The role of APPRAISAL resources in constructing a community response
Keywords:appraisal, attitude, hiv/aids, xhosa english, south africa, corpus
In this article we report on preliminary analysis of data drawn from a corpus of the spoken English of Xhosa speakers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, using the APPRAISAL framework associated with Systemic Functional Grammar (Martin, 2000). After briefly describing key features of the corpus, explaining what data we base this article on, and contextualising our work in relation to AIDS and AIDS awareness in the Eastern Cape, we turn our attention to APPRAISAL. First we outline the features of the APPRAISAL framework, then we contrast and illustrate two broad forms or realisations of APPRAISAL,namely, ‘inscribed’ and ‘evoked’ APPRAISAL, after which we outline how each figures in the micro-politics of interaction. We then report on the principal findings of the analysis of a small selection of interactions dealing with HIV/AIDS, and draw attention to how different the deployment of APPRAISAL resources is in these texts compared with that in texts analysed elsewhere (e.g. Coffin, 2003; Martin, 2003). Our overall hypothesis is that the second-language speakers in this corpus will have more limited linguistic resources to draw on than mother-tongue speakers (who have been the primary focus of APPRAISAL analysis to date) and that there may consequently be fewer inscribed expressions of APPRAISAL in their speech than one might expect of speakers when discussing such a highly emotive topic. We end by speculating on what the expression of APPRAISAL appears to accomplish, socially, in these four interactions, why it takes the form that it does, and what methodological challenges such research poses.
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