Coffin, C. and O'Halloran, K.
Finding the global groove: theorising and analysing dynamic reader positioning using APPRAISAL, corpus and a concordancer.
Critical Discourse Studies, 2(2) pp. 143–163.
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Within critical discourse analysis (CDA), there has been ongoing interest in how texts position readers to view social and political events in a particular way. Traditionally, analysts have not examined how positioning is built up dynamically as a reader progresses through a text by tracing how earlier parts of a text are likely to affect subsequent interpretation. This article shows how APPRAISAL tools (as developed within the systemic functional tradition) can be usefully employed within CDA to do this. Using a story from The Sun newspaper website as illustration, we show how due to a cumulative groove of semantic patterning, the reader is dynamically positioned to interpret a seemingly neutral statement at the end of the story in a negative way. We show how potential analyst 'over-interpretation' can be checked through the use of a concordancer. We also demonstrate how a specialised corpus can go some way to grounding the APPRAISAL analysis in terms of the context of the target readership and the meanings they are routinely exposed to. This we argue facilitates an explanatory critique of the way in which a text is likely to be understood by its target readership in relation to the socio-political-economic context.
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