Attitude in undergraduate persuasive essays

Sook Hee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper reports on a study that investigated the expression of evaluative language in persuasive essayswritten by undergraduate students. The main focus of the study was to explore differences in the use ofevaluations between high-graded and low-graded essays. The expressions of evaluative language wereanalysed with reference to attitude. Attitude is one of three main components of the Appraisal Systemin language, which is concerned with the use of evaluative language. Appraisal theory has been developedwithin the broader theoretical framework of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and focuses on theinterpersonal metafunction of language.The findings of the study reveal that, while high-graded essays maintain their formality, they morefrequently and skilfully deploy multiple attitude-invoking judgment strategies. These strategies are identifiedin terms of their contribution to the success or otherwise of the texts. The paper also considers how theselinguistic strategies might inform academic literacy support to foster critical components in student essays.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-58
Number of pages16
JournalProspect: an Australian journal of TESOL
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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