The System of Engagement in a Sample of Prose Fiction and the News

Document Type : Research Paper


English Department of the University of Tabriz


Emerging within Systemic Linguistics, Appraisal/Evaluation is a framework for analyzing the language of evaluation, providing techniques for the systematic analysis of evaluation and stance as they operate in whole texts and in groupings of texts. There are three systems in the Appraisal framework: Attitude, Engagement, and Graduation. This study sets out to analyze the use of the system of Engagement within a sample of English Literature (prose fiction) and the News (news articles). Engagement is a medium through which the speaker or the writer engages dialogistically with others (i.e., the addressees, within the process of evaluation). A corpus of 20,000 words was selected from each genre, involving five cornerstones of short fiction and a collection of news articles from CNN, Reuters, BBC, Daily Mail and Yahoo News. The study sheds light on the fact that both genres are strikingly close in using the four subsystems of Engagement, and both are inclined towards dialogic expansion, albeit for different generic reasons, with dialogic contraction taking a backbench. Appraisal as a whole is a promising model to explore texts in different genres, paving the way for richer more illuminating analyses of the interpersonal semantics operating in them.


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