EFL Students’ Argumentative Writings: Appraisal Analysis

Muhammad Hasbillah

 

Abstract

This article reports on a study that examined the employment of evaluative language in English argumentative writings written up by twelve EFL students. The focal point of the study was to delineate the distinctions in the distribution of evaluations between high-graded and low-graded essays. The thrust of evaluative expressions were alluded within the framework of Appraisal System represented in the value of ATTITUDE, ENGAGEMENT and GRADUATION. The analytical basis of Appraisal Theory has been unfolded within the concept of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) under the line of interpersonal meanings. The study had attested the findings unveiling that high-graded essays administered the higher number of evaluative values of Appraisal to build up argumentation in their propositions, whereas low-graded essays construed the less number of evaluations. In addition, the successful writings’ critical assessment had a relatively balanced proportion to open or close dialogic space for the putative readers’ alternative view compared to the more closed-dialogic point of view deployed in unsuccessful writings. Along with value of up and down-scaling, investing high level of intensification and expanding interplay among Appraisal items had fostered a strong persuasion for high-graded essays in contrast to low- graded essays. Assigning more attention to the use of evaluative wordings would be a beneficial impetus for teaching writing instruction to allow the students to foreground authorial voice and construct a good and effective argumentation.

 

Keywords: appraisal items, argumentative writings, EFL students, evaluation