An APPRAISAL analysis of the discourse of student assistants' reports at an Eastern Cape girls' boarding school

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2011.651943
Author(s): Lindiwe MpofuDepartment of English Language and Linguistics, South Africa, RalphD AdendorffDepartment of English Language and Linguistics, South Africa


This article reports on a pilot investigation into the language of assessment in a bi-weekly report system of an urban South African all-girls boarding school. The data are drawn principally from four student assistants working in one of the school's hostels and are analysed using the theoretical framework of APPRAISAL. The focus is on the APPRAISAL resources that the stooges use in writing their reports, specifically their choices from the ATTITUDE and GRADUATION subsystems. Analysis indicates that Judgement and Affect instantiations, augmented by the use of Force rather than Focus, are dominant. There is also individual variation within the overarching prosody, indicating a difference between the ‘newer’ and the ‘older’ student assistants’ reports. We argue that such choices reflect and reaffirm the school's core values and vision, the reports functioning as monitors of behaviour and as a means of aligning the learners with the school's standards. The matron's feedback is suggested to be an added measure of ensuring alignment with the school's values.

Get new issue alerts for Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies