Book: A Functional Grammar for Writers
Chapter: Lexis and grammar: Appraisal resources in writing
Writers should be aware that their word choices have a profound effect on the way that the reader interprets the text. The same is true of a number of grammatical forms. This chapter looks at the resources for interpersonal interaction in language, particularly from the point of view of grammatical mood, modality and modalization, and systems which have been used to indicate appraisal in English as per Martin and White (The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English 2005). In particular, we will explain the expectations of academic work in terms of engagement, attitude and graduation so that writers will be able to effectively incorporate what some grammarians refer to as “hedging,” a necessary means of negotiating stance.
By the end of this chapter, the reader will understand the various choices available to encode types of linguistic engagement (positioning of the participants in the dialogue), attitude (affect, judgement and appreciation qualities of the text) and graduation (increasing or decreasing the assertive force). They will be expected to understand how some clause parts (particularly Subject and Finite) fit together to provide grammatical mood, and what this means in terms of how the text is read.