Linguistics: Who’s who and what’s what in clinical psychology discourse
Who’s who and what’s what in clinical psychology discourse
Presenter: Dragana (Gaga) Stosic
This presentation deals with the naming of people, things, activities and characteristics in clinical psychology. When it comes to the language of science, the concepts of ‘technicality’, ‘abstraction’ and ‘grammatical metaphor’ have attracted a considerable amount of attention within the SFL community (e.g. Halliday & Martin, 1993; Hao & Humphrey, 2019; Martin & Veel, 1998). However, Hao (2020) argues that the relationships among these concepts are “far from clear” (p. 7). As a solution, she proposes that entity types within a given discipline be explored and described using a tri-stratal perspective, including field, discourse semantics, and lexicogrammar. Building upon Hao’s (2020) discourse semantic system of entity type in undergraduate biology experiment reports, this talk explores the entities found in a sample of clinical trial reports that deal with depressive and anxiety disorders. To investigate the entities from ‘above’, it draws from a recently developed field network (Doran & Martin, 2021) and Hood’s (2010) distinction between ‘the object of study’ and the ‘field of research’. From ‘below’, it focuses on the experiential meanings at the group and clause levels (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014). From ‘around’, it comments on the interaction between entities and evaluation (Martin & White, 2005). Following these discussions, a comparison between the entity type systems in clinical psychology and biology will be made, with the former including: (a) ‘characteristic’ entities as well as more delicate classes of ‘source’ entities; (b) less delicate classes of ‘activity’ entities; and (c) the characterisation sub-system (in addition to categorisation and definition).
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