What is appraisal?

•Attitude is part of the Appraisal
Theory which concerns our
evaluations of events that cause
specific reactions in different people
•Developed in the 1990s by Peter
White and Jim Martin
It is a predisposition or a tendency to respond
positively or negatively towards a certain idea,
person, object, or situation from a
SUBJECTIVE point of view.
Affect (Emotional evaluation)
Judgment (Ethical evaluation)
Appreciation (Aestethic or Functional
Attitude: AFFECT
• The emotional evaluation of things, processes
and states of affairs
• Affect
Process (mental or behavioural)
Analysis: the
20 chapter
Now we will show you how affect, judgment and
appreciation are realized through some
examples from our extract.
Pinocchio is coming back to the Fairy, finally
freed from prison.
«Fancy the happiness of Pinocchio on finding
himself free! »
Happiness = state of being , example of AFFECT as
«Tormented by the wish to see his father… »
«How unhappy I have been »
“To be tormented” , “to be unhappy”  The writer conveys
the bad feelings of that moment.
*words related to basic emotion (sadness, happiness,
angriness) are part of this semantic region.
«It is so long, poor man, since I have seen
“Poor man” = AFFECT: aside referring to Pinocchio’s
«He stopped suddenly, frozen with terror .»
Frozen with terror  AFFECT as mental process,
synonymous of «being terrified»
«The Serpent laughed so heartily »
Example of AFFECT as behavioural process. To
laugh, to smile, to cry, are all ways of expressing
«full of life, quiet, still »
Attributes, examples of AFFECT as quality.
«to feel brave »
Brave  attribute, AFFECT as quality.
In another context “bravely”  Judgment of
But… What is judgment?
Attitude: JUDGMENT
• Judgment deals with assessing people and their
behaviour from an ethical point of view
Social esteem
• Judgment
Social sanction
Attitude: JUDGMENT
• Normality (how unusual someone is)
• Capacity (how capable someone is)
• Tenacity (how resolute someone is)
• Propriety (how truthful someone is)
• Veracity (how ethical someone is)
Attitude: JUDGMENT
Pinocchio as the
representation of the
negative sense of
« But he kept on bravely. »
Positive social esteem JUDGMENT; it
belongs to the “tenacity”
«And yet I deserve everything, for I am certainly
very stubborn and stupid! »
The verb ‘deserve’ denotes a positive social sanction
JUDGMENT; it belongs to “propriety”.
‘Stubborn’ and ‘Stupid’ are explicit and negative social
esteem JUDGMENT in the sense of “capacity”.
«But from now on, I'll be different and I'll try to
become a most obedient boy.»
The word ‘different’ is implicitly positive social esteem
JUDGMENT; it is a positive social sanction in relation
with “propriety”.
‘Obedient boy’ is a positive social sanction in relation
with “propriety”.
«..disobedient boys are certainly far from happy..»
This sentence shows the relation between JUDGMENT
Bad actions, which are committed by ‘disobedient boys’,
reflect their emotional situation.
The expression ‘disobedient boys’ is a negative sanction in
the sense of “propriety”.
«She who has been so good to me.. »
‘Good’ is explicitly positive social esteem JUDGMENT,
"propriety". The appraised is the Fairy.
«..unable to withstand them, he jumped into a
field to pick a few grapes that tempted him.»
‘Unable to withstand’ is a negative social esteem
JUDGMENT and it belongs to “capacity”, the
appraised is Pinocchio.
«..Weasels which came every night to steal his
chickens. »
The verb ‘to steal’ is a negative action in the sense of
social sanction JUDGMENT, it belongs to
“propriety”. The appraised are the weasels which are
seen as dishonest animals.
• Appreciation involves evaluations of semiotic
and natural phenomena
Aesthetic evaluation
• Appreciation
Functional evaluation
Impact (does it catch your attention?)
Quality (like/dislike)
• COMPOSITION (balance and complexity)
• VALUATION (how useful/useless,
relevant/irrelevant something is)
«lovely Fairy»
This is an example of APPRECIATION as reaction
(specifically positive quality)
« his fairy sister with azure hair »
In this case it cannot be considered as “appreciation”
because it is an objective statement.
«An immense Serpent lays stretched across the
It’s an aesthetic evaluation, and in particular is an
APPRECIATION as reaction (“impact”); in fact the
Serpent is immense related to Pinocchio.
«A Serpent with a bright green skin, fiery eyes
which glowed and burned, and a pointed tail»
“bright green skin” and “fiery eyes” are aesthetic
evaluation because it is Pinocchio’s subjective point
of view.
The verbs “glow” and “burn” are examples of
APPRECIATION as reaction, since the Serpent’s
aesthetic features have the power to trigger such
«the flash of his red eyes»
This aesthetic evaluation has a strong “impact” on
Pinocchio, who is terrified.
« Pinocchio said in a sweet, soothing voice... »
APPRECIATION as “valuation”: Pinocchio’s voice is
an instrument to instil a sense of kindness in the
Here we can see it:
«Would you be so kind to step aside…?»
«...he jumped into a field to pick a few grapes
that tempted him.»
Probably it can’t be considered as appreciation. There is
still uncertainties in the academic studies about
collocating entities in the appraisal system.
• J.R. Martin and P.R.R. White. (2005). The Language Of
Evaluation. Great Britain: Palgrave Macmillan.
• English Language and Literature Studies; Vol. 3, No. 1;
(2013). Appraisal Perspective on Attitudinal Analysis of Public
Service. Published by Canadian Center of Science and
• Mick O’Donnell. (2011). Language, Function, Cognition.
Week 6: Appraisal: The Speaker’s evaluation of things in the
text. Retrieved from:

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