Evaluative Language in Journalistic Discourse Master’s Diploma Thesis

Topics: Death of Ian Tomlinson, Emotion, The Guardian Pages: 67 (23337 words) Published: November 20, 2012
Masaryk University
Faculty of Arts

Department of English
and American Studies

English Language and Literature

Bc. Radoslava Pekarová

Evaluative Language in Journalistic Discourse
Master’s Diploma Thesis

Supervisor: Mgr. Jan Chovanec, Ph.D.


I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.

Author’s signature

I would like to thank to my supervisor Mgr. Jan Chovanec, Ph.D., for his guidance, valuable advice and resources he provided me with.

Table of Contents

2.Evaluation in journalistic discourse8
2.1Galtung and Ruge’s (1965) criteria of newsworthiness10
3.Methods and procedures23
4.The Appraisal Theory27
4.1Classification of appraisal30
4.2.1Attitude45 – expressing our feelings46 things54
4.2.2Amplifying attitudes57 the force of attitudes57 and softening focus63
4.2.3Sources of attitudes65 sources66

The thesis focuses on journalistic discourse, namely on evaluative features of journalistic discourse. It draws on Fowler’s (1991) view who challenges the media’s claims of their impartiality. To start with, if we consider the articles which occur in the newspapers – thousands of events occur every day, however, only few of them reach the reader: the newsworthy events must be picked from those which are regarded as not interesting for the readers of the newspapers, and thus here in the very beginning of writing an article evaluation begins. This topic is discussed in the chapter devoted to Galtung and Ruge’s factors which explain on what basis certain topics are more relevant than others and thus picked to be published. The hypothesis of this work is that quality newspapers use such language means which are evaluative. The research of the thesis was focused on this aspect of newspapers’ language employing the appraisal framework which is an approach which enables to explore, describe and explain “the way language is used to evaluate, to adopt stances, to construct textual personas and to manage interpersonal positionings and relationships” (White 2005). By means of this approach it is possible to identify attitudes, judgements and emotive responses that are “explicitly presented in texts” as well as those which are “indirectly implied, presupposed or assumed” (White 2005). This approach is thus suitable for the thesis as its aim is to look at journalistic discourse and find out whether and to what extent journalists use evaluative language.

All in all, it is explained here that not only are the newspapers evaluative, but they are necessarily evaluative: the evaluation occurs from the beginning of the process of news production and the news is not a summary of facts as several people with different interests infer with the process and influence what goes to the newspapers, in which form and wording. This is discussed in the second chapter which shows that the same event can be depicted in a different manner with a different amount and type of evaluative expressions. The second chapter provides an introduction to journalistic discourse which is further analysed. There is described a process of news production – it is displayed here that a report of an event is by no means a presentation of facts collected by a journalist. It is rather a cooperation of a team of persons involved in the process. It explains why some news is preferred than another on the basis of Galtung and Ruge’s (1965) and Harcup and O’Neill’s (2001) criteria. Further, there are explained roles of the people who participate in...
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