“An astonishing season of destiny!” Evaluation in blurbs used for advertising TV series

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In this chapter I explore evaluation in DVD blurbs (the text on the back of DVD box sets for TV series), which promote television series to potential buyers. The approach taken to the analysis of evaluation is corpus linguistics, and this chapter reports on findings from a pilot study examining the blurbs for 50 contemporary American television series. A combination of frequency analysis and concordancing is used to examine the use of evaluation in these discourse types in terms of frequency, dispersion and functionality. The findings suggest that the discourse type of the DVD blurb is linguistically restricted – although not in terms of specific lexico-grammatical items, but rather in terms of pragmatic functions, and that it has much in common with both traditional advertising and book blurbs.


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