Appraising Appraisal

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Appraisal is a term referring to systems within Systemic Functional Linguistics that map evaluative language. This chapter reviews two Appraisal systems (Attitude and Graduation) and assesses their viability for analysing evaluation in narratives and students’ written responses to these. Within this context, a crucial affordance of Appraisal is its semantic orientation, which allows analysts to capture the delicate interweaving of explicit and implicit attitudes that powerfully positions readers of narratives. However, the sprawling, cumulative and context-sensitive nature of evaluation requires a rigorous methodology for using Appraisal for coding purposes. We address this challenge, proposing a cline of implicitness that relates degrees of reliability to instances of evaluation depending on their textual and/or cultural/institutional environments.


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