Sally Humphrey

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This paper describes key discourse patterns that contribute to establishing a critical stance in academic and civic discourse. The paper draws on SFL theorising of interactions at the discourse semantic level of language, which have been termed ‘burnishing and tarnishing’ (Hao & Humphrey, 2012b). The paper describes how Burnish and Tarnish couplings and steps are instantiated in Critique phases of texts in two academic disciplines and in three texts composed by adolescents, including ELL refugees, to achieve their civic goals. While in both domains resources from systems of Ideation and Appraisal are deployed to form evaluative couplings of sources, genres in the civic domain show considerably more variability than those in the academic domain. This knowledge may inform the ongoing work of TESOL teachers in providing students with access to academically valued critique and may also allow teachers to recognise and celebrate the diverse ways young people, including English Language Learners, are already empowered to critique in their civic lives.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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