Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of English Literatures, Philosophy and Languages - Faculty of Arts


This thesis is designed to explore how the social act of persuasion is realised in Japanese discourse linguistically. Specifically, it explores those linguistic resources that are essential for constructing written persuasive texts from a Systemic Functional perspective. The present study, as a case study, analyses eleven written persuasive texts. This thesis presents the result of the study. It illustrates those elements of structure and meanings that must be and can be utilised in constructing persuasive texts. It also demonstrates how these elements and their meanings can be realised through linguistic resources such as TRANSITIVITY, ATTITUDE and ELLIPSIS. The thesis tentatively proposes that in Japanese written persuasive texts, the act of persuasion is constructed via setting up a position that is not just that of the writer but also that of the reader. This rhetorical strategy is realised by elements which i) attract the reader to the discourse, ii) evoke empathy from the reader and iii) state the position that the writer wants to ‘share’ with the reader implicitly or explicitly. The semantic style of persuasion is motivated socially, which is explained by the notion of homologisation (cf. Ikegami 1991), a sociological theory which models the identification of commonality in Japanese society. It is within the framework of homologisation, that the Japanese writer ‘relativises’ themselves with the reader, and, rather than establish their own ‘individual’ position, they establish a ‘common’ position with the reader.

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