscious and oriented
2) Health education given
3) IV fluids on flow

When I see 'cement available' in a shop, I understand 'cement is available here' (don't you?). I get the omission of the form from situational relation which is called Exophoric Ellipsis. I don't have any text to see previously.

The same way nurses (and other duty nurses) and doctors understand them as 'patient IS conscious and oriented' 'health education HAS given' and IV fluids IS on flow'.

I think linguists discussed the exophoric reference a lot but not exophoric ellipsis. (sorry, If my explanations are odd)

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:30 pm
by Sally Olsen
I googled exophoric ellipsis and got an interesting paper bry G Phillups but can't seem to copy the Internet address - sorry. There are a lot of references in the paper,
I think this is important because students who are studying have to understand this to properly read what they need to study and also to write themselves one day.
I think you have found your niche to study because there isn't a lot of information on this but it would be interesting.
We often juat presume because we as English speakers can understand, the students will understand but that is not always the case.
I think it is really important that student nurses and doctors understand what is happening here. It interesting that ads use this format usually because of financial reasons - there are fewer number of letters to pay for in an ad and it is easier to read quickly because we don't spend much time on ads. So there is a population of students who might be in the advertising business that would be interested in exophoric ellipsis.
Any word that is strange or long takes a bit of getting used to but we do it all the tiime for other sujbects. Why are we so hesitant to learn language about our language? At the same time, I do like your name, Fluffy.

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:23 am
by fluffyhamster
Well, being able to realize that what's missing is stuff like 'here' or 'is' or 'has been' is to me more a matter of general knowledge of (the English) language. Linguists may call it 'exophoric ellipsis' and to do with 'situation(s)', but it is really just about systematic regularities and unsurprising complements. I think linguists are just giving it fancy names so they can politely drop it, and the reader is too suitably awed~relieved to then say much either way. If they called it 'Very predictable ellipsis' it might be more accurate but much less impressive-sounding lol. About the only challenge as I see it is stuff like (yes, the reference of that possible) 'here', wherever that is, or 'from' whoever it is, for our concrete needs/supplies.

I'm not quite sure why Sally's posted a link to Edinburgh, but yeah, it's a good place for English studies. :wink:

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:28 am
by kapvijay
Thank you Sally Olsen for your encouragement.

Is the interesting article, which you have mentioned in your post, "Exophoric VP Ellipsis" by Philip Miller and Geoffrey K. Pullum, November 26, 2012?

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:47 am
by kapvijay
Hello fluffyhamster, I got the book "An Introduction to Functional Grammar" by M.A.K. Halliday and Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen. As you said, it's very easy to read. thanks.

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:44 pm
by fluffyhamster
I only have the Second edition of Halliday's Introduction to FG, but here's to hoping the newer editions (Third, and now Fourth) in collaboration with Matthiessen have made it more comprehensive, up-to-date, and above all more readable and accessible (often having a second author really helps in those regards).

Hi Sally, is the subject-dropping in languages like Chinese and Japanese an example of exophoric ellipsis (maybe the Chomskyites give it an even grander name). If so, and if one couldn't get one's head around its everyday practicalities without reading (or ever awaiting) a stuffy treatise on the matter, then one would be forever pointing at one's nose when asked even the simplest of questions! :D :lol: :razz:

I'm not trying to be too anti-academic here, but linguistics (well, AL at any rate) is probably best when it accepts that humans (unlike computers) don't always need everything spelt out in exhaustive detail, and gets on with stuff other than programming almost.

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:50 pm
by Sally Olsen
But you are saying this from the point of view of an English as a first language speaker and probably a good student.
Why can't we study language like we do anything else in the world just to see if there is something interesting there. I get as excited by a new article in the field as by a new discovery in space or in anthropology or a new mystery by Agatha Christie (there have been at least 3 since her death).

Yes kapvijay, that is the article.

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:20 pm
by fluffyhamster
It isn't my fault if Chinese linguists or linguists of languages other than English aren't writing about this stuff (but I haven't checked so hold that thought LOL). I doubt though if my Chinese would be good enough to read in Mandarin about exophoric ellipsis anyway. But if I were to struggle through regardless, I'd probably become pretty familiar with at least how exophoric ellipsis is written about in Chinese, granted! Anyway, yonder sign says Don't Feed the Hamster, so... :D :wink: :razz:

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:53 pm
by Sally Olsen
Why don't you email Halliday and ask him about it. He taught in China and did his PhD is about cdiffeerent dialects there. I am sure he would keep up with what is being studied and knowing humans, someone is doing something.

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:17 pm
by fluffyhamster
I've got his PhD dissertation ("The Language of the Chinese Secret History of the Mongols"). I think the only academic I've ever emailed was Victor Mair, and unless they're still active (actually teaching somewhat in a department, rather than just being an Emeritus Professor or similar) and you're enrolled as a PhD student with them personally supervising your own dissertation or something, I think they're too busy to be more than polite but brief. I guess it's different for you Sally as you've done a number of courses and sought to stay in touch with your tutors.

Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:20 pm
by Sally Olsen
Chomsky wrote a colleague of mine in Mongolia and they had a great discussion about one topic they were both interested in. I would hesitate to say that all linguists would do that but it is worth a try if you have a good question or problem.

There is a Journal of Chinese Linguistics and an Internet page for discussion. I am sure you participate in both Fluffy with all the reading that you do.

Just as example of someone who studies at a high level but has practical results you could look up papers by Tosh Tachino. He studies language in courtrooms and how they create an argument and use referencing. It points out the differences between academics in university and how they structure an argument and lawyers or judges and how they do the same

Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:55 pm
by fluffyhamster
It's the "if you have a good question or problem" bit that's the killer. I'm afraid the stuff that I do is more like lexicographic drudgery than the exciting gunfights, clifftop chicken car chases, blowpipe assassinations, bubbling jacuzzis and high-stakes gambling that proper linguists get up to.