In the two selected text we mainly apply appraisal system, which belong to a multi-perspective model--SFL to analyze them. Martin and White raise the point of view that language is the resource combining with ideational, interpersonal and textual meaning to achieve the target of communication (2005). In this paper we focus on appraisal system as interpersonal meaning to look at the chosen texts. Appraisal system itself has three domains: attitude, graduation and engagement. Attitude investigates the emotions and judgments as well as evaluations towards things. Graduation tends to grading things according to the context. Engagement concerned with monogloss or heterogolss as sourcing attitudes.
The first selected text is a written warning to John Doe for his misconduct to Mary Beth. The conductors' management skill plays a significant role in company operation. Appropriate and successful management can build a comfortable working environment as well as a harmonious interpersonal relationship. So the letter to some extent is a caution and discipline to John's undue behavior to Mary. The other text is a letter from the external liaison manager to the claims-management companies who refer customer's disputes to the ombudsman about Payment Protection Insurance. The objective of the writer is to tell the companies how to deal with their client's complaint letters. Start from this objective the writer tries every possible way to expatiate her ideas clarity enough to the viewers.
Objectives of the selected text
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Before the written warning of John, there is an oral warning of his yellowing at Mary. Actually the selected text is a further discipline and in the letter it is claimed that if this kind of mistake repeat John may put himself in the danger of dismissal. So this letter aims to tell John that it is his second time making the same mistake and maybe next time the punishment will be more serious. In the letter the third person Donald Smith also involved in this case because at first John denied his mistake. So the text claimed the evidence of his error and made the whole process clear to confirm his fault. Alongside this letter the second one aims to improve the claims-companies' operation efficiency and help them understand their responsibilities. Through analyzing the two texts we can apply our knowledge to study the interpersonal relationships in discourse and further more we obtain the deeper meanings beyond the words and get more information to understand the discourse.
The Selected Text Analysis
Using SFL theories especially appraisal system to analyze the text, I find that there are many examples of projections and modality in the letter. In order to throw light on the incident the writer (Rebecca) quote or report what John, Mary or Donald said. As a result I find several instances of projection in the text.
You swore at her, saying,"Shit, I just asked you to do one little thing."
You said that you were upset at Mary Beth's lack of time management skills.
You stated that you had been having some personal difficulties with your spouse.
They are verbal projection because the writer quotes exactly what John said to tell the truth. In this situation John can't dispute because that's what he shouted at Mary and it's just what he said. Nevertheless, from the angle of John he is afraid of hitting the nail on the head. All he wants to do is answer the writer's questions without coming straight to the point. So he just admitted some personal problems instead of answering the writer directly to confess his fault.
He agreed that you were angry and your tone was loud and threatening.
This is mental projection because the writer didn't quote what they said directly. As well as saying, it is also possible to quote or report what people think or feel. In this projection Donald expressed his feelings that at that moment John was very angry and his voice was so loud that it's seems like a threatening to Mary Beth. John can't deny what he has done to Mary because Donald agreed with Mary's complaint and during the whole process Donald is a witness in some degree. His statement means a lot in this case as his words is a proof of John's fault. The writer uses another one's voice to support his judgment in the case. In fear of John disclaim what he has done to Mary the writer uses this projection to show him the definite evidence to john. After John receive the letter it is not possible for him to deny again because the statement is not only limited to one of the parties.
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You said there were no "real personal problems" between you and Mary Beth.
Here the punctuations stands that it is not the writer's words but John's. It is easy for us to find multiple voices, e.g., Mary Beth's complaint, John Doe's denial, Donald's evidence and the writer's conversation with those who involved in the case. The writer use heterogloss to elaborate that the discourse is not just his own voice (the discourse is not just according to his own will but based on other's points of view). In those projections we can find the dramatic change of John's statement clearly. At first he denied what happened then when the writer show more proof of his mistake John makes a concession and compromise to Rebecca.
I discovered that Donald overheard you saying the words Mary Beth Claimed you said.
In this sentence Rebecca chooses projection for five times. In this complicated example of projection I would rather to illustrate these circular resources as a diagram as follows. It's clear for us to understand the multiple voices involved in this sentence.
I discovered that Donald overheard you saying the words Mary Beth Claimed you said
Halliday defines modality as a status between yes and no. In the selected text there are some usages of modality in appraisal system.
I ended our meeting by saying that I might need to ask you more questions later.
You agreed that you might have said something in an angry tone.
Once again, I must take this opportunity to remind you that any future repetition on swearing towards co-workers will lead to further discipline.
In addition, our insurance carrierâ€¦ may decide to take advantage of.
At first Rebecca uses "might" because she is not sure about whether John had swore at Mary. Then the writer has the possibility to ask John some more questions. However, at the end of the letter there is no doubt that John did the disrespect thing to Mary again under the help of Donald. That's why she applies "must" to state that the written warning is necessary. While from the perspective of John he prefers to use the word "might" since he wants to escape the punishment.
In this text there are a large number of graduations which has two dimensions--force and focus. J.R. Martin and David Rose describe choices like turning the volume up and turn down the volume as force while resources that sharpen or soften categories are focus. In the text the writer Caroline provides these companies of useful information to work more effectively and efficiently. The writer tries her best to express the criteria clearly then we can find many utilize of force and focus.
that cases referred to us can be handled fairly and as efficiently as possible
we are progressing individual cases as quickly as possible
Here it is comparison between the past progress speed and the future outcome. The writer hope in the future the work can be done faster and better. So she turns the volume up to state her expectations.
a number of other similar organizations
dependent in large part on the actions
large numbers of PPI cases
many claims-management companies
This kind of force are grading for qualities. These language choices are benefit for us to understand the tenor of the discourse. This letter is not limited to one company but including many companies who are dealing with the same issue and more organizations connected with PPI will also receive this letter. Those words show us the clear interpersonal relationships with the writer.
this type of information is very valuable
the account of this background can be very simple
"very" here is known as intensifiers. Caroline for example intensifies how important the kind of information is and what kind of background it will become. Intensifiers help readers find out the degree of someone or something.
We have published further information
By the poor complaints-handing process
A properly-completed complaint form
Providing the necessary information
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The consumer's own collection
To the specific circumstances of the individual case
"around" and "a quarter of" sharpened focus of the cases, which explained the degree of the dependence to the ombudsman service.
"further" "poor" "properly completed" sharpened the focus on the requirements that should provide with complaints. The writer tells the readers the specific criteria of the materials so that they can obtain the important information to faster their work. "own" sharpened the category of consumer's account and recollection.
In this selected text there are many examples of force and focus, which is closely related to the purpose of the writer's goal. Through this letter the writer wants to give a distinct statement of further information to progress the procedure of dealing with complaint letters and she still wants to show the readers the standard of the necessary requirements that consumers should provide with the complaint letter otherwise the case won't be accepted. As a result, the writer applies many forces and focuses to emphasis his points of view as the requirements so that those who receive the letter will understand the content of the letters and conduct according to it.
Comparing the two texts we can make the conclusion that what kind of appraisal method we choose is depend on the purpose of the text. When we want to quote others' opinions we may choose projection to make our statement, however, when we use a lot of pre-modifiers to sharpen or soften the grade of the center word we can make clear cognition of someone or something. All in all based on different goals and interpersonal relationships we should choose suitable way to apply lexical item in each special discourse in different context. However, due to the limited length of this paper I only choose the most important appraisal system in analyzing the selected texts. In real application the whole system can be combined together to have better effect to arrive to the target. Only one or two method is far from enough, but how to use attitude, graduation and engagement properly is another study which needs our practice and accumulation of experiences. A good way is at first choose all kinds of texts to analyze their characteristics of using appraisal systems in every genre. Then we may get the rules of choosing the most suitable way to compose our text which is of course a specific genre. The paper just illustrates two different texts of apply SFL to analysis them.