what is the difference between focus and force in appraisal systemic functional linguistics?


In systemic functional linguistics, focus and force are two important concepts related to appraisal, which refers to the evaluation and attitude expressed in language.

  1. Focus: Focus in appraisal refers to the evaluative content or the target of the evaluation in a statement. It involves highlighting or directing attention to specific elements or aspects within the text. Focus can be positive, negative, or neutral, and it helps convey the attitude or judgment of the speaker or writer. For example, in the statement "She is an exceptional singer," the focus is on the quality of being exceptional, indicating a positive evaluation.

  2. Force: Force, on the other hand, refers to the strength or intensity of the evaluation or attitude expressed. It reflects the degree of certainty, commitment, or conviction of the speaker or writer towards their evaluation. Force can be realized through linguistic features such as modal verbs, adverbs, or intensifiers. For instance, the statement "He is definitely guilty" expresses a strong force with the inclusion of the adverb "definitely," indicating a high level of conviction in the negative evaluation of guilt.

In summary, focus determines the target or content of evaluation in appraisal, while force indicates the strength or intensity of the evaluation expressed. Both focus and force contribute to the overall evaluative meaning conveyed in a statement or text.

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