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Centre for Research in Writing - Research Seminar

Writing with Attitude

Event details

A fundamental principle of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is an understanding of meaning as metafunctional (cf Halliday, 1994), or meaning operating simultaneously through three lenses. In basic terms, an ideational lens builds a world of experience (content) and understanding of how messages are developed (logic), an interpersonal lens positions an audience to ‘see, fell and judge things’, and a textual lens highlights how texts are organised so that the parts hang together (Macken-Horarik, Love, Sandiford & Unsworth, 2018, p. 12). Informed by SFL, Appraisal Theory (Martin & White, 2005) provides a complex framework for examining interpersonal meaning in texts through three key subsystems: Engagement, Attitude and Graduation. Following a brief introduction to SFL theory, this presentation will focus on the application of Attitude and Graduation in narrative and argument, two genres important to subject English. Through the analysis of primary and secondary student texts collected as part of a three-year Australian Research Council funded project, key language resources of the subsystems are examined and explained to illustrate how these young writers relate with their readers through a repertoire of interpersonal resources.  To conclude, ways in which these resources might be taught to equip teachers with knowledge about language useful for both teaching and assessment of writing will be examined.     
Carmel Sandiford – University of Melbourne


EMS Building F20