Evaluative language in English and Chinese business communication: An appraisal of text producers’ persuasion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This pilot study aims to gain some insights of the evaluative strategies in English and Chinese used by three multinational luxury clothing companies: Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. Data are the English and Chinese blog entries taken from these companies’ online corporate blogs. Texts totalling 914 English words and 939 Chinese words are examined. To examine evaluation in this study, Martin and White’s (2005) Appraisal theory is adopted. According to White (2015), the analytical framework of Appraisal theory should be regarded as an ever-developing research project, and it can and should be adapted to fit the analysis of texts in different contexts (Hommerberg & Don, 2015; Macken-Horarik & Issac, 2014). For this reason, an adapted Appreciation framework of Appraisal theory, containing some luxury and fashion specific subtypes, is employed because this study focuses on the evaluation of artefacts in the luxury clothing industry. The finding suggests that the Chinese data contains substantially more Reaction, the only form of Appreciation that is related to emotion, than the English data. Therefore, this study concludes that the text producers of the Chinese data may take a relatively more emotional approach to persuade than the text producers of the English data. It highlights the flexibility of the Appraisal framework by a field-specific and bilingual application and it draws attention to the different evaluative strategies used in the English and Chinese data even where the targets of evaluation are the same.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransforming Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationPapers from the 44th International Systemic Functional Congress
EditorsPhil Chappell, John S. Knox
Place of PublicationWollongong
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017


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