Investigating Stancetaking in Russian and Chinese
Insights from an Experimental Course for Language Professionals Incorporating Register and Appraisal
Keywords:Stance, Appraisal, Russian, Chinese
The proposition that stancetaking is pervasive in communication is widely argued (e.g., Halliday, 1978; Ochs, 1990; Englebretson, 2007; Jaffe, 2009). However, as a subject of critical analysis, stance is not typically studied in foreign language courses at UK universities. UK civil servants therefore developed and piloted a course on interpreting stance in Russian and Mandarin Chinese, incorporating Poynton’s (1989 ) extended tenor network and Martin and White’s (2005) Appraisal Framework. Survey feedback from 53 language analysts and instructor observations indicated, inter alia, that the course helped the majority of learners to enhance their awareness of how stance is expressed in their L2. Responses also highlighted perceived merits and demerits of the course and signalled the value of a larger, gradated offering to optimise course benefit. While preliminary, these results have implications not only for civil service language instructors, but also – potentially – those in higher education.
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