Attitudes in history genres: An analysis of text from Vietnamese language arts textbooks at elementary level

Abstract. The purpose of this study is to examine history genres from elementary level Vietnamese Language Arts Textbooks grade 3 - 5; Vietnam Education Publishing House (Tieng Viet 3 - 5), using Systematic Functional Linguistics, Sydney School and Appraisal Theory. The history genres take up much space in all three sets of textbooks. After general exploration, one text of historical recounts is chosen as a common sub-history genres to study the types of lexical choice and grammatical options made to express attitudes. The study shows that different distribution of attitudinal resources at different stages of historical recounts is used. JUDGEMENT is mostly used to describe characters and APPRECIATION is used to describe the situation and events. The results of this analysis may help teachers during class instruction.

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HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2017-0042 Social Sci., 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 5, pp. 120-126 This paper is available online at ATTITUDES IN HISTORY GENRES: AN ANALYSIS OF TEXT FROM VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE ARTS TEXTBOOKS AT ELEMENTARY LEVEL Nguyen Thi Huong Lan Faculty of English, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. The purpose of this study is to examine history genres from elementary level Vietnamese Language Arts Textbooks grade 3 - 5; Vietnam Education Publishing House (Tieng Viet 3 - 5), using Systematic Functional Linguistics, Sydney School and Appraisal Theory. The history genres take up much space in all three sets of textbooks. After general exploration, one text of historical recounts is chosen as a common sub-history genres to study the types of lexical choice and grammatical options made to express attitudes. The study shows that different distribution of attitudinal resources at different stages of historical recounts is used. JUDGEMENT is mostly used to describe characters and APPRECIATION is used to describe the situation and events. The results of this analysis may help teachers during class instruction. Keywords: Appraisal, attitudes, history genres, historical recount. 1. Introduction All language communication has social implications. In the case of textbooks specifically, the writers have certain objectives. In elementary level Vietnamese Language Arts Textbooks, there is a large proportion of history genres which implies the importance of the genres in school education in the eyes of the compilers. It then seems to be beneficial, in terms of pedagogy, that teachers could support student learning by engaging them in actively understanding what language can do when presented in a history context. This article is attempted to see how the attitudinal resources can work together to display the motif of the history text and reveal the writer’s purpose so that students can build a relationship with the characters and engage with their actions and responses. The data were analyzed using the Appraisal Framework developed by Martin & White (2005) which proves to be applicable to the analysis of the Vietnamese language in spoken and written forms (Thu, 2013). Received date: 28/12/2016. Published date: 5/2/2017. Contact: Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, e-mail: huonglannt.hnue@gmail.com 120 Attitudes in history genres: an analysis of text from Vietnamese language... 2. Content 2.1. Appraisal theory Appraisal Theory (Martin & White, 2005), developed within Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), is the framework aiming to describe the various ways of linguistic realization of interpersonal meanings in language use. It has three subsystems and each subsystem has a few subcategories (see Figure 1) Figure 1. An Overview of Appraisal Resources [5] ATTITUDE is the major subsystem in appraisal framework and is the subordinate term for evaluative language in attitudinal positioning in text. It has three subsystems: AFFECT (emotional response – like, fear etc.), JUDGEMENT (evaluation of human behaviour – corruptedly, skillfully etc.), APPRECIATION (evaluation of entities – beautiful, striking etc.) (White, 1998). Since this study mainly looks at the ATTITUDE values in the language arts textbooks, we present a little bit more about it. AFFECT is the emotional response to the person, thing, happening or state of affair and is indicated through various lexical items as verbs of emotion, adverbs and adjectives of emotion and nominalization. It can be positive or negative; explicit or invoked. JUDGEMENT is the negative or positive attitudinal evaluation of human behaviour by reference to social norms or rules. APPRECIATION is the subsystem of resources for aesthetic evaluation of objects, artifacts, entities, presentation, etc. It has positive and negative dimensions. Grammar summary in Table 1 provides a framework for analyzing resources that express attitude. 121 Nguyen Thi Huong Lan Table 1. The adapted framework for analyzing attitude categories [3] Types of attitude Examples of explicit values Affect (probe questions) Positive +ve (feel good) Negative -ve (feel bad) Am I happy/ unhappy? happy, laugh, love, hug sadly, misery, dislike Am I secure/ insecure? reassure, trusting, together frightened, tremble, fearful Am I satisfied/ dissatisfied? engaged, attentive, impressed to bored, empty, to enrage, embarrassed Judgement (probe questions) Positive +ve (admire) Negative -ve (critisize) Social esteem Is he/she capable and socially competent? special:lucky, fashion, normal unfortunate, odd, weird capable: powerful, intelligent, skilled weak, insane, stupid tenacious: brave, tireless rash, cowardly Social sanction Is he/she morally and/or legally sound (a good person)? veracity: truthful, honest, frank dishonest, deceitful, deceptive propriety: good, moral, ethical bad, immoral, evil Social sanction Is he/she morally and/or legally sound (a good person)? veracity: truthful, honest, frank dishonest, deceitful, deceptive propriety: good, moral, ethical bad, immoral, evil Appreciation (probe questions) Positive +ve Negative-ve Reaction Did it grab me? impact: arresting, captivating, engaging dull, boring, tedious Did I like it? quality: okay, fine, good bad, yuk, nasty Composition Did it hang together? balance: balanced, harmonious, unified unbalanced, discordant, irregular Was it hard to follow? complexity: simple, pure, elegant ornate, extravagant, byzantine Valuation Was it worthwhile? Was it significant? challenging, profound, meaningful, worthwhile, unique, relevant shallow, insignificant, irrelevant, worthless ENGAGEMENT covers resources which present other voices into a discourse through projection, modalization, or concession. The key choice for engagement has to do with voice (monogloss) or more than one voice (heterogloss). GRADUATION covers grading including FORCE and FOCUS. FORCE comprises the choice to raise or lower the intensity of gradable items and FOCUS involves the options of sharpening or softening an experiential boundary. The Table 2 below provides an overview of grading resources: 122 Attitudes in history genres: an analysis of text from Vietnamese language... Table 2. The adapted resources for grading explicit attitudes [3] Resources for Grading explicit attitude Examples Intensification: semantic infusion Irritated – annoyed – angry – furious – enraged Quantification The movie was seen by over a million people Intensifiers Incredibly angry Adverbials She was so angry Adjectivals A burning anger Figurative language (eg metaphor and simile) The movie grabbed me Other grading resources eg Repetition of wording or attitude It was sad, sad, sad; we laughed, we cried, we hugged each other Comment adverbials All in all, it was good Modality It’s probably good 2.2. History genres within the framework of genre theory Genre, in the functional linguistic tradition, is a staged goal-oriented process (Rose &Martin, 2012). Different genres have distinct structural elements and these elements can be identified on the basis of shift in lexical and grammatical patterning which correlate with different micro functions operating at different points in the text. What we will report next is a pilot analysis for a large project in which the use of appraisal resources will be analyzed in history genres from elementary level Vietnamese Language Arts textbooks. In order to illustrate how a text can be analyzed, the following text taken from the history corpus shows the “beginning”, “middle” and “end” stages of what is referred to as the historical recount genre. To be in detail, social purpose, structure and key language grammatical features of historical recounts are presented below (Humphrey et all. 2012, p. 188) Social purpose Table 3. Key grammatical features (Humphrey, S et all, 2012) Language for expressing ideas - Action processes (verb groups) in the past tense to refer to activities in the events stage - Relating processes to refer to cause and effect in more mature recounts (ie historical recounts) - Particular named and general human and non-human participants - Abstract participants (eg –isms) to name historical periods, ideas, ideologies etc. - Circumstances and dependent clauses to express details (eg place, extent, manner) Language for connecting ideas - Complex and compound-complex sentences including dependent clauses of time - Some logical connections of cause and effect (relating verbs, connectives, dependent clauses) Language for interaction - judgement vocabulary to evaluate behaviors of people - appreciation vocabulary to evaluate significance of events of people Language for creating cohesive texts - references to time in theme position - lexical cohesion showing use of repetition, synonyms and collocations as well as class/sub-class and part/whole relationships 123 Nguyen Thi Huong Lan Historical recounts to document a significant series of events or period in history and evaluate the significance of events Structure Background: Set a context for understanding the events that follow; provides background information about who, where, when including events leading up to the significant events. Records of events: Recounted in chronological order and may include some account of causes and consequences of events. Evaluation: Resets events in time and evaluate their significance The study below shows how the author deploys the evaluative language to interact with the audience in this historical recount. 2.3. The analysis and discussion A summary of the resources used in the reading text to realize attitudes is outlined in Table 4. Attitudes are depicted both explicitly and implicitly, coupling with resources for amplifying attitudes. In the table, all underlined words are evaluative language realizing Attitudes, with “Aff” standing for Affect, “Jud” for Judgement and “Appre” for Appreciation. Explicit attitudes are in plain font, and implicit attitudes are in italics. Positive attitudes are marked with a plus sign (+), and negative attitudes are marked with a minus sign (-). Graduation resources are in bold. The up-scaling volumes are marked with an upward arrow (↓), and the down scaling volumes are marked with a downward arrow (↓). Table 4. Resources for realizing attitudes Text The Attitudinal Graduation appraised terms resources Thuở xưa, nước ta bị giặc ngoại xâm (1) đô hộ, (2) chúng thẳng tay chém giết dân lành, cướp hết ruộng nương màu mỡ. Chúng bắt dân ta lên rừng săn thú lạ, xuống biển mò ngọc trai, khiến bao người thiệt mạng vì hổ báo, cá sấu, thuồng luồng... The foreign enemy (1): (-) Jud: explicit propriety (2): (-) Jud: implicit propriety “In ancient times, our country (1) was invaded by the foreign enemy, (2) who straightly killed good people and robbed all the fertile fields. They forced our people to go up the forest to hunt strange animals and down into the sea to catch pearls; the death of many people is caused by tigers and crocodiles, ...” Lòng dân (3) oán hận ngút trời, chỉ chở dịp vùng lên đánh đuổi quân xâm lược. “(3) Resentment of the Vietnamese people was up to the sky, waiting for a good chance to throw them away.” The Vietnamese people (3): (-) Aff: dissatisfaction “oán hận ngút trời” Force: (↓) Intensification Semantic infusion 124 Attitudes in history genres: an analysis of text from Vietnamese language... Bấy giờ, ở huyện Mê Linh, có hai người con gái (4) tài giỏi là Trưng Trắc và Trưng Nhị. “At that time, in Me Linh district, there were two (4) talented girls: Trung Trac and Trung Nhi.” Trung Trac & Trung Nhi (4): (+) Jud: capacity . . . hai chị em đều (5) giỏi võ nghệ “. . . two sisters were (5) good at martial arts” và (6) nuôi chí giành lại non sông “and they (6) were determined to gain freedom for the country” (5): (+) Jud: capacity (6): (+) Jud: tenacity Chồng bà Trưng Trắc là Thi Sách cũng (7) cùng chí hướng với vợ. “Trung Trac’s husband, Thi Sach, (7) was in the same determination as his wife.” Thi Sach (7): (+) Jud: tenacity Tướng giặc Tô Định biết vậy liền (8) lập mưu giết chết Thi Sách. “The enemy’s General, To Dinh knew this and (8) attempted to kill Thi Sach.” To Dinh (8): (-) Jud: propriety Không! Ta sẽ mặc áo giáp phục thật đẹp để dân chúng thêm (9) phấn khích, còn giặc trông thấy thì (10) kinh hồn. The Vietnamese people (9): (+) Aff: Satisfactory “phấn khích” & “kinh hồn” “No! We will wear extremely nice military outfit so that the people got(9) more excited, and the enemy got (10) more terrified.” The ememy (10): (-) Aff: Insecurity Force: (↓) Intensification Semantic infusion (11) Hai Bà Trưng bước lên bành voi. Đoàn quân rùng rùng lên đường. Giáo lao, cung nỏ, rìu búa, khiên mộc cuồn cuộn tràn theo bóng voi ẩn hiện của Hai Bà. Tiếng trống đồng dội lên vòm cây, đập vào sườn đồi, theo suốt đường hành quân. “(11) Hai Ba Trung stepped onto the elephant’s back. The army soldiers shattered the road. Spears, bows, axes, and hammers rolled over the shadow of elephant of Hai Ba Trung. The drumming of the bronze drum bounced on the dome of trees, hitting the hillside, along the way.” Hai Ba Trung & the army soldiers’ battle (11): (+) Appre: reaction Force: (↓) Figurative language Thành trì của giặc (12) lần lượt sụp đổ dưới chân của đoàn quân khởi nghĩa. “The enemy’s citadels (12) gradually collapsed at the foot of the troop” The enemy’s citadels (12): (-) Appre: Reaction Tô Định (13) ôm đầu chạy về nước. “To Dinh hugged his head returning to his homeland.” To Dinh’s action (13): (-) Appre: reaction Đất nước ta (14) sạch bóng quân thù. “Our country (14) was clean of enemy.” our country’s situation (14): (+) Appre: reaction Force: (↓) Quantification Figurative language 125 Nguyen Thi Huong Lan Hai Bà Trưng trở thành (15) hai vị anh hùng chống ngoại xâm đầu tiên trong lịch sử nước nhà. “Hai Ba Trung became (15) the first two heroes against foreign invaders in the history of the country.” Hai Ba Trung (15): (+) Appre: valuation You may have noticed that in the above text particular types of JUDGEMENT are used to evaluate particular individuals or groups. For example, Hai Ba Trung and Trung Trac’s husband are associated with positive judgements about their capacity and determination. The foreign enemy, on the other hand, are mostly associated with negative propriety (attempted to kill Thi Sach). The expressions of APPRECIATION are used by the writer of the text to react positively to Hai Ba Trung’s battle as well as their victory but negatively to the enemy’s failure. Contrasting positive and negative values allows the author to build up a vivid picture of the people and situation and also to encourage the reader to take a particular position (Humphrey et all. 2012, p. 111). 3. Conclusion It is very important for teachers to understand how the genres affects the language used so that they can convey the meaning to their students. Key grammatical features of history genres can be analyzed and evaluate and then taught. An appraisal analysis identifies items that display the author’s attitude in the text. Evaluating appraisal items can help differentiate the discourse semantic features of history genres with other genres. REFERENCES [1] Coffin, C., 2009. Historical discourse: The language of time, cause and evaluation. Bloomsbury Publishing. [2] Halliday, M. A. K., 1994. An introduction to functional grammar. E. Arnold. [3] Humphrey, S., Droga, L., & Feez, S., 2012.Grammar andMeaning. Primary English Teaching Association Australia. [4] Kawamitsu, Shinji, 2012. “Logogenesis and Appraisal: A systemic Functional Analysis of English and Japanese Language Arts textbooks”. Theses, dissertations and Capstones. Paper 230. [5] Martin, J. R., & White, P. R., 2005. The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. London/New York: Palgrave/Macmillan. [6] Rose, D. & Martin, J.R., 2012. Learning to write, reading to learn: Genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney school. London: Equinox. [7] Rothery, J., 1994. Exploring Literacy in School English (Write it Right Resources for Literacy and Learning). Sydney: Metropolitan East Disadvantaged Schools Program. [8] Thu, T. B. N., 2013. The deployment of the language of evaluation in English and Vietnamese spoken discourse. [9] Nguyễn Minh Thuyết (Ed), 2014. Vietnamese 3-4-5 vol 1, 2. Vietnamese Education Publishing House. 126