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Book: Language in Action

Chapter: 5. Exploring New Perspectives and Degrees of Delicacy in Appraisal Studies: An Analysis of Engagement Resources in Academic Discourse in Spanish

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40630


In this chapter I propose an argumentative approach to the analysis of engagement resources in academic discourse. This argumentative approach consists of a methodological crossing of discourse analysis according to the Model of appraisal (Martin & White, 2005) and Toulmin’s Argumentation Model (1958, 2003). Through an evaluative-argumentative exploration of 20 MA thesis introductions, this chapter demonstrates how the complementary analysis of engagement within the framework of argumentative schemes allows for more delicate descriptions of the rhetorical workings of monoglossic and heteroglossic propositions than those based on the global structure of texts. It is also shown how this approach stands as a useful alternative to analyses based on discursive moves, which focus on stages realized by full paragraphs inside which toulminian argumentative components can be traced in more detail. The identification of the rhetorical functions of engagement realizations as well as the argumentative patterns which shape them represents a methodological innovation which could help improve our current understanding and application of the rhetorical influence of evaluative language in discourse.

Chapter Contributors

  • Julio César Valerdi Zárate ( - jzarate) 'Intercultural Language Center of Ibero Puebla'