Hao, J. & Humphrey, S. (2012). Burnishing and tarnishing in academic literacy. J. S. Knox. 15-20. Australia: The 39th International Systemic Functional Congress.
This paper reports on research which investigates the way authoritative status is achieved linguistically in students persuasive texts. Our study draws on resources within the APPRAISAL system of systemic functional linguistics to explain how writers justify their own research or position. This is achieved through a complex interaction of resources which unfold across these texts, to firstly bring in external academic sources and then strategically evaluate them. These configurations of linguistic resources are glossed as ‘burnishing’ and ‘tarnishing’ (Humphrey & Hao in press). The concepts of burnishing and tarnishing enable us to make explicit the linguistic resources that are needed to create authoritative tenor relationship in academic discourse and allow for effective guidance of students’ academic literacy learning.
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