Evaluative patterns in the concluding components of expounding essays: from the perspectives of Rhetorical Structure Theory and APPRAISAL.

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Abstract

Essays having an expounding nature are common in many academic disciplines such as business. While their primary function is to explain the causes or consequences of a phenomenon, they also serve to persuade readers to recognise the writer's arguments, which are often summarised and commented on in the concluding sentence of a paragraph. To illustrate how reasoning and persuasion are undertaken in the concluding components of a paragraph, this paper investigates the expounding essays written by English-as-a-Second-Language associate degree business students. The text structure and its influence on evaluative language choice are examined by combining two analytical frameworks, Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) and APPRAISAL. The textual focus is the body paragraphs announcing and explaining the factors or effects of a business topic to reveal how a conclusion is reached with an evaluative insight. The findings demonstrate the common rhetorical relations for reasoning, elaborating and conjoining arguments. The findings also illustrate the two key relations located at the end of the paragraph (Evaluation or Interpretation), which exhibit differences in the choice of inscribed and invoked ATTITUDE resources. This paper concludes with a brief discussion on the pedagogical implications of instructing student writers how to write concluding components of a paragraph with an evaluative punch, based on the writer's intention to resonate with his or her assessment throughout the paragraph or make a different personal judgement over the subject matter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystemic Functional Linguistics Interest Group 2021 Conference Proceedings
Publication statusSubmitted - 2022

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