Blerk again. What does that mean? Let's take some of the clauses above and break them down.
- Verbs (participant) are (process) "doing words". (participant)
- However (circumstance) not every verb (participant) is (process) a doing word (participant) all the time (circumstance)
- sometimes (circumstance) verbs (participant) behave (process) as function words. (circumstance)
- as (conjunction) I (participant) suggested (process) in my discussion of lexical density (circumstance)
Also, why is "as function words" a circumstance, not a participant? Effectively the preposition followed by the noun is behaving like an adverb - it is describing how the verbs behave, not what they are.
There are different types of processes. In the OU course, we divided processes into five sorts:
- material - a participant acts upon the material world or is acted upon in some way ("I ate sushi");
- mental - processes of consciousness and cognition ("We thought it didn't matter");
- verbal - processes of communication ("I told him so.");
- relational - being, having, consisting of, locating ("He has no father.");
- existential - indicating the existence of an entity ("There is a problem").
In grammatical terms, we can talk about subjects, direct and indirect objects and so forth. However, these different types of processes have been assigned different types of participants - it seems to make the whole thing pretty complicated, but in actual fact, when we reflect on what is going on in a sentence, the types of participant associated with a process help to clarify the sort of process we are looking at in some cases. This summary comes from here:
- Material - actor, goal, scope, attribute, client, recipient
- Mental - sensor, phenomenon
- Verbal - sayer, receiver, verbiage
- Relational - token, value
This provides us with a more comprehensive way of analysing processes.
- Verbs (participant, token) are (process, relational) "doing words". (participant, value)
- as (conjunction) I (participant, sayer) suggested (process, verbal) to you (participant, receiver) in my discussion of lexical density (circumstance)
As the page I just linked to makes clear, it's also possible to go into more detail about different types of circumstance - but that's quite enough for one blog post!