Publication Details

Sano, M. & Thomson, E. A. (2008). Japanese Folk Tales: text structure and evaluative expressions. In C. B. Cloran & M. Zappavigna (Eds.), Bridging Discourses: ASFLA 2007 Online Proceedings (pp. 1-17). South Australia: Australian of Systemic Functional Linguistics Association.


Hasan's approach to text structure is a semantic one. In the 1996 paper, The nursery tale as genre, she explains her approach through an analysis of nursery tales. The tale is understood within its contextual configuration using the registerial variables of field, tenor and mode. But further, it is understood as a genre in which instances of the nursery tale share common generic elements of structure, some of which are obligatory and others, optional. It is the obligatory elements of structure which define the instance as belonging to the genre of nursery tale. Within the elements of structure are semantic attributes. I suggest that the essential attributes of the structurally important units of any texts will have to be stated in semantic terms' (Hasan 1996, p.58).This paper builds on previous work by Thomson (2001) which adopted Hasan's Generic Structure Potential (GSP) approach and applied it to the Japanese nursery tale. Thomson's 2001 study describes the GSP from the perspective of the textual metafunction. This paper further develops the description of the GSP from the perspective of the interpersonal metafunction, noting that the application of appraisal theory (Martin and White 2005) is particularly useful when describing the interpersonal meanings which serve as crucial semantic attributes of the elements of structure. The semantic attributes are, in part, realised by configurations of particular appraisal choices.